Digital Boards

Digital Boards

We define digital boards as electronic alternatives to black- and whiteboards. They can all display live handwriting and some allow interactivity with windows, web browsers etc.
The potential for digital boards at universities is mainly that they allow teachers to annotate content like images, formulas, powerpoint slides etc. In addition, the content in a lecture can be saved, streamed, and easily distributed.

Recommended Tools


As shown in the above video, installed AV-equipment in Building 324 at DTU provides a unique opportunity for teachers to use e-learning in class. Part of the solution is the use of digital boards. PowerPoint provides a sleek presentation with images, animations, and clear text - but upon answering questions or making a calculation, many teachers prefer using the blackboard. Digital boards combines the characteristics of PowerPoint presentations with the spontaneity and flexibility of using the blackboard. It gives you the best of both worlds:

  • The ordered and prepared graphics of presentations as in PowerPoint
  • The living pen, scribbling, underlining and drawing of the blackboard
  • Save, store, and share the drawings – even replay them
  • For some tools, such as tablet PCs, full access to the PC to show programs and details online. 

The Wacom display shown in the video (from 4:36) is like an extra screen with a USB cable which allows it to act as a mouse / input device to the connected laptop. With the stylus pen you draw on the surface. You can rest your hand on the surface while you draw - a great advantage because it improves your writing and drawing precision to something close to using paper.

Combined with the open source software Open Sankoré the Wacom can be used as a digital board. Using the software, you can import PDF files, draw on the pages, even insert new blank pages anywhere in the PDF, and finally export it again to PDF - while preserving the vector graphics of both the original PDF and the annotations. Since the Wacom display is essentially an input device you can of course also use the built-in annotation features of PowerPoint or any other application which you prefer. However, you will have to experiment a bit with this since various applications handles the movements differently which again results in different quality because of speed, vector/bitmap interpretations, anti-aliasing lines etc. With the Wacom Cloud service you can store and share your material easily.

Digital alternative to whiteboards / blackboards

A Wacom display is in our opinion one of the best candidates for delivering an intuitive, real alternative to analog boards. It has a high precision, intuitive operation, fast response and by being sensitive to only the touch of a stylus pen (and not fingers) it comes closest to using pens, chalk and markers. Opposite to a SMART Board which also requires a connected computer and shows the writing on a screen, the Wacom display allows the user to face the audience all the time. This is generally considered an advantage by the users we know. On the other side the user becomes more statically positioned in front of the digitizer.

Annotation of slides

The Wacom display is perfect for creating screencasts, video-pencasts and video lectures where analog input in the form of precision handwriting and drawing is required.

Annotation of digitalized hand-ins (homework)

It is likely that a Wacom Pad could be a very useful tool in correcting digital homework (PDF-files) from students. It would then serve as an intuitive input device for making remarks on the "digital paper" (PDF file).