A while back, Promethean introduced their most basic package of all. It costs €800 and you get a wireless slate and their excellent Activ Primary software. You also get a little hub, (much like the eBeam or Mimio), which sticks to your existing whiteboard