Promethean Boards are a category of technology being integrated into classrooms more rapidly. A Promethean Board is an interactive whiteboard that allows you to project an image from a laptop or computer. You can also interact with the board through touch or specialized pens. Anything that can be done on a computer monitor can be replicated on this interactive whiteboard, which then becomes viewable by an entire classroom. In other words, it would only take Bart just one written sentence, a copy, and paste, and nine more clicks to replicate the above assignment.
According to the NEA, “research has repeatedly demonstrated that students learn better when they are fully engaged, and that multi-sensory, hands-on learning is the best way to engage them, a new emphasis on developing twenty-first-century skills for students, the requirement for educator proficiency in technology, and research documenting increased learning with the use of interactive whiteboards have spurred (their) adoption.”
A Promethean Board is actually a strangely useful piece of technology you might find in your classroom today. To put it simply, a Promethean Board is a specific brand of an interactive whiteboard that allows you to project an image from a laptop or a computer, as well as interact with the board through touch or special pens. There are many brands of interactive whiteboards and studies show that their use substantially improves learning. Let’s go through some of its advantages in more detail.
Classroom applications for using interactive whiteboards include:
- Multimedia lessons and presentations including audio and video
- Collaborative question solving
- Showcasing student projects and presentations
- Virtual field tours
- Recorded lessons that can be used by substitute teachers, and
- Documentation of student achievement
Through an attachment to a laptop computer or tablet, whatever is represented on the device will be made bigger and shown on the blank Promethean Board. This way, you can show your class videos or websites, maybe take them on a Google tour of the Amazon.
The Promethean Board can also come with a peripheral device that resembles an overhead camera. This is useful for working on a page in a workbook or textbook together with the whole class or displaying an image that would be impractical if held up in front of the students.
The Promethean Board, while useful as a projector when connected to a computer or the external camera, really shows its versatility when used as an interactive whiteboard. The interactive condition of the Promethean Board means that it can use a pen-like device or even a finger to draw on top of what is projected. Either you, as the teacher, or students can write or draw on the Promethean Board (digitally, of course).
ActiveInspire: The Software
ActivInspire is the program that comes with Promethean boards. With it, you can create flipcharts. Flipcharts are similar to interactive PowerPoint presentations. Within a flipchart, you or your students can use the pens that come with the board to finish activities at the board, like drag and drop images or objects, write notes, play a game, etc. The options are endless.
For example, in an elementary classroom or a classroom for students with special needs, mornings often initiate with a specific routine. Students will take a look at the calendar, the weather, the days of the week, etc. This type of routine is a perfect opportunity to incorporate flipcharts from ActivInspire.
The flipchart can have a calendar page for students to color in the date, click on a link to the weather, identify the sight word of the day, drag and drop the day of the week it is, and so many more possibilities. This allows students a chance to interact with the routine by coming up to the board and demonstrating their own knowledge.
You can also find already made flipcharts on Promethean Planet on the internet. Most of the pre-made flipcharts are free to download and use in your classroom. You can also gain ideas about how other teachers have used flipcharts to then create your own.
ActiveInspire also allows you the option to annotate over the desktop instead of using a flipchart. This means that you can pull up any website or page and use the ActiveInspire tools (pens, highlighters, etc.) on the Promethean board to identify key concepts or add tips that you want your students to see and remember. This tool is great to use when you have a PowerPoint presentation that you have already been using and want to be able to interact with it.
When you first set up your Promethean board, you will receive a remote along with a couple of pens. The remote has several functions, but the most frequently used are the ‘on-off’ button, the ‘freeze’ button, and the ‘blank screen’.
The freeze button is great to use when you have a screen you need your students to use, but you would like to pull up something else on your computer. For example, you could use this function when you have a bell ringer on the board for your students to work on, but you also need to take attendance or enter grades using the computer. When you use the freeze function, students will only be able to see what you have frozen on the Promethean board and not what you are working with on your computer.
Models and Cost of Promethean Boards
The list below contains the types of board offered by Promethean, a brief summary of their features, and a range of cost for each based on available web data. Of course, prices will fluctuate over time.
Types of Display Sizes: HD: 55in, 65in, 70in/4K Ultra HD: 84in
Features: – Interactive software
– Works by touch and pen
– Built-in speakers
Cost Range: $3,000 to $13,000
Types or Sizes: 102in/135in
Features: -Dividable workspace
– Instant Whiteboard
– Web search
– Multi-touch and Multi-Pen
Cost Range: Price not yet available via casual search
- ActivBoard Touch
Types or Sizes: 78in/88in
Features: – Multiple users possible depending on the software used
– Three options for projector
– USB power source
– 5-year warranty
Cost Range: $1,000 to $4,000
- ActivBoard 500 Pro
Types or Sizes: 78in/87in/95in
Features: – Interactive lessons
– Two simultaneous users
– Built-in speakers
– Access to free classroom resources
Cost Range: $3,000 to $7,000