ActivBoards in Today's Classrooms

Technology Resources
An ActivBoard is an interactive whiteboard. It is used with an overhead projected that is connected to a classroom computer. The ActivBoard allows students to interact with lessons or games and can also be used as a plain whiteboard for writing. Our school system invested in theActivBoards about three years ago. Teachers were required to attend trainings on the software and possible uses. There are several options for uses of the ActivBoard. However, our school only purchased the interactive pens for each classroom. There are school sets of wands, ActivSlates, and ActivVotes. This particular technologically advanced tool is great for obtaining attention and having students become more engaged in lessons that can sometimes be a challenge to teach. It is a very easy tool to learn to use as well.

ActivBoards are primarily supported through Promethean. Our district utilizes Promethean Planet at http://www.prometheanplanet.com/en-us/ for free resources and teacher made flipcharts to use with the ActivBoard. Over the summer I attended a training class for the new ActivInspire softare. We were required to make our own flipcharts by using resources on Promethean Planet or by creating totally from scratch. I created a flipchart on Properties of Multiplication. Once we created we were to submit to Promethean for a chance of being accepted on their website. The flipchart I created was chosen and is now available on their website!

Our school webpage also has a section for cool sites to use on the ActivBoard. It includes resources from Promethean Planet and teacher created flipcharts. It can be accessed at http://www.murray.k12.ga.us/teacher/kara%20leonard/ResourceFolder/ACTIV%20&%20SMARTboard%20Resources/ACTIVResources.htm.

Below is an introduction taken from http://www.prometheanworld.com/server.php?show=nav.16037 about ActivBoards.


Introducing the ActivBoard
Sitting front and center of the ActivClassroom and bringing all of the sights and sounds of interactive learning to life is Promethean’s ActivBoard.
Pick up the wireless ActivPen, touch it to the screen and let the journey begin. The ActivBoard is fully integrated with award-winning ActivPrimary or ActivStudio lesson development software, granting you instant access to thousands of resources and sample lessons. Your learning curve will be minimal since you can hover over icons with the ActivPen to reveal their function. And, don’t worry about breaking it—the ActivBoard is built tougher than the classroom bully. Thanks to an electromagnetic grid that sits behind the screen, grimy fingers and summer temps won’t hurt it.
Best of all, it’s a fully integrated solution meaning its features are as simple to use as they are dynamic to experience. With Promethean’s ActivBoard you can easily create engaging lessons and captivate your students with a fresh approach to learning that they can see, touch, hear and, most importantly, understand.
ActivBoard Features & Benefits
  • Battery-free, wireless ActivPen writes like a pen and acts like a mouse for pinpoint accuracy with no annoying lag time.
  • Wall mount brackets ensure easy, secure mounting to most walls.
  • Award-winning lesson development software makes creation of lessons a snap (ok, a click).
  • Wire-free technology enables the ActivBoard to talk seamlessly with our other products without awkward cables.
  • Low-glare screen provides a high quality projection surface for crystal clear imagery.


Replacement Ideas
This tool can be used to replace the original white board that is found in almost all classrooms. The orginal white boards can only be marked on with a marker and the only interaction that can be provided is students writing or drawing on the white board. An ActivBoard provides an egaging and fun interaction with every child. It can also be used as a white board for those note taking lectures. Any game found online can be transformed into a world of interaction among students. I use my ActivBoard daily. Sometimes I use it for intervention activities or small group workstations. I also use it for watching movies from United Streaming, Brainpop, etc. I also use interactive games provided by Harcourt Publishers to assess my students. They have no clue that they are taking a test! They think they are playing a game. However, as I watch their interactions and submissions I can always tell if they really know the material or if I need to reteach as a whole group, small group, or individuals.
My ActivBoard also replaces my television and is used as a reward incentive. I have my DVD and VCR hooked up to the board and we watch cartoons or movies on it. The kids love it. It makes them feel like they are at the movies in front of a big screen. I have my classroom ceiling lined with clear Christmas lights around the border. I also have lamps sitting in various places throughout the classroom. When the ActivBoard is on and the lights are all off the lamps and Christmas lights provides a soothing and relaxing type environment. It keeps the kids calm, comfortable, and yet still engaged.


Research
Please see following link provided by Wikipedia explaining ActivStudio (one of the software programs for ActivBoards). The newest version of this software, ActivInspire, provides more student friendly options. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activstudio This site provides history and description information for Promethean's ActivStudio.

The following link is an action research project written by Eric Mercer from Western Kentucky University. The project is titled Increasing ActivBoard Use in Elementary Classrooms. Mercer talks about local elementary schools implementing the use of ActivBoards in their classrooms. It is a system with "seasoned teachers that are not comfortable with technology". He states that the teachers received six hours of training. Mercer completed full research on the implementation and the teachers' comfort levels about the use of the new technology in their classrooms. He provides tables and graphs showing the data collected throughtout his research. This action research project can be accessed by clicking on the following link http://people.wku.edu/barbara.fiehn/AASL/Increasing%20ActivBoard%20Use%20in%20Elementary%20Classrooms.pdf.