Getting to know Eno

We installed an ēno Classic Interactive Whiteboard in one of our science labs (manufactured by Polyvision, a Steelcase company). We had to remove an existing SmartBoard, install some brackets, and attach our new Eno to the wall. They sell an ēno Click Interactive Whiteboard that sticks like a magnet to any existing white board, but we couldn’t take advantage of that model.

The Eno Classic is a wireless board that is a layer of porcelain over a layer of steel. The porcelain is silkcreened with some crazy intricate dot-pattern. (There are 3 patterns to choose from, so you can install them next to each other and have a ginormous interactive drawing board.) Using the Eno Classic, one has to be totally dependent on a Bluetooth Stylus pen with a camera at the tip – I think I remember that the camera is sensitive to one megapixel. The whole board/pen experience totally reminds me of Picture Pages with Bill Cosby.

It would have only taken two people to install the Eno, though as the third person, I marked the holes for the drill, hammered the wall anchors, leveled the board (with my iPhone), and took pictures…

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This particular room is shared by two science teachers. Greg Benedis-Grab, (@gbenedisgrab on Twitter), gave me some feedback after using the Eno board for a full week with his 5th graders. In his words:

  • It has a similar enough feel to a SmartBoard, so it was no big leap to use an Eno Board
  • The Eno board is wireless, so worrying about power or syncing is a non-issue.
  • The pen is super precise and fast.
  • The ink size/color is easy to customize.
  • We’re going to need to invest in more pens, as it’s a matter of time until someone takes one with them.
  • The board is magnetized (it’s a layer of porcelain over steel), so even when not in use, it’s a functional part of the room.
  • Greg stores his notes/lessons on Google Apps (specifically Docs, Presentations, and Spreadsheets), so he never had to face the issue of trying to write in a SmartNotebook file (side note: Lots of teachers here have extensive Smart Notebook libraries of their lessons. I don’t think this is possible to use the pen to edit these files. The best you can do is take a screen snapshot of anythink written on the Eno with the stylus and upload it to a Notebook file. Maybe.)
  • He places the moveable magnetic toolbar lower down for his shorter 5th graders and raises it for his own use and for the larger 7th graders.

I installed RM Easiteach on the desktop in the Science Room and on Greg’s MacBook so he can explore the software on his own time. So far, he really likes the “glass” feature which is like having an ink layer that you can choose to merge or not. Based on the brief demo I saw last year, RM Easiteach has loads of features, subject-specific menus, and customizable toolbars for Math, Science, Grammar, Art, etc. I’m still tip-toeing through the software, and I’m grateful that we have some tech savvy and curious people on staff willing to be beta testers. We are offering teachers the option of having an Eno installed in their classrooms for next year. One week in, and we already have another two takers.

Here’s a shot of my after school robotics kids using the Eno minutes after it was installed:

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Finally, here’s a link for the Eno Classic FAQs page.

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