I see a lot of searches on my blog that ask about cleaning or taking care of an ActivBoard. Since I haven’t ever seen anything as a definitive text on this topic from any source, I thought I would give you my learned guide to taking care of an ActivBoard.
Clean the projector and filters once a month
This one thing will save you A LOT of money and strained eyes. Projector bulbs are not cheap, dust is the enemy of projectors, bulbs and the heat they generate. The projector should be cool when you clean it so that you can touch parts, and use compressed air. (DO NOT USE COMPRESSED AIR ON A PROJECTOR THAT IS HOT OR RUNNING) unless you want to have flames shoot out of your projector, possibly injuring yourself. Remove the filters blow them out, clean the slots where they come from. Remove the bulb, blow it out and blow out the air ventilation slots on the projector. Lastly, wipe down the outside of the projector of excess dust.
Clean the Board once a month
Spray white board cleaner onto a soft cloth and clean any smudges or marks. DO NOT saturate the cloth with cleaner as it will hurt the surface of the board if you use too much. Also, do not just wipe the whole board. Only clean the smudges or marks. On a weekly basis you should use a dry cloth to wipe off any dust from the boards surface.
Be Gentle with the ActivPens and Wands
This is easy. You don’t have to bang on the board with the pen to make it work. Treat it like a regular pen when writing, don’t press hard. The board will understand what you want better with a lighter touch. Train your students to use them properly and you will get a lot of life out of the pens and wands.
Buy Docks and fixed leg tables for your laptops
This purchase will save you thousands of dollars a year in maintenance labor and parts. By having the cables from the termination box plugged into a dock, you don’t have teachers unplugging and plugging in cables daily or pulling them out of the termination box. They are always plugged into the dock and teachers don’t have to remember what slot to plug them into. Having a small fixed leg table next to the ActivBoard will keep the teachers from moving a rolling table which has a chance of pulling the cables out or even pulling the termination box off the wall. Also, they will not place their desk by the ActivBoard and stretch the cables because the dock has to be close to where they will be typing at their desk when not using the ActivBoard.
Do Summer/Holiday & Other Maintenance
Believe it or not behind the board gets dirty too. The actual board needs to be taken down off its mount. The cables, surge protector and other parts should be blown clean or wiped down at Winter Break and during the Summer. The boards should be unplugged during any extended break, such as Winter Break, Spring Break, and Summer Break. Power surges, lightning strikes, etc. can cause electrical damage which can be avoided by simply unplugging the board from the wall.
Another great idea is to mount a hook alongside or 6 inches above the the termination box. During Summer Break, leave the cables attached to the termination box and wrap them into a small circle and tie them at opposite sides with either zip ties or reusable Velcro ties (my favorite cable organizing tool). You can then hang the cables on the preplaced hook for safe keeping off the floor where custodial staff is cleaning or doing maintenance. This also prevents the loss of cables and damage to the termination box by removing them and moving them to a storage area until the beginning of the next school year.
It also saves on having to set up every cable in every room at the beginning of the school year. I walk around each year the week before teachers come back with my laptop, plug it into each dock, plug the boards back in, test their remote by turning on the projector and test the board. Maybe ten minutes in each room, takes a week doing a few wings a day for two hours.
The time and effort that this 5 step method takes is nothing compared to the savings that it will be on the life of your ActivBoards, cables, projectors and bulbs.