17 Replies Latest reply on Mar 16, 2010 6:14 AM by sdixon

    Promethean ActivStudio Ideas

    shanmangin

      I just recently became a trainer for Promethean.  Do any of you use Promethean's Activstudio software in your classroom or work with teachers who use it?  Can you share any great lesson ideas you've seen or tried, especially in the areas of math and science?  I know that PrometheanPlanet contains sample lessons, but not all are of the best quality.  I appreciate any new ideas you can share.

        • Re: Promethean ActivStudio Ideas
          holmesg

          I use game boards and pyramids to enhace math skills on the promethean board.  I have found wonderful games, strategies and resources on this website http://www.active-maths.co.uk/,

          • Re: Promethean ActivStudio Ideas

            Shannon,

             

            I don't know what grade levels you work with, but these are some resources we have shared with the teachers in our district. I am in the process of becoming a Promethean trainer in the state. I have not had time to look through all of these, but you might find something worthwhile.

             

            Interactive Whiteboard Activities for Numeracy

            http://www.kented.org.uk/ngfl/subjects/numeracy/IWB/index.htm

             

            Crickweb

            http://www.crickweb.co.uk/Promethean.html

             

            Mrs. Kelly's Flip Charts

            http://www.murray.k12.ga.us/teacher/christykelly/flipchartspage.htm

             

            ActivStudio Flipcharts by Murray County Teachers

            http://www.murray.k12.ga.us/teacher/judyreece/ACTIVstudio%20Flipcharts%20Index.htm#third

            • Re: Promethean ActivStudio Ideas
              glen_w

              Shannon,

               

              I use ActivStudio - now Inspire in my classroom daily. I recently downloaded the most recent update for the software and highly recommend it. My best experiences with the board involve students actively using the board - not me using the board as a glorified white board with technology.

              • LOVE Promethean!
                Bonnie Feather

                Shannon,

                 

                Yes, I have used ActivStudio for several years, and I agree with you regarding the lessons available on the site. Their new "Inspire" software came out last year, and I converted all of my flipcharts to that.  This Monday, the newest version of it was released, and I have upgraded and imported all of my flipcharts to that software.  Are you interested in flipcharts in that format?  You won't be able to view them in the earlier versions of the software, but I would be happy to share them.

                 

                When I train, I encourage new users to download the lesson flipcharts and use them to see some of the engaging features other teachers have built in, then learn how to create the same effects.  I did 2-3 hr beginner level trainings today, and beginner teachers seem to need mostly the "chalkboard" features to get comfortable with the equipment and software.

                 

                Yesterday I conducted a 5.5 hour training on Inspire (yes, it just came out on Monday, but I was BUSY!) and found that it is easy to use high-quality flipcharts to illustrate strategies that make use of the more sophisticated features of the software for lesson creation.

                 

                I know that you also are preparing to use your trainings to focus more on curriculum integration than on tool use (after their initial learning time) and hope that others will share their flipcharts with us, either here, or by telling us who they are on the Promethean website so we can go after the better flipcharts.

                 

                Finally, how can we use Promethean equipment in our Essentials and thinking with Technology courses? I am eager to hear from others about this, and about using other interactive whiteboard software with our Intel (R) Teach courses...most of the boards are quite similar.  How can we enhance our trainings with them?  Should we create some flipcharts and notebook files to use instead of the PowerPoints?

                 

                Bonnie

                  • Re: LOVE Promethean!
                    shanmangin

                    Hi Bonnie,

                     

                    I like your idea of letting participants use ActivInspire or Smart Notebook instead of PowerPoint.  I usually tell teachers to use whatever software they are going to be using at their campus, and to try something new while they are in my Intel course. So, instead of a newsletter or brochure on Word (if they've been using Word for a long time), they can use Publisher or Pages.  Instead of PowerPoint some have tried Movie Maker.  Many of our districts have just purchased Promethean boards for all classrooms with stimulus funds.  So, I would definitely like to incorporate the use of the boards and software in my next Intel course and give them the option of creating a flipchart as part of their unit resources.

                  • ActivStudio Tips
                    Bonnie Feather

                    It sounds like you already have an account at Promethean Planet.  That's good!  Go to the Professional Development area, then to ActivTips.  On the lower right, you will see quite a few videos for each of the softwares.  These will show you how to build in some of the better features of the software with your lesson flipcharts.  Then you can share on the Planet!

                     

                    Best of all, on the lower left of that page, you can click to add a feed of tips to your iTunes.  Then you can watch the tips in iTunes or on your mp3 player!

                    • Re: some flipcharts for you
                      Bonnie Feather

                      Shannon, I'm sharing some of my flipcharts with you as attachments.  I don't think I have yet converted these to Inspire.  Check the page notes to see what each page can do.  Since you are a trainer, I'm sure you will know how to create each of these effects.

                      • Re: Promethean ActivStudio Ideas
                        Bonnie Feather

                        It appears that the one flipchart cannot be uploaded (too big, is my guess) so feel free to email me and I will send it to you.  Of course, one has to have the software to view it.

