Barbara has taught English and history and has a master's degree in special education.
Promethean Board Basics
What is a Promethean Board? Is it a computer? A fancy white board? Well, the answer to that question is, both! A Promethean board is connected to your computer, projects what is shown on your computer screen, and allows you to use specialized pens or highlighters to write on the screen and interact with the images shown. The board itself is easy to use, and students enjoy the interactive activities it can provide. When you receive your board, it will come with several different tools, including specialized software, a remote and pens. Let's take a look at these tools and how to use them.
ActiveInspire: The Software
ActivInspire is the program that comes with Promethean boards. With it, you can create flipcharts. Flipcharts are similar to interactive power point presentations. Within a flipchart, you or your students can use the pens that come with the board to complete 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 start 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 power point 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.
The 'blank screen' function is great to use when taking a temporary break from the board when you don't want to turn it off but you need the board blank for whatever reason. Let's say you did a review before a quiz, you could blank the board for the test then use it to review afterwards.
Another great tool that can be used with the Promethean board is the extended desktop/dual display. On your computer, if you right click on your desktop, click on 'graphics options' and then 'output to', you can extend the screen so your students can see a particular display on the board while you have the use of your computer. This is especially helpful when showing a video clip to your students. Because it's a video, you cannot use the 'freeze' option so using the extended screen is a great tool to have in your pocket.
In this lesson, you have learned the basics of using a Promethean Board in your classroom. Promethean boards offer a chance for your students to interact with the lesson you are presenting, as well as make your life as a teacher a bit easier. You can write on it just like a white board, but it offers so many more possibilities such as interactive flipcharts through ActivInspire, the ability to annotate over the desktop through the use of the pens, and the many functions the remote offers you when presenting specific information to your students.
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