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.

Later:
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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That's fair enough - the easiteach software is great but not so accessible copywrite wise ... I suspect they'll have to change this down the track to remain competitive (and the teamboard software doesn't seem in the same league).

The smartboards can use your finger, but you need to have the colour pen out of its cradle to do so ... in which case you might as well use the pen (or that's my understanding anyway - I've only played with them a couple of times).
Smartboards are touch driven. So you can use your finger at any time. If the pens are in the tray your finger works as a mouse to select/click/drag. If you pick a pen out of the tray the pen or your finger then works to draw on the board.

If you use SmartNotebook you can do everything you want with your finger without having to go near the pens. You can also use any other object you want to use to touch the board - I have seen schools using long paintbrushes, a drum beater etc

The problem with using boards that are purely pen-driven is that if you lose the pen, or the pen breaks, then you are stuck. With a smartboard as long as you have something in each of the slots of the pen tray (pen tops, erasers etc) the board will continue to work fine.
I don't have experience with both, but I have been using SMART Boards for a few years, and I haven't had any problems with them. I do like the fact that you can download the software and prepare lessons at home.

Lucinda
Our school district had Smartboards but recently chose to purchase Promethean Activeboards. As a teacher, I liked being able to download the Notebook software from home. With Promethean, someone from the tech department (which will be me for the upcoming school year) would have to download the software... I believe due to administrative rights regarding the license.

I was a kindergarten teacher and my students had difficulty learning to write on the Smartboard without pressing any part of their hands on the board. The sensitivity to touch won't be an issue with the Promethean board.
Thanks everyone! The sharing keeps coming. It was interesting Emmalee reading about the challenges that the littlies had with Smart Board.
In one of my college courses we had a rep come in from Promethean, and I was soley a SMARTboard girl. After that presentation I was sold on Promethean to be a better product. I think this because of how it is packaged. Like some had said with SMART you need to buy a lot of different accessories. With Promethean you do not have to. Plus Promethean is on the wall and much more sturdier, espeically if using with small children. Also online there are tons of free downloads of things other educators have created to use with the Promethean board. To me the SMARTboard tends to be a little easier at first but in the long run the Promethean board out does the SMARTboard.
there's no difference between Smart and Promethean in terms of fixing. Both can be mounted on the wall and they are pretty sturdy. You can buy travel versions of the Smartboard that are on wheels, and a few schools do buy these, but they can be wall mounted too.

I don't quite know what you mean about smart needing lots of different accessories. In my experience of training on both boards there's no difference between smart or promethean. The accessories you need are speakers and a projector. Both smart and promethean need those.

Online - promethean are better in providing resources and support - but smart are getting better at this.
For those of you who are doing the due dilligence and homework:

Bookmarks and Favorites related to Promethean:
Please be sure you have these handy resources in your favorites so you can access them and make the most of your investment in Promethean...Most exciting is the Promethean Planet site check out the Featured Teacher and Podcasted ActivTips!!

1. Promethean Planet: For searching for resources, professional development, news, featured teacher, curriculum corner, ActivTips, and so much more! http://www.prometheanplanet.com/us/server/show/nav.781

2. Atomic Learning: View the self-training tutorials (10 free more by subscription.) I recommend viewing tutorials on one computer while you try the activity on your own laptop. Choose one of the following that matches your software:
ActivStudio (PC) http://movies.atomiclearning.com/k12/activstudio3
ActivStudio (Mac) http://movies.atomiclearning.com/k12/activstudio3mac
ActivPrimary (PC) http://movies.atomiclearning.com/k12/activprimary3
ActivPrimary (Mac) http://movies.atomiclearning.com/k12/activprimary3mac

3. Promethean Learning: Enroll in one of our courses online! Level one is free and self-paced! Create a login to enroll: http://www.prometheanlearning.com/us/

4. Promethean Products and Services: The central location for product news, videos, new products, case studies, research, and technical support. http://www.prometheanworld.com/us/
Thanks Lauren and Kathleen. There's obviously lots to be said for Promethean. Kathleen those links will be useful. :-)
I've been following this feed for a while and posted a question a month or two back about whether or not you really need an interactive whiteboard. I still haven't found anything that is especially great about them, but my experience with them was somewhat limited.

Recently, I decided I better give it a full test ride, but my school wasn't about to fork over several thousand for a board. Instead, as part of a summer school class, I had my students build a wiimote whiteboard for me. They supplied the wiimotes, I supplied the projector, and we built some infrared pens together. The total cost for the supplies for the infrared pens (we made six of them) and two batteries for the wiimote was about $20.


The students made a wiki all about it. Check it our HERE.

When the kids got everything working they were super excited and dancing around the room. I downloaded a couple of open-source apps - Kindle and Edusim - and the kids went to town on it.

The only problem was that a maximum of two kids could work on the board at one time. Everyone thought it was neat, but most of the class was just sitting there waiting for their turn at the board (there were only six kids in the class). There are a lot of things I can use it for, but there isn't much I can do with it that I can't do with a projector on the whiteboard.

My advice is to scrap the whole interactive whiteboard idea and make sure every teacher has a projector in the classroom. You'd have to have this anyway with the whiteboard. With all the money you have left over, buy a bunch of laptops. These will be much more useful to the students than a gigantic monstrosity of a board that renders a regular whiteboard useless. If you still want the functionality buy a wiimote and a infrared light from Radio Shack for about 1% the cost of an interactive whiteboard.
Hi Leigh! I've used an ActivBoard by Promethean for the last two years with my 4th grade students. I've found it to have a much higher quality than the SmartBoard. With the ActivBoard my students were able to write, draw and manipulate text fairly easily. We also invested in the ActivVote "eggs" as we call them where each student receives a device and responds to multiple choice questions developed by me (or in some cases the students themselves). We can then immediately see who voted which way, or view the votes in bar or pie graphs. Hope this helped...
Both technologies are excellent. I've worked in two school districts that use both SMART Boards and ACTIVboards from Promethean. Both companies now have their own "clickers" (student response systems). Both companies actively develop their systems for Macintosh and Windows.

We standardized on Promethean in my current (K-8) district primarliy because of the primary-focused software (ACTIVprimary), developed by educators specifically for younger learners. Teachers of older students (grades 4+) use ACTIVstudio. Teachers are enthusiastically using their ACTIVboards (and the sets of Activexpression that we recently acquired).

I know of other districts that primarily (or exclusively) use SMART technology that are equally enthusiastic about their choice.

Jeff Johnson
Glendale-River Hills School District
Glendale, WI

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