Monday, April 21, 2008

Hitachi Starboard Offers Industry-Leading Interoperabilty For Educators

In a move to accelerate the interoperability and technology integration of its presentation technologies, Hitachi Software Engineering America, Ltd. showcased its ability to integrate seamlessly with off-the-shelf software packages from Microsoft and other manufacturers. This interoperability allows educators the flexibility to use their existing lesson plans on Hitachi interactive whiteboards, tablets and display panels, rather than limiting them only to lessons designed specifically for interactive technologies.

Hitachi StarBoard software is designed to help teachers execute their lesson plans with flair and imagination, keeping students engaged and making lessons come alive like never before. The software is designed with a number of features that allow for interoperability with educators’ existing tools.

“One of the biggest challenges teachers face when working with new educational tools is adapting the new technology to existing curricula,” said John Glad, Product Manager for Hitachi Home Electronics (America), Inc. Business Group. “We designed StarBoard software to easily integrate with the software teachers already use, ensuring that they can jump right in and teach with the lessons they already have—augmented and improved by our products.”

StarBoard software allows teachers to take lesson plans created in everyday software program packages like Microsoft Office and easily use them on Hitachi interactive whiteboards or panels. Lessons in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint can easily be dropped into presentation slides in the StarBoard software with the push of a button. Moreover, lessons and edits performed on a board or tablet may be resaved back into Microsoft PowerPoint®, Adobe PDF®, and other image formats allowing teachers to send and reuse lessons developed during class time in multiple ways.

In addition, Hitachi has developed a free open license application called the StarBoard Viewer. It offers the essential interactive whiteboard tools such as virtual whiteboard space, digital inks, the ability to manipulate objects, and a docking/floating toolbar. Additionally, it allows anyone to view, edit, modify, and save StarBoard Software files on any computer and present the material using any brand of interactive whiteboard.

“Our goal is to close the digital divide between students and teachers who want expanded access to StarBoard files, as well as providing a tool for those seeking simple interactive whiteboard software to use for free,” continued Mr. Glad. “While other competitive products offer whiteboard viewers, none offer the ability to save work away from the presentation product itself.” The release of the Hitachi StarBoard Viewer is slated for the end of April and will be available to download from their website (

Hitachi StarBoard software also offers a unique “Word Split” feature. Any time a teacher grabs copy from an outside source and pastes it into a lesson being presented on the board or panel, the software provides the options to either paste the copy as a single object, as individual lines, or break apart the individual words. Given these options, teachers have the ability to move and change the copy as they see fit and do not have to spend precious class time altering the copy to fit the lesson.

StarBoard Software is designed to work with a teacher’s existing lessons. A static Word® document can be made interactive by manipulating text, marking it up with ink tools, and using layers of objects for hide-and-reveal activities. Although Hitachi offers additional resources for use with StarBoard products through its partnership with Cambridge University Press, the software is designed to work with what teachers already have and feel comfortable presenting.

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