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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A comparison chart is online. Also attached here.

This comparison document is part of the download page for the software and lists the main features present in the FREE Personal version and the Pro version to help guide the user's choice.

I am very sorry you missed this or feel that somehow we have not provided this information and will speak to the teams to ensure we have done our best to ensure that it is clear.

FYI: Existing Promethean users get upgrades to PRO version.

The FREE Personal edition has all the functionality necessary to view and interact with teacher generated content from Promethean Planet, publisher created content and to download and utilise resource packs for users, all at no cost. The teacher is then able to access resources that exist in the wider community with full playback fidelity regardless of their technology choice.

Users will have software provided with their own IWB and will have made their decision on the features they provided. It is the case that Promethean flipcharts may have been authored with special Promethean tools and any of 200 or so actions and restrictors it uses that cannot be replayed if imported into other software that do not offer these. E.g. buttons that you click to make something bigger, etc. or buttons that you can click to make a working protractor appear. .

I would also add it has save and a library of resources (which can be added to from many extra packs of resources online).

Some functions such a multiple simultaneous pens relate to Promethean technology - so are not included for that reason.

I am sure feedback will help continue to refine the free Personal Edition and PRO versions of what is still an extremely new software in subsequent releases.

Thanks for the comments and I will speak to the teams concerned.
Thanks Mark. That chart certainly would have assisted my frustration level. I think there are issues of transparency here. Wherever the personal version is advertised Promethean should be adding something that indicates it's basically a reader of flipcharts. For the time being, seeing as there's no school funding for my initiative in IWB exploration, I'll return to more basic forms of lesson preparation on my Wii remote IWB.

My thinking was, before my exercise in frustration, that I would learn some skills on Promethean and share them with my school which is likely within 18mths to purchase IWBs. Decisions on platform have not been made.
My elementary school just purchased Smartboards for all the classrooms K - 6, and we are excited but are still learning how to use them. Now we are faced with a decision about which clickers we want to get. Maybe others with more experience can help us make the right decision.

We are getting ready to order clickers. Our principal is very impressed with the Promethean ActiveXpression clicker because it has full-text capability while the Senteo clicker does not. I am one of the teachers who prefers the Senteo clicker because it will be seamlessly integrated into the Smart software and will receive Smart tech support. Can we really mix and match products or should we stick with only smart products? Can we use a different brand clicker with our Smartboards? Does anyone have experience using ActiveXpression clickers with Smartboards? In a few days, the faculty will vote on which clicker we will order.
Thank you. I appreciate your reply. This is excellent advice - exactly what I was hoping for. I think I should add a few details however...

The Promethean rep dropped off some clickers, promised to get back to us, but we haven't heard from her since. I did experiment with their clicker simulation online.

The Smartboard rep did a demo for a class full of students with 2 teachers (myself and another teacher) present and left clickers and software for us to try out. I have used them once and was happy. My students were ecstatic.

I wish we had more time to evaluate these products, but we have to make a decision quickly. The urgency is we're using grant money that must be spent by next Friday or we lose anything we don't spend.

Questions: Do the Promethean clickers give grades for T-F, multiple choice, numerical quizzes like the Senteo system does? I understand the software will simply list text answers for the teacher to view but will not evaluate them.

Also, instead of running SB Notebook and a second app at the same time, why not just run the clicker app by itself? Wouldn't the clicker app be able to show the questions, clicker responses, etc.?
You asked: "Do the Promethean clickers give grades for T-F, multiple choice, numerical quizzes like the Senteo system does? I understand the software will simply list text answers for the teacher to view but will not evaluate them."

Sorry for the rep. not getting back to you. I work for Promethean so can answer this.

The question authoring wizard lets you set correct and incorrect answers for questions for instantly evaluated reporting. You can also see class graphs of results and export all the data to Excel in the standard supplied software.

