Are you in the market for interactive devices for your classrooms? With Bett and several other conferences coming up, guest contributor Terry Freedman has produced a checklist of questions you may find useful. You may wish to amend some or discard some as appropriate in your circumstances.

tablet and pc screen

  1. What is the make and model of the product? (These are obvious questions, but are intended to remind you to write down the answers.)
  2. Does this company have a history of supplying education, and if so, what kinds of establishment? (universities are very different from schools; large schools are very different from very small schools).
  3. Can you point me to any reference sites?
  4. How much does it cost?
  5. What does the cost include (eg does it include installation and training)?
  6. If a board, what sizes are available?
  7. Are there particular versions that are best for any particular task or age group?
  8. Are you stuck with the software that comes with it, or is it possible to install your own choice of software?
  9. Should schools look to kit out classrooms with the same software to minimise training requirements, or does certain software suit different age groups/activities?
  10. What is the feature set of the software that comes with the device.
  11. If appropriate, what are the options when it comes to ceiling/wall mounting/stands? Which would you recommend, and why?
  12. What types of warranty are offered with the product eg Return to Base (RTB) or on-site?
  13. If RTB, what are the costs of shipping?
  14. Also if RTB, who will dispatch the device, and how? (Interactive whiteboards are extremely heavy. Unless the arrangement is that a courier collects it, don’t even think about doing so yourself.)
  15. Is it possible to upgrade to on-site, and if so how much does it cost?
  16. If appropriate, are there any schemes available to schools to help cover the costs of the device, eg a leasing or rental scheme?
  17. What training options are in place, ie initial training and further training.
  18. Is there a (vibrant) community of users, sharing resources?
  19. Can the resources created be exported to or imported from another format, for use or editing in other applications?
  20. Can work for the device be easily done at home? How?
  21. Are spares (eg pens) easy and inexpensive to purchase? If a projector is included, how long does the bulb last?
  22. Are there add-ons available, such as student response systems?
  23. Can it be controlled from a tablet or similar device?
  24. Can it be set up to interact with phones, in a school with a Bring Your Own Device scheme?
  25. Are there apps available for functionality like a student-response system, or can independently available apps be used?

Terry Freedman is the author of Education Conferences: Teachers’ guide to getting the most out of education conferences, available on Amazon at, and publishes the ICT & Computing in Education website and the Digital Education newsletter at