Sunday, July 01, 2007

interactive whiteboard safety concerns

I wouldn't have even noticed this article if several teachers at CHS weren't adding interactive whiteboards to their classrooms next year as part of our ongoing technology initiative. Turns out that some of the projectors are just too darn bright.
Documents from the Health and Safety Executive, obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act, say users "should make sure that direct beam viewing of the optical output from this equipment is both controlled and restricted to no more than a few tens of seconds at a time".

They say the "eye aversion response" - the dazzle effect - will be so strong that most people would not be able to view the beam for that long.

But it is possible a viewer's peripheral retina could be overexposed even when they are not actually staring directly into the beam.

"In such instances, no protective aversion response is evoked in viewers and so they won't know that they could be overexposing their eyes."

Companies supplying the equipment are told to ensure that people are encouraged to keep their backs to the projector beam, and not to stare at it.

Those entering it, while facing the audience, should do so "for no more than a few seconds".

A straw poll of teaching representatives in Wiltshire shows only a small number have been told how to use whiteboards safely.
So, if you're one of those ambitious types who operates an interactive whiteboard, take heed.


TeacherRefPoet said...

Um...Duh. Looking at a concentrated bright light for an extended time is bad for the eyes. Yeah. I figured that one out the first day I had my interactive white board, but I sure appreciate the British government helping me figure that out.

Jim Anderson said...

Well, yeah. The article notes, though, that even indirect light from some of the higher-octane projectors could be damaging--and students report being dazzled by the whiteboard itself. Or maybe it was just the Glow of Learning.