PROMETHEAN ACTIVPANELS BRING COLLABORATIVE LEARNING TO CLASSROOM
Feb. 8, 2018—Helping transform both the teaching and learning processes, the more than 4,600 Promethean ActivPanels installed throughout CFISD classrooms are a prime example of the major instructional technology upgrades already completed or coming thanks to the 2014 Bond program.
Walker Elementary School fourth-grade math teacher Juan Lemus assists Maya Haynes as she work on a math lesson using a Promethean ActivPanel in class Feb. 6. CFISD currently has 4,641 Promethean ActivPanels in its classrooms, with plans for more than an estimated 6,000 districtwide provided by Bond funds.
The panels are a teaching tool that feature a tablet-like experience on a 70-inch display, including touchscreen and writing capabilities. They’re an upgrade from the previous SMART Boards, combining not only the panels themselves, but Chromebooks and ClassFlow, a lesson-delivery software program for touch-based products, to help bring about even more collaborative learning.
A welcome message from a teacher is displayed on a Promethean ActivPanel and greets students at a Woodard Elementary School on Feb. 6.
“In some ways, it’s like a giant iPad. You can manipulate things with it and it brings out another piece of interactivity that you can use as a teaching tool or students can use,” said Cassie Reeder, an instructional consultant with Promethean who have helped train approximately 6,000 CFISD teachers since the rollout in 2016-2017. “It can totally transform your classroom in terms of the kids being able to be interactive with things.”
The interactive features and functionality are what help separate the ActivPanels from tradition chalkboards or white dry-erase boards. Teachers can write in real time while giving instruction, as can one – or multiple – students when solving problems or comparing work with others.
“The ActivPanel actually lets you do real-life things on it,” said Allie Spear, a fifth-grade math teacher at Woodard Elementary School. “It’s basically a big white board but with a computer setting.”
Students demonstrate how to use ClassFlow technology on a Promethean ActivPanel during the CFISD Technology Festival on April 27 at the Berry Center.
With 4,641 panels currently installed, the project is approximately three-fourths completed. CFISD is estimated to have more than 6,000 total classrooms, a mark that may shift due to student enrollment, with the goal for each to feature a Promethean Panel.
In addition to the ActivPanels, the Bond also covered ClassFlow, which allows students to connect to lessons through the classroom devices in real time. A teacher can have a poll question for example, and share with every student, sending the question or the document it’s on to each Chromebook.
At the same time, students can also follow the work – or work with – their peers as they go.
Cassie Reeder, an instructional consultant for Promethean, leads a professional development session on ClassFlow during the Rigor, Relevance and Relationships (RRR) Leadership Conference in June at the Berry Center.
“We got to hear students at Woodard (Elementary School) explain why they love it and one of the kids said, ‘I get to see my thinking and my classmates’ thinking,’” said Laura Collier, an educational consultant with Promethean. “That’s through the power of ClassFlow. Before, everyone was writing in their individual notebooks, so they were learning from what they teacher said or what they think – they don’t see each other’s notebook. With this, it’s basically all their little notebooks up on the screen. The learning is just exponentially growing.”