The interactive whiteboard is one of the most common technology products in the classroom. There are 2 major brands that account for around 80-90% of sales.
Promethean have 3 ranges of Interactive Whiteboards that cater for a range of budgets. Promethean’s products have distinguished themselves from their major competitor SMART by focusing on a pen input. The Promethean pen is a passive device (it has no power requirements) and has an excellent level of accuracy.
The pen works in a similar way as a mouse. By holding the pen near the board you will see the cursor on the screen. This allows you to use ‘hover’ features of software – like tips. By pushing the nib against the board you are applying the ‘left-click’. A button on the barrel acts as the ‘right-click’. This combination makes it easy to use with any standard software application.
The board in all but their most advanced 500 series does not detect any other inputs other than the pen. This makes it great for users who like to support their hand on the screen but the downside is that young users have to get used to using the pen instead of using their fingers.
The entry level product is the 64″ 164 board. This is a basic board that has a single pen input. There is no audio built into the system and it is a 4:3 ratio
The 300PRO series is the standard range for the Promethean product range. There are 78″, 87″ and 95″ variants that are all in a wide screen format. The 300PRO series includes an integrated amplifier and speakers. It is also comes with a dual pen capability.
The dual pen allows 2 users to interact with the board at the same time. There is no restriction on where the pens are used and they can cross without interference. The full feature set only works within the Promethean ActivInspire software and not outside of the software.
The 500PRO Series is the top of the range board and has an added touch layer that means it is possible to interact with both the pens and with touch input.
The touch layer is a capacitive solution and allows 4 touchpoints. What makes this technology innovative is that the pen input is still identified as a different input source. This means that you can select different tools for the pen and finger input. My favorite option is to use the pen as a drawing tool and the finger as the eraser.
The 500PRO series also comes with some additional software products that make innovative use of the distinctions between the different inputs.