Monday, November 19, 2012

This Is Why I Would Prefer Ideapaint Over an IWB In My Classroom

As an Evernote Education Ambassador, I sometimes get to see products up close and personal. When I was at the Evernote offices in California, I was able to see first-hand how Ideapaint is used. What I saw blew my mind and made me want to cover my classroom with it.

For those that do not know what Ideapaint is, here is a video that explains it in more detail. 

Turning surfaces into whiteboards is such an awesome idea. It is so much better than the IWB in my classroom and here are my reasons why. 

1. Currently, my IWB sits in the front of the room and requires all students to face that way for instruction. It makes me have to stay in the front of the room to use the board. I'm not a fan of that. I like to walk around and interact with my students and the class environment. I feel it gives me a better sense of what is going on in the class. With Ideapaint, any wall can be the focal point of the class. Heck, a student's desk could be the focal point of the discussion as I walked around and wrote notes for the kids. Ideapaint allows the discussion to be anywhere in the classroom. That freedom is so important to a teacher like myself that wants to move around and engage students all over the room. 

2. I'm stuck having my IWB connected to my computer. If my computer is on the fritz, which happens time to time, my IWB is just there. That's it. It sits there in front of my chalkboard and I look out at my kids feeling a bit helpless. With Ideapaint, I could use any surface at any time regardless of my computer. As a tech guy, I love the analog feeling of the walls and sharing ideas on them. It is a great option for teachers that have to deal with network issues in their classroom. 

3. Collaboration is not easy with a IWB in the classroom. Unless the district pays a ton of money to get the IWB that allows multiple users at the same time, it's general function is one person at a time at the front of the room. That is not how I roll in my classroom. My room is designed for collaboration. My lessons are created around teamwork. An IWB is not conducive to this type of environment. Ideapaint would allow my students to collaborate in groups on the walls or their desks. They could all work together seamlessly. This approach could really change the dynamic in my classroom. I want kids to work together easily and Ideapaint would allow them to do so. 

4. Sharing is nice with most IWB software. I can write notes on the provided software and save it as a PDF and then post it on my website or on a shared Evernote notebook. It's doable, but takes a few steps. In an Ideapaint classroom, not only could I post notes on any surface, but my students could write their own notes on walls for other students. Imagine a class dedicated for writing notes for specific chapters or themes in a story all over the classroom. Once the groups are done with their part of the notes, they could go around and take notes on the notes created by students. Over the course of a school day, all of my walls and desks would be covered with student created notes. My students now become the creators of content in a way that a IWB could never provide. By using Evernote, students could just snap photos of the notes and save them into their notebooks. 

5. Every year I come to school and the software needs a new upgrade to work on the IWB. The problem we often face is the update does to work very well on our older computers. What's the point of having the IWB if I can't use all of the features? No updates needed with Ideapaint. As long as I have a clean wall, my students can write , share and collaborate freely in my classroom. 

6. The price of projector bulbs is ridiculous. Seriously, they should not be that expensive. When they do go out, the IWB is useless. You can't do anything without the projector. Not a problem with Ideapaint. I can just go to any wall I want and start writing. Not bulbs required. Heck, if it is a nice day out, I'll turn out the lights and write on the walls using old fashioned sun light. 

7. IWB do not provide much creative space for students. It's a board controlled by the teacher's computer that students are generally kept away from. Kids sit and stare as the teachers used the IWB and take notes. Students should have the space to write down their ideas to share with the class. It should also serve as a creative space for kids to express themselves through poetry, drawings or music lyrics. I'm not talking about Art classes or English classes only, but all classrooms should have this space for kids to express themselves. The more space students have to be creative, the more likely they will feel comfortable enough to relax and learn. 

8. The last one is price. The amount of money it takes to buy, install, provide PD and IT support an IWB is crazy. Ideapaint can cover a classroom at a fraction of the cost. Also, no training is needed to show a teacher how to write on a wall. We have all been doing it since we were kids. Take out a dry erase marker and start sharing!

These are just some of the reasons why I would love to have Ideapaint in my classroom. I hope to paint the back wall of the stage in my room with Ideapaint to create a more collaborative environment for my students. I think the creative space would have a positive impact on all of my students.


  1. This is a fantastic idea. I wonder how it would work on textured walls. But, overall, I'm with you - I've felt the same way about my IWB for years. Because I'm all about group work and collaboration too, my IWB has become a high-tech bulletin board for daily agendas. I only use it to do short demonstrations and to show multimedia to my students.

  2. Received my IdeaPaint and painting Thursday (Friday and Monday are PD days, so time for the paint to cure). Got the idea from and using it as an element of the gamification of our classroom. Student groups have office-like spaces with on-the-wall public collaboration spaces. Will share results!

  3. First of all - you have a STAGE in your room?! Sweet.
    Secondly, I wish I could've used this post for support for the grant I submitted for Idea Paint for my classroom tables two weeks ago! I will be sure to bookmark it so I can use it next year if my grant is denied. Thanks for the post - I agree!

  4. Have you had a chance to look at any of the negative reviews on sites such as Amazon? I've never seen the stuff up close, and the video does make it seem amazing, but I would be put off if the value of the product isn't up to snuff.

    I'd look forward to hear if you do get it and what your results are. Good luck!

    Here's a link to some of the reviews.

  5. I put dry erase paint on the dozen science tables ( you know the old black top tables that two kids can sit at) and use those as my student desks. Was probably the best idea I've ever had. As a math teacher I walk around with a dry erase marker and can simply work a problem on the desk with a kid when they don't get it. Or I can have them working it out on the desk and add ( or erase) as need be. Kids love them too although you do need to monitor your dry erase markers ( or buy stock in staples) as having an additional dozen or so dry erase surfaces makes the markers run out awfully quickly! I'd think in your case outlining, drafting, etc would work great on those tables.

    In terms of a monitory outlay the dry erase paint is a much better buy than an iWb. It costs me less than a hundred bucks to buy two "kits" which covers about 100 square feet, a pint of primer and a couple of brushes. Then I used one more kit worth this year to touch the tables up, cost about 25 bucks.

  6. For those of you that want collaborative desk spaces, just use dry erase markers on your current desks or windows. A few years ago, my principal mentioned to me that he used to do it to secretly support students with behavior concerns (words of encouragement or reminders). I use it to have kids problem solve during math or plan experiments during science. As an added bonus, my desks get cleaned routinely by my students as they wipe off the dry erase marker with cleaning wipes.

  7. First of all, I am incredibly envious of the fact that you have a stage in your classroom. Second, I love the idea of a dry erase-paint covered classroom!


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