BOOGIE BOARD SYNC 9.7 ‘TEACHER REVIEW’ (Typed Version)

Here is the TYPED VERSION of the Boogie Board Sync 9.7 ‘Teacher Review’ going word for word from the original version written only using the Sync 9.7 itself.  

(*Statements made in this format are additions I made as I was typing out the review, things I forgot to add because I got sucked into the great writing experience on the Sync)

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What is it?

The Boogie Board Sync 9.7 is an eWriter tablet with an LCD screen.  As the name suggests, you can save and sync all of the notes you create on the 9.7 inch screen to any of your various devices or even your Evernote account.

Hardware:

The Sync is a very thin and sleek looking device.  It uses an LCD screen to capture all your writing, drawing and general pen strokes.  The simple design is what makes it so great for students! There are no buttons other than the 3 ones needed. Power, Save, Erase… that is all!

The display itself is very responsive to the stylus, but you don’t have to worry about other things marking the screen because it only registers strokes from the provided stylus. (*To make this clear you can mark with other things, but they wont appear when you save/sync your work)

The stylus is perfect for the LCD screen, it feels almost exactly like writing with actual pen and paper. (*Maybe even better depending on your preferences) The stylus and sync can also be used to act as a digitizer, but we will get to that later.

Overall the writing experience is much better than what I thought it would be.

Software:

The Sync comes with two great pieces of FREE software to really make use of the awesome device.

The Virtual Desktop Companion (Computer App) allows you to view and transfer all of your notes, even if you don’t sync them with other devices.  You can also use it to ‘Live Draw’ which is a pretty awesome feature. (*More on that later)

The other piece of software is the iOS and Android App, which does much the same as the desktop version, for phones and tablets. Although there is no app for Windows 8 the desktop version works just fine if you have a Surface Pro.  Also, the Android app works on all BlackBerry 10 devices (but without Live Draw).

Features:

Obviously the best feature is the ability to sync your notes and drawings…but that is just the start!  Sure, writing your notes on one device and having them available on everything you own (through the app or Evernote sync) is great, but the Boogie Board Sync 9.7 does much more than just that!

When you have the sync connected to your computer or tablet (or some phones) that is also connected to a projector you can ‘Live Draw’ and the possibilities of this feature are almost endless. (* Live Draw refers to having everything you draw instantly show up on another device, or through a projector on to a screen/board) You can use it in meetings to add notes to a slide, or even to do live brainstorming in the classroom… let’s face it, pen and paper beat computer generated brainstorming. Well, until now at least!

The ability to Live Draw also gives writers the chance to move around and engage the audience during the writing time. Imagine a board room, or classroom, with the presenter moving through the room while going through the material at hand. A much better style than standing at the front and clicking through slides or looking down every time you need to type.

We saved the best for last! The sync can also be used as a digitizer, or in other words it can be used to control your computer instead of your mouse! (sorry for the !s but it is a pretty cool feature) You can also, of course, use this feature in any program that supports it. I tested it out to do some drawings and it worked great… or at least as good as my (lack of) drawing skills allowed it to.  I used Photoshop, but anything goes.

Classroom Uses:

This has the potential to be an endless list, because the Boogie Board Sync 9.7 can do everything that a paper and pen can do and much more.

The Sync is great for taking quick Jot Notes during lectures, lessons or even while reading through text. You can also use it for much longer notes, like this review, by saving each page after you’re done. Students also don’t have to worry about losing all of the notes they take… even if you lose the Sync itself 😦 your notes will be saved to Evernote or your phone.

The Sync can be used for students who are just starting to learn their letters and numbers. Students can do the day’s activity (including the writing parts of Daily 5) and save the work for the teacher to always have on hand.  Teachers can use the saved work for assessment or even just to show progress to parents.

exampleThe Sync can easily replace Writing Books and Journals, maybe even Math Notebookes… and teachers won’t have to carry 30 books home!

As we mentioned earlier the Live Draw feature can be used to greatly improve student engagement in math, by allowing students to work through the problem at their desk instead of up on the board (*while having it visible to their classmates) and even during simple brainstorming activities.

It can also give the teacher freedom to move through the class while giving instruction to the entire group. Teachers can answer specific questions, through observing difficulties in one group, to guide the entire class. (*This is great for making sure that all questions are answered, and we all know that a lot of times some students are too shy to ask a question to the whole class) 

Teachers can also walk around the class and take observational notes, which they can sync to their various devices to ensure the most up to date feedback is always possible. The notes can, if needed, be easily shared with parents through a couple of button presses.

The possibilities are only limited by the imagination of the teacher and student using the Boogie Board Sync… and I know we have a lot of great teachers! (*Of course, we also have a lot of great students, but I was referring to teachers leading the charge with bringing the Sync into the classroom)

PROS:

  • Syncs with Evernote!
  • Great feel when writing on the Sync
  • Very easy to sync using Bluetooth or USB
  • Live Draw! 🙂
  • Great for saving paper
    Even good for simple notes that don’t need to be saved or synced
  • Increases student engagement
  • Promotes writing over typing
  • Under $100

CONS:

  • May be difficult to use if you need lines to guide you
  • No access to previous notes unless using the app (* including computer version)
  • No erasing mistakes (although I never found this as a problem, even writing the 16 screen review of 1500 words)
  • Writing is big due to stylus thickness (I write very small, but that is not possible here… not a big deal though)
  • If you need colourful notes you can only do that through the app

Final Thoughts:

If you like to take handwritten notes as much as I do the Boogie Board Sync 9.7 is the device to help you stay digital. I wrote this entire review on the sync, without a problem. It feels great to use, it works great and it even looks great!

To top it all off it can be a very interesting tool to bring into the classroom. The only thing I love more than teaching is technology… this does both!

With the very real writing feel of the stylus on the LCD screen you will find yourself wanting to write every chance you have. This is great for students because a study recently showed that writing is a much better way to remember the material you are studying (over typing). *I actually used this Boogie Board to make notes for a recent interview… I got the job!

The Sync can help me stay effective and engaging during my teaching but also allows me to engage my students through the use if the amazing LCD eWriter technology.

I really didn’t want to write this review. I knew that once I did it would be time to send this awesome device back to the great people at Improv Electorincs, but I also couldn’t stop using it.

If you are looking to spice up your classroom, or to bring it in to the 21st Century, I highly recommend the Boogie Board Sync 9.7

*Look for deals during Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day!

This was the very first product review on The New Teachers Blog and I would like to thank Improv Electronics and Kent Displays for letting me test drive this amazing device

* All the ugly writing is my fault and has nothing to do with the Sync.

Enjoy!
Mr.S

P.S. Stay tuned for more tech reviews and let us know of products you use or would like reviewed.

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That is the end of the original review.  I will update this soon with some pretty cool links, but right now I just want to get it out so there is an official typed version of the written review

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2 comments

  1. Thank you for this great review. Would love to know _when_ this was written (since it is a review of a product with potential software upgrades or hardware tweaks).

    Ok, got to go to Amazon now and get myself one of these for my classroom – thanks to your review! Take care, and happy teaching!

    Like

    1. Hi Kaliko, Thanks for the reply! All the posts on the blog have their date in the section under ‘Share This’… This article was written November 15th 2014. I actually havent searched for updates to the product because everything works just as I need it to, but I will look into that next week. I hope you’re enjoying the blog.

      Like

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