Reinventing Promethean Boards (1 of 3): A Decade Later, Where Do We Stand?

Nearly a decade ago, I entered a 6th grade Social Studies classroom as a wide-eyed and highly enthused student teacher.  The classroom that I entered was considered a technology classroom, complete with 5 desktop computers, a teacher microphone and ceiling speakers, and a Promethean board.  I was thrilled to be able learn from a fantastic teacher and have the opportunity to experience real engagement with my new students through the use of this interactive whiteboard.  The year in that classroom was incredible and inspired me to constantly seek out the most efficient technology to help my students.  But looking back now, it also makes me reflect on Promethean boards.

In 2008, these tools were the latest and greatest, but today, it can feel like not much has changed and they may be turning into glorified projectors.  Many teachers have discussed with me the limitations they feel with Promethean boards and a level of discomfort because of a lack of training.  In my own classroom, I slowly moved further away from the board’s usage because I saw it as teacher-centered rather than student-centered.  On the other hand, many teachers have felt that the Promethean board is the focal point of their instruction and they engage students every single day with its many tools.

This post will be the first of a series on Promethean boards, in which I will share the tool’s successes, acknowledge its shortcomings, and look toward to the future implementation of the device, because it is not jumping off the wall and walking out of our classrooms any time soon.  As Promethean is transforming their interactive software from ActivInspire to Classflow, how are teachers impacted?  Most importantly, how do we still engage our students through the boards that may be feeling less and less interactive?  I will explore these questions and more in the posts ahead.  Watch this space for more and leave comments below.

By Joe Zappa

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