Saturday, January 23, 2010

Q4: Favorite ActivInspire Tools

My favorite tools so far...
  1. Timer/Clock:  I was using the timer found in the shared resources, but found out about the clock in today's Module 3/4 training.  The clock is found on the menu bar under "tools" then "more tools".  You can display an analog and/or a digital clock.  You can also have it count down like a stopwatch and then repeat automatically, or perform an action after the countdown, like move to the next slide.  Very basic and very useful.
  2. Resource Browser:  I honestly think that Smart Technologies does this better than Promethean (it may be the only thing), but I DO love the resource browser. I can find gadgets like timers, dice and backgrounds.  Some of my favorites are the paper backgrounds.  I can make the board look exactly like my students' science notebooks and model how I want them to create entries.  I just found out that there are more resources to be downloaded at Promethean Planet, I will download them on Monday and maybe it will be even better.
  3. Desktop Annotation:  I don't use it everyday, but when I need it I like how convenient this feature is.  I have been using it to annotate over math websites to demonstrate how to play math online activities and to annotate over maps to demonstrate scale.  The ability to save these annotations using the camera tool makes it extremely powerful.. I'm just not there yet.

Q3: Promethean Board vs. Dry-Erase White Boards

There are so many ways a Promethean Board is different than the dry erase board.  I think the first major difference is that everything can be saved.  Yes, I may be using my P-Board as a glorified whiteboard right now, but I can save my work from one day to the next.  So, if I begin a conversation with students about food chains, we can save and continue or review the next day.  I also created science groups on my glorified whiteboard, saved it and look at the groups every couple of days.

Another difference is the ability to move from the white board space to anywhere else on the computer or web.  Again, we have a conversation about food chains, then move over to a BrianPop movie about the topic.  Links can be embedded in flipcharts as well.

How about engagement?  If students know that they will have an opportunity to interact with the P-Board, they are all engaged.  With the "dual user" feature, I can hand pens to two students.  This week we experimented with the slate and the kids love it.  I found myself giving them tips on how to use it, but they are just fine experimenting and playing, this kind of stuff is in their blood!

And the thought of buying a lot less Expo markers doesn't break my heart...