As educators work to increase student engagement, Promethean boards can be a supportive tool.
Promethean boards are digital whiteboards with features that support an interactive learning environment. These interactive boards, and their accompanying software and applications, use audience response systems and device connectivity tools that are designed for collaboration.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, teachers were incorporating more technology into the learning environment to increase student engagement and improve instruction. During the fully remote learning phase of the pandemic, teachers and students had to use even more technology to continue learning and remain connected. The benefits of technology that helped students improve their digital literacy and work collaboratively were so evident that even with the return to in-person learning the increased use of technology in the classroom has continued.
Promethean boards are more than just an alternative to whiteboards.
Promethean boards use touch screen technology so that teachers and students can write on them using their fingers or special pens. The boards also allow for up to twenty touchpoints so that multiple students can be up at the board working and writing simultaneously. Teachers have been using the front of the classroom in this way, with multiple students up at the blackboard or whiteboard, for hundreds of years. In this way, Promethean boards can be seen as an alternative to a classic schoolroom board. However, they have so much more to offer.
The features that truly transform learning come via the related software and applications that allow teachers to combine the ability to perform those writing and erasing tasks alongside internet browser windows, video clips, and various opportunities for student input from their seats. Promethean boards have multi-window features that allow for simultaneous display — so the internet browser, the video clip, an interactive question, and the student up writing at the board can all literally occur alongside each other. The boards also have a Screen Share feature that allows for up to 39 devices to be connected wirelessly — giving all students the chance to participate in the lesson content, via the board, from their seats.
If you’re planning on purchasing Promethean boards for your school, here are three questions to consider:
1. Which features are best for our school? Older models of Promethean boards require a projector and connection to a desktop device. The newer models now come with LED display, screen mirroring technology, and Bluetooth connectivity which means they no longer require a projector/desktop connection. For places that have implemented Google Classroom school-wide, Promethean boards can also be used to extend the Google Classroom ecosystem. With the addition of a Prometheon Chromebox, the boards connect directly to the Google Play Store, Google Classroom, and G Suite for Education.
2. How many boards will we need to purchase? Promethean boards provide many significant benefits to classrooms – and although many consider them to be well worth the investment – they are an investment and can be somewhat costly. If budget or funding allows, some schools opt to purchase a board for each classroom. For school leaders who are interested in these boards but need to be mindful of costs, there is an option to keep the boards on mobile stands. This mobile option provides shared access across classrooms. Promethean has a feature that allows for multiple user profiles so that teachers can sign in to their profiles and have quick and efficient access to their specific materials on a shared board.
3. What support can we provide for teachers as they learn this new technology? Although Promethean boards come with many teacher-friendly features, there is always a learning curve for teachers and students with new technology. Many school leaders know from experience that investing school resources in technology and simply providing them to teachers isn’t enough for the technology to be adopted successfully. Most schools have at least one story of expensive technology remaining untouched for an entire school year because a teacher wasn’t quite sure how to use it. The best way to avoid underutilization of these powerful resources is to provide teachers with training and support to ensure that they understand how to use the technology effectively. School leaders can plan thoughtful professional development that not only trains teachers on the tactical aspects of using Promethean boards but also provides them with strategies and best practices for activities to engage their students.
At CTS, we help schools effectively integrate technology into the learning environment.
Successfully integrating Promethean boards into a school’s environment takes time and effort. Our goal is to take the lead on that effort and take care of the technology so that school leaders can focus on teachers, students, and their school’s mission. Through support with sourcing, procurement, installation, and training, our team can offer school leaders and teachers the know-how they need to maximize the benefits of their school technology and ultimately drive student achievement. If you are interested in bringing the benefits of Promethean boards to your school or district, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your school accomplish its unique mission.