The Light is Write: Experiences In Building and Using a Low-Cost Lightboard
Concurrent Session 9
A traditional Lightboard costs between 5000-10,000 dollars; with a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach and basic tools, we were able to build our version for approximately $600, a savings of up to 94%. Join this session to learn how to build this powerful learning tool for pennies on the dollar.
Producing instructional video usually means making trade offs. We are usually forced to choose two of the following three choices: minimal time investment, good production value, and usability. With the Lightboard, we get all three. The Lightboard is a powerful tool for creating engaging video content with relatively little investment in time or effort compared to traditional instructional video production. It is a transparent illuminated whiteboard on which the instructor writes using fluorescent ink while lecturing. This content is videotaped, briefly edited, and the resulting product is uploaded to YouTube and shared with students. The traditional Lightboard build costs anywhere between 5000-10,000 dollars. Using a simple DIY approach and basic tools, we were able to build our version for approximately $600, a savings of up to 94%.
My research has involved testing the individual components that make up a Lightboard and determining where a low-cost substitute can produce an acceptable alternative. Additionally, I have explored software workflows and standard set-ups to allow anyone to produce viable footage with minimal training. In the course of this endeavor, I have produced building instructions for the low-cost model, as well as training materials that can be used to help users quickly and easily edit their videos.
Our pilot faculty have benefitted from having an easy tool to produce videos, and have produced videos in mathematics, computer science, education, and economics, with more departments signing up weekly. The faculty enjoy using the Lightboard and find its ease of use to be a unique advantage against other technologies; they merely have to write on whiteboard-like surface and deliver their lecture. An additional advantage of the Lightboard is its speed in content delivery. The turnaround time for a set of edited Lightboard videos in 4K quality has been averaging under two days; with hands-on editing time averaging under five minutes per video. Viewership numbers are relatively excellent, and the initial student feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Students enjoy being able to see both the content and their instructor.
This session will include three main sections: an introduction to the Lightboard technology with brief finished video samples and pictures of the actual unit, a discussion of the cost-saving adaptations and why they worked, and finally a set of questions and answers that most institutions want addressed regarding the implementation of a Lightboard. There will be additional time for the audience’s questions and answers, as individual schools and implementers may have special circumstances that need to be addressed. Attendees will also be directed to a set of free resources that I have developed to help build inexpensive Lightboards and train users.
Natalie Milman, GWU
Associate Professor of Educational Technology,
Director of the Educational Technology Leadership Program