                          • Re: Promethean ActivStudio Ideas
                            glen_w

                            I got a huge boost at work today. A math teacher, with over 20 years experience, had a Promethean board installed in his classroom to start this new year. I did a training for the 7 teachers who received these boards just before school began. This gentleman came up to me and told me about how his students were actively working at the board today. He commented "I had so much fun ... I enjoy teaching again!"

                             

                            With this thought in mind, I reflected on the comments above. I do not think it is wrong to let teachers use tools they are familiar with. Nor is it wrong to encourage them to try and use tools they are less familiar with. My concern is that in my school and district, there are VERY few teachers who have Promethean boards and/or use Inspire. My concern is what would happen if one of these individuals taught an Essentials Course in my district. When they showed off their flipchart examples, the other teachers would probably:

                            1. Be very excited at how the software works.
                            2. Ask a lot of questions about how they get the software.
                            3. Be frustrated to learn they do not have the ability to use it in their classrooms.

                            I make these comments because of the Health teacher who is next door to me. She heard from her son, who was in my class, how exciting my interactive white board was. She came over and asked to see me demonstrate it. She was thrilled and submitted a grant to get one in her classroom. Unfortunately, she did not get the grant. She comments to me at least once a week how she wishes she "had this technology - but is not teaching a subject that is important enough for it."

                             

                            I have heard prospective Master Teachers ask for a SMART board training when I've used that technology in a training. I'm not sure that any one technology or software could not easily get teachers distracted in the training.

                             

                            I hope all of our trainers, whether Senior or Master instructors, work to encourage teachers to successfully implement their Unit Plans. I do not discourage Master Teachers from using other software tools in their Units. I, however, do remind them that not all teachers are comfortable with new software. If I can help one of the Participant Teachers in my district feel more comfortable using Wikis, Blogs, or Collaborative Documents I am excited. Many of these teachers I've worked with still struggle with PowerPoint presentations. My goal and purpose is to encourage them to work forward (in some cases taking baby steps in the process.)

                              • Re: Promethean ActivStudio Ideas

                                Glen,

                                 

                                The interactive white boards have reinvented the classroom for many educators.  You mentioned training some of your teachers on Promethean.  Are you training them on ActivInspire or ActivStudio?  I had heard they were updating ActivInspire again this month so I haven't started training on this version yet but will be soon.

                                  • Re: Promethean ActivStudio Ideas
                                    glen_w

                                    Sandy,

                                     

                                    Those teachers in my school are finding their classrooms reinvented. Friday afternoon one of the math teachers at my school came up to me greatly excited. He talked about how his students were actively using the boards in his classroom and how much they enjoyed it. He has taught over 20 years and said he is "enjoying teaching again!"

                                     

                                    We are using ActivInspire and enjoying all it can do. I have used ActivInspire since it came out in Beta. In the past week, I had two upgrades that I completed within a two day period.

                                     

                                    I strongly recommend use of ActivInspire as it is a much better platform for the Promethean board. (Also for anyone who uses ANY IWB the software license agreement allows it to be used with any brand IWB - even if you do not own Promethean boards.)

                                  • Integrating with Intel
                                    Bonnie Feather

                                    Glen,

                                     

                                    Several of your comments really resonate with me.

                                     

                                    You mention the teacher who is renewed in their love of teaching...I've had that happen over and over when introducing new hardware and software as well as new techniques in the classroom.  I think you are also saying later on that you have concerns that the hardware can overshadow the content in an Intel(R) training.  Is that what you meant?  As a trainer, I can't tell you how many times I've had teachers renewed by the ideas and opportunities they find opening up to them with the Essentials and Thinking with Technology courses.  It's always my goal to inspire new ways of teaching and thinking about teaching through these courses.

                                     

                                    If the hardware threatens to overshadow the techniques, I think it's my job as a trainer to bring the conversation back to the content at hand and remind teachers that none of the fancy hardware is necessary to change their teaching toward inclusion of PBL, which is so engaging to their students.

                                     

                                    Then, work to get that grant or other funding to get the equipment that will only ADD to the excitement about the project learning.

                                     

                                    You remark that not all teachers are comfortable with the newest, latest technology.  BOY- truer words were never spoken!  For others reading this thread, remember that when we suggest in a course that teachers use Word, Publisher, or PowerPoint to create some document or presentation, this is still way out of the comfort zone of many participants!  If some participants feel they want to try something else, then there are tons of web 2.0 tools they might try to accomplish the same thing.  Again, it takes the emphasis back to the content and away from the method!

                                     

                                    As in all teaching so it goes in training: we must continually walk the fine line among methodology and content!

                                     

                                    I look forward to hearing more from all regarding this important topic!

                                      • Re: Integrating with Intel
                                        glen_w

                                        Bonnie,

                                         

                                        You correctly understood some of my concerns and suggestions. Like you, I agree it is important to focus on the training and how it will benefit students and teachers. I've also had more teachers than I can count who are uncomfortable using Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, and Excel. As a trainer, I feel part of my goal is to help them feel more confident in their own abilities. In the process, I hope to help them grow and expand their technology skills.