Promethean Ltd., winners of the 2002 BETT Awards for best instructional technology hardware in both secondary and primary schools, is launching their innovative ACTIVboard interactive whiteboard system in the US market at the National Education Computing Convention (NECC) in San Antonio, TX, this month.
“Early reaction to the system from schools and technology coordinators has been excellent,” Lisa Dubernard, director of sales and marketing, said. “Folks are actually cheering during the preview demonstrations. I am confident that our unique solution will make a positive impact on teaching and learning in US schools.”
The Promethean system includes ACTIVstudio software tools and resources for teachers as well as the ACTIVboard interactive whiteboard system and wireless student interaction peripherals, the ACTIVslate and ACTIVote. It provides a powerful solution to enable teachers to present learning resources to whole class groups in a powerful and engaging way, Dubernard said. MaryAnn Cromwell, technology coordinator at Jefferson-Whitier Junior High School in Pontiac, Michigan has been testing the ACTIVboard system over the past three months.
“The Promethean system offers teachers the potential to integrate technology and Web based materials in their teaching in any grade or subject,” she said. “Students are really motivated. It’s just what we have been looking for.”
The system offers handwriting recognition where users can write on the ACTIVboard with a pen and the writing turns automatically to editable text. The Promethean ACTIVboard uses electronic electromagnetic sensing technology and incorporates a cordless, battery-free pen designed to enable “natural delivery” of large screen multimedia lesson content. The projected image sits on ACTIVboard’s special low glare surface.
The ACTIVboard Plus offers optional remote communications. ACTIVboard systems come complete with ACTIVstudio presentation software. Use of a graphic tablet and an additional software license enables digital content to be developed away from the ACTIVboard.
ACTIVstudio is designed specifically for classroom teachers and trainers, with much of its feature set being derived from user feedback. The folks at Promethean say that it utilizes the natural advantages of pen operation. ACTIVstudio’s array of features offers a direct substitution of traditional presentation devices such as OHP/acetates, flipcharts and slide projectors, integrated under the control of a single pen.
At the simplest level ACTIVstudio’s flipchart exactly simulates working with a dry wipe marker or chalkboard, with the extra ability to use multiple colors and variable line thicknesses. ACTIVstudio also controls delivery of both Web and other digital resources from the computer, enabling material to be enhanced with annotations, highlighting and special effects.
Stephen Jury, managing director of Promethean Ltd., said that introducing this technology into the US marketplace is a big step for the business. Promethean is the major supplier of interactive group teaching systems in UK classrooms, and the company feels that the benefits appreciated by UK teachers and students will also be well received in US schools, he said.
“We have set up a US operation to ensure that we can offer the same high standards of responsiveness and service to US customers that we offer in the UK,” Jury added. “We are in advanced negotiation with a number of major education technology distributors which I am sure will lead to significant numbers of systems being shipped in this year.”
Look for more details later as MacCentral will be getting a sneak peak at the system.