Home Interactive White Boards Promethean’s Interactive Whiteboard and related instructional products

Promethean’s Interactive Whiteboard and related instructional products


The 4th post in a series in which we have been learning about Interactive Whiteboards for the classroom.

Three weeks ago I started this effort with a post in which I researched market leaders and confirmed that the ubiquitous SMART Board is the clear market leader (with about 50% market share). Of the many other manufacturers that split the rest of this large and growing market, Promethean is a name I've come across frequently. This week I experienced a demonstration of their ActivBoard and various related products that Promothean offers for the classroom.


Sales Consultant Christina Godlewski from Promethean Partner Logical Choice Technologies visited our college this past Thursday with a full sized mobile ActivBoard in tow (I believe it was the ActiveBoard 300). After an overview of many of the instructional products offered by Promethean, the ActivBoard was demonstrated, with a focus on the ActivInspire software that comes with it.

The ActivBoard appears to be pretty similar to today's “gold standard” SMART Board, but there were a number of features and services through which Promothean seeks to differentiate their offerings from the competition, including the following:

  • Durability: The ActiveBoard has a highly durable surface, unlike the SMART Board's touchboard surface (the ActivBoard does not operate by touch).
  • Promethean Planet: The Promethean Planet social network has every appearance of a valuable community resource for educators who utilize the Promethean products for the classroom. In a comment here a couple weeks ago, reader Dallas McPherson stated, “I’ve used both Smart and Promethean brand whiteboards and prefer the support of PrometheanPlanet.com with over 14,000 lesson plans that are already broken down by grade, subject, and standards. When it comes to integration of tech in the classroom, there is no substitute for that kind of support.” 
  • Unique two-pen mode: The ActiveBoard features a unique two-pen mode, in which one user can play the role of the teacher or facilitator, and the other user can play a participative role.
  • The ActiveXpression student response device. This LRS (Learning Response System) tool is considered state of the art, and can be used with other interactive whiteboards.
  • Thousands of available Lesson Plans for the ActivInspire software: These lesson plans have been developed by other teachers, and are available on the Promethean Planet site.
  • Their software: Promethean considers the the ActivInspire software a differentiator, and it is certainly a highly functional whiteboard application, but it was not immediately obvious to me if anything about this software actually sets it apart from other whiteboard apps like Smart Technology's Notebook software. One thing I was excited to learn is that the ActiveInspire application is available in a personal version for free download. I am going to check out this week – this could be a great app to use, independant of the specific whiteboard ultimately chosen.

This video is one of a series of “Teacher Features” posted by user PrometheanUSWeb on YouTube. These features focus on individual teachers who have made great use of the ActiveBoard products in the classroom, and provide additional insight into these systems:

Promethean positions itself as a provider of solutions for the whole classroom, and has a wider range of supportive and related products than many other whiteboard providers. Based on my exposure to interactive whiteboards so far, the ActivBoard seems to be every bit as good as the popular SMART Board, but without a touch capability (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).

Next Steps
So far in this series we've learned about SMART Boards online, reviewed a demonstration of the PolyVision Ä“no offering, and examined Promethean's offerings. Our next steps will include: trying out this inexpensive “Wii Board” technique, and collaborating with our faculty based work group to determine how we will move forward with the decision making process. I look forward discussing our progress, and wrapping this series up by selecting the product(s) we will be using for a small scale trial rollout.


  1. A smart interactive whiteboard can make learning more fun in the classroom. It allows teachers to write on the screen and project it into the classroom, enabling them to present lessons on a larger scale. Students can interact with the lesson, allowing them to apply what they\’ve learned in real-time. Teachers can create an interactive quiz on the screen, too. If they don\’t have a smart board, students can still answer questions by using a computer or construction paper placed over a light sensor. You also visit our website
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  2. We have had Promethean ActivBoards for two years now after going through a selection process that compared and contrasted the options. We’re very pleased. Answer to the dual pen question: Yes, in dual user mode both pens can be use anywhere on the board simultaneously. And I have heard that the soon to be released boards and software will accept up to four inputs! Get those students up to the board and interacting with the content!!

  3. […] suggests that SMART Technologies has the upper hand, but in fact, it only has about 50% market share globally. While that’s nothing to sneeze at, there are plenty of competitors. Promethean in particular […]

  4. Great review! I appreciate you breaking it down by bullet points.

    In regards to the comment above, I’ve used both types of technology and found that I like having the pen because you can hover and you can right click. More and more websites and applications require hovering to use all features.

    It is true that many LRS systems will work on other boards, but then you have to run 2 pieces of software and they cannot talk to one another. It is much easier to just get the same brand if you can do so from the beginning.

    In regards to dual pen usage, a good question to ask is if both pens can be used anywhere on the board or just in certain areas. Also, does the system recognize each pen independently and react as such or just as “two pens?”

    Those are all good questions to ask though IWB user.

  5. Good post – it is interesting to see peoples impressions from demos/sales pitches. Could you follow up with further detail on why you think not having touch ‘is not necessarily a bad thing.’ In my opinion, it is very important – if not, lots of tech wouldn’t be moving towards touch, multi-touch, etc. Apple, Microsoft, HP, etc etc all moving towards touch as the primary way to interact with content. Pens for writing, touch for manipulating. With things like Windows 7 and other OS’s going to gestures/multi-point/multi-touch I wonder what that experience would be like – do you use multiple pens? What did the Promethean person say? What about Polyvision (the other one you reviewed)?

    Re: LRS/SRS/(other names) – all the clickers work with any IWB. eInstruction works with any, Quizdom works with any, SMART’s work with any, etc – they are all software driven, so they all can work with any board, right?

    Re: Two -pen mode – have you seen the eInstruction Dual-Board? That has used 2 pens for quite some time. SMART has a dual-user board coming out in the next few weeks too. Not sure if others do multi-user.

    Re: Promethean Planet – lots of stuff there. Have you checked out the SMART Exchange? I also seem to find many more community-based sites out there for SMART – something that takes it beyond just the manufacturer created/supplied community to the grassroots level. There is also a new eInstruction community site that they are slowly building, as well as other sites from other companies as well..



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