Last Monday we had our November math education club meeting. This one was on how to set up and use Smart Boards. Particularly in this case Promethean boards. Promethean boards are like smart boards but are not the actual "Smart Board."
Difference? There is a key difference in the two and personally I think it's a huge one. So if your thinking of pushing your principal to get you one, listen up. If not, just move on. The key difference is that in smart boards, the actual board is the electromagnetic surface. Meaning that if it gets scratched or dented, that's it, you buy a whole new one. But in Promethean boards, it's the pen, not the board. Meaning that you can abuse your board to your hearts content and never worry. A lot of principals when looking to purchase smart boards will go for an actual Smart Board because they run about a $1,000 a piece. Promethean boards run about $3,000 a piece on the other hand. Obviously, if you did not know the difference, you would go for a Smart Board, but most principals report that they have to replace the board so many times that it would have been better to buy a Promethean in the first place.
So anyways, hope your enlightened on that topic, I know I've always been curious about the difference. There are some other differences, but that wasn't really the topic of this post, so I'll move along.
Okay, so the real "did you know?" part now.
Did you know that you have access to all the cool Promethean technology and features without even owning a board!?!
You so do and it's completely free! If you head on over to Promethean Planet, you can download the software used to make the flip charts, and even pre-made flip charts (a.k.a. a interactive PowerPoint). Talk about a resource! There are tons of awesome full lessons on every topic, morning routine charts, quizzes, and much more.
Now I will warn you, the full software is a bit hefty is size, so you might want to consider your memory space before downloading. But, if memory is an issue for you, you can download the viewer, which will allow you to use the pre-made flip charts, you just won't be able to make changes or make your own. It also has a bit of a learning curve to it, so you may want to start with the viewer if you think learning the software might be more than you have time for now.
If you have a LCD projector in your room that all you do is run it like a PowerPoint. The kids won't be able to interact on the board/screen, but they can use the laptop it is running through. Or you can stick some flip-charts on a computer for students to do while in centers.
Homeschoolers are in even more luck because you only have one or two students, most likely, who would be working on the same flip-chart, and they can work right from the family computer.
If you are dying for a board, but your principal won't "buy it"(pun completely intended), start using flip charts everyday. Your kids will love them, and if your principal sees this, chances are, he or she will be more likely to buy you one when they see you are already using the technology that goes with it. This is how the presenter got hers. She used the flip charts with her LCD projector for a year, and when her pricipal saw this and how much the kids loved it, she bought her one for the next school year.
Now I'm not an expert on using this software just yet, I myself need to clean my memory out to make room for the software, but I thought you all might enjoy knowing that this technology exists out there for your use. The things it can do will blow your mind, and your students.