It was bound to happen sooner or later. The interactive whiteboard market, having done so well, is now rife with competition. What does this mean for education? It means better and cheaper products. Do I love my SMARTboard? Absolutely, but there have also been times where I was frustrated with it and wished there were more options out there.
Now the whiteboard itself may be on the way out. Projectors are being developed with technology similar to the way that the X-box Kinect uses cameras to track movement. Essentially, whatever surfaces the projector is projecting on to become a touch-responding surface: a whiteboard sans the whiteboard.
Again, I ask: what does this mean for teachers? It means that setting up an interactive classroom will get easier; you may not have to install a semi-permanent piece of proprietary equipment in your classroom, or wheel it in and spend a tremendous amount of time setting it up. In my opinion, it should also turn up the heat on the companies making interactive whiteboards (SMART, Promethean and others) to make a better and more innovative product.
The cheapest projector that I was able to find with this feature is the Sanyo PLC-WL2503, a projector made especially for schools with great features such as making a 80 inch screen only 34 inches from a surface (ultra- short throw) and being able to color-correct the image if it is projected onto a blackboard or a whiteboard. It still costs around $1800, but that’s still less than an interactive whiteboard and a similarly-equipped non-interactive projector.