Several assessment companies now also accept the Expression inputs into standards based assessment systems with all sorts of reporting and remediation options. Example:

You also asked: "Also, instead of running SB Notebook and a second app at the same time, why not just run the clicker app by itself? Wouldn't the clicker app be able to show the questions, clicker responses, etc.?"

Promethean Expression also comes with a small application called "Express Poll" that will work over the top of any other software to do this - for ad-hoc polls, but as others have suggested an integrated solution is the ideal - Senteo/Notebook or Expression/Promethean ActivInspire.

I would concur with previous comments, test out both systems and assess the differences against your needs before making your decision. A big focus of the Promethean system is ad-hoc creative contribution - phrases, ideas, concepts, estimates, etc. but you would need to switch to the Promethean software on your SMARTboard to fully exploit the system.

The Promethean Forum on Promethean Planet is a great place to ask teachers who are using Promethean equipment on non-Promethean IWBs. There is a section for these non-Promethean IWB questions.

Regardless of your final choice, the ability to guide and personalize instruction using responses from every child is a powerful option.

Hope this is useful info and good luck in your research.
I have no experience with Promethean Boards or their clickers. I'm answering your question about using the Senteo clickers without the SB Software. YES!!! We do it all the time. Actually we got our clickers 2 years before we got our SmartBoards. Our French teacher does attendance with the clickers. Kids grab their clicker at the beginning of class and click in. That is her official attendance record since Senteo/eInstruction software will keep track of who clicked on which date.

I use my clickers for actual tests and quizzes but also for reveiw games and to teach new vocabulary (I teach German). I love them. I rarely have my the clicker software and SmartBoard software open at the same time.
"Questions: Do the Promethean clickers give grades for T-F, multiple choice, numerical quizzes like the Senteo system does? I understand the software will simply list text answers for the teacher to view but will not evaluate them."
I am a Teaching and Learning Consultant for Promethean (my job is to assist teachers with curriculum integration) so I can offer a bit of help.

In regards to your question quoted above, one of the great features about the Promethean response devices is that the text answers can be seeded to the board for manipulation. This means that the answers are not just a static list, but can be sorted, classified, moved around, dragged to another page, have their color changed and more. This is very important, as simply providing an answer is only one level, but being able to "use"that answer in the lesson is more important, such as when using one of Marzano's key concepts of Identifying Similarities and Differences.
I hope that helps!
Regardless of brand (and I have used 5 different) my suggestion is to download the Classroom Presenter 3 (from university of washington, free) and try it out. You can use CP3 with wacoms, IWB:s or tablet-PC:s (and mix them) and the word interactivity gets a new meaning...
Worth noting that the new ActivInspire software cannot be used on other boards in Australia. I enquired about purchasing a licensed copy to use on a SmartBoard (as I previously used an Activboard & am missing ActivStudio features) but was told that as there is still scope in the Australian market for Promethean sales you are not allowed to use the full copy of ActivInspire on other boards. You can use the personal edition but it is very limited.
Pam. I work for Promethean and inquired if this was really the case that you could not buy a full version of ActivInspire software in Australia. It is not.

I have been informed that you can indeed buy the Promethean ActivInspire Professional Edition software for use on any make of IWB in that market.

Can I suggest you contact your local Promethean representative again. They can best guide you on current licensing options.

Hope that helps and that you get the software you want where you want.
We first began evaluating interactive whiteboards back in the late '90s. Promethean gave us a board to try out for 30 days. We were very impressed with the software and resources, but the pen was the deciding factor for us. We work with deaf children. Since you don't have to write with the pen using the SMART Board, it is much easier to transition from writing to signing. I personally think both companies have excellent boards and great resources. It's just a matter of what you're used to using. You won't regret going with either company. We've had excellent support from SMART Tech, and haven't had any technical issues that weren't easily resolved.
Assisted Technology is the way to go with all learners because we tend to try to teach students as if they are all the same, probably created in our likeness. I never thought about the deaf students. Our school has invested in the Lightspeed audio technology systems. They are effective.



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