Does anyone have experience with both Promethean and SmartBoard to compare the two? Our school has dipped a toe in the water and is wanting to go much deeper, therefore we're looking for further information. Is there a preference for younger and older primary children?

I've heard there have been problems with SmartBoard. Any comments?

The fact that Smart notebook software can be freely used by anyone is an important factor for teachers preparing lessons at home.

7th April 2009.
I should add that Promethean now have released Inspire that can be freely loaded to ANY computer and can be used with ANY interactive whiteboard and can read several (all?) other IWB brand files, which at least puts them at level-pegging in terms of access to the software.

The Promethean 'free' software is limited in what it can do. It does not allow you to create lessons, which destroys its usefulness for me.

Tags: IWB, Promethean, Smart, iboards

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Hi Leigh,
Three years ago I did great quantities of research comparing the two. The final answer is we went with Promethean and couldn't be happier! Now our whole school district is getting them! At the time the reasons we went with Promethean was the copious quantities of resources that you have access to with that software. Then you could put the software on 6 computers for each piece of software you purchased. Now you can put it on any computer you would use the board with, including teachers' home computers so they can work there too. The second point I thought was huge was that smart boards you can use your finger or anything to write with, we wanted our students to reinforce writing correctly with a pen tool. Promethean was created by a teacher and set up with what teachers need. The last selling point for us was that if the Smart Board gets scratched or ruined in one spot the whole board won't work anymore. With the Promethean Board just that spot no longer works. That was huge for us when thinking about getting the most reliable product. We have had FABULOUS support and all upgrades have been free thus far.

Good Luck.
Dana Cherrie
Thanks Dana Cherrie.
The Smart downloadable deal on the software was better but you've pointed out that Promethean have virtually equalled that now, seeing as tho' teachers can install the software on their computers at home.

Has anyone heard of Smartboard being ruined by damage to one spot?

I understood there are large amounts of Smart files available for sharing on the net as well. Am I wrong?

Regardless, you're obviously sold on Promethean.
In the previous post, someone stated, "The last selling point for us was that if the Smart Board gets scratched or ruined in one spot the whole board won't work anymore." is definitely not the case. I have worked on a SMART board that has a puncture on the surface and it still works just fine. The surface is extremely durable. I have known teachers that have been using the same SMART Board for 10+ years. You don't always have to use your finger to work on the surface of the SMART Board. I have used a tennis ball, paint brush, pointer finger, snickers bar (in the wrapper)...anything at all that creates a point of contact. My students were able to grasp and use the pens to write. Most often times they preferred to use their fingers to the pens. It was nice to be able to replace a pen in the pen tray with any object not just a pen.

As far as SMART files available...there are quite a far as numbers...I have no clue. Available online at as well as on the Exchange. There are also a lot of schools that have created their own communities for sharing lessons and resources. Type in a google search for the type of lesson you want or the resource you need.
Our school district bought in DEEP (quarter of a million dollars worth!) to SmartBoard and now some of us are questioning that jump. The Notebook software is great -- on a Windows machine. But several of us wanted to use it with our Macs and found the software severely crimped. Importing 2 or more flash files into a Notebook would make it unstable (even on brand new MacBooks with 2GB RAM and 100GB of space left on the hard drive). Most of us have switched over to using them on Windows and the difference is drastic. Smart acknowledges this weakness and continues to say we should "check back for updates" to improve the Mac version but none has arrived.

On the hardware side, several of our not-quite-a-year-old boards in the elementary building I teach in have been failing. Support has been almost nonexistent. Even our principal calling (while laying on his back beneath a board so he could read the serial number) has received more promises of call-backs than actual support. One of our IT guys received an email from them stating "Over the past 6 weeks, we have experienced an unprecedented increase in call volume over and above our anticipated peak volume during the back-to-school season. Please be assured that the entire Services team is working diligently to ensure that we continue to reduce the call times over the next several weeks and provide you with the level of support and service that you have come to expect from SMART Technologies" But, problem is, we need to be able to rely on these pieces of equipment daily to teach, or else it is little more than a very expensive screen!

I DO look forward to Smart eventually taking care of our school's SmartBoard issues, but feel something is drastically wrong when about 25% of our boards do not function correctly!

Next tech conference I go to I'm going to SERIOUSLY look at the Promethean!

I've found this discussion to be very helpful and am glad you asked for feedback!
Sharon, this is a serious downside to SmartBoard. I can hear dozens of schools putting the phone down while they were just about to order SmartBoards for their Apple equipped school. Thanks so much for this information. The conversation started off a little in SmartBoard's favour, but it seems to have switched to Promethean. Presumably SmartBoard will lose thousands of sales because of this tardiness to update their software.

If anyone would like to discuss SMART's commitment and performance on the Mac, please know that they can contact me with any questions. I have used multiple systems as a former technology coordinator and have been very critical of issues from all manufacturers. However, as the Macintosh Specialist for SMART and a Apple Distinguished Educator from 2003, I can honestly state that the platforms are 95% the same with some advantages going to the Mac versus the PC. Please consider me a resource if anyone in this group would like to know more.

I have worked with both SMART and Promethean. Our district has both PC and Mac. During a recent workday, we used the Promethean software and sites. The site has been running very slow and downloading their lessons is often impossible. It is hard to promote the Resources if they can't easily get to them on Promethean Planet. Also, Mac users are working with the Promethean software but it does not look the same as the PC side.

SMART had a problem with their Beta version of the software for the MAC but it appears to be fixed with the new service pack. SMART did look different until their recent version was released. Now, the software looks similar on both platforms.
Hi Fran,

Yes, I agree the new version of Notebook runs better on Macs than v.9 but when I compare how the Lesson Activity Toolkit runs on a Mac vs on a Windows machine, there is still a vast difference.

On the PC I can add TONS of interactive flash elements, tweak them however I want, and all is good. On a Mac I cannot add more than one or two (and their reps will even tell you that) per page and a total of maybe 4 per notebook before they stop working. Have you found this to be true? I've tried it on several high-end Macs and it's always the same.

It's interesting to hear both sides so I'm glad this discussion was started! Thanks for the input from both sides of the platform AND product.

How about customer service from both SMART and Promethean. Any experiences there?
SMART has been helpful and did follow-up on our questions. I have not used Promethean as much because we have local support.
I have Smartboard and a PC at school but a Mac at home. I do a lot of my lesson planning at home and the Flash programs on the Mac make my processors run so hot that all my fans kick in and the inner temp runs too high for my liking. When that happens I close Notebook go do something else and then come back and continue designing lessons. It's not the solution I prefer but if I'm going to add the flash at home, it's what I need to do.

The one positive about the 2 operating systems is that what I create on the Mac looks identical on the PC.

This is the case with the Mac Notebook Software currently. We look to have this resolved (as in fixed, not a work-around) in the Spring update. One thing to note, the Lesson Activity Toolkit does not download on the Mac by default. The reason for this is because of the known flash issues. By going to the download page it lists the system requirements and the known issues as well.

Oh, an additional note about our postitive experience with Smart! Since we now have a SmartBoard in every classroom in our elementary school I contacted Smart and told them we were "ready for the next step", whatever that might be!

They sent us an Air Slate and a classroom set of 30 "clickers" (responders) to try out for several weeks, no strings attached. I passed them around to all our teachers and they had the opportunity to actually use them with their students! This enabled them to make informed decisions about where to go next with technology for their classrooms. We had a blast trying these things out, and the teachers were thrilled to be able to experience the technology and choose for themselves, rather than just have it introduced.

Great discussion and I appreciate all the info!
Happy Tuesday!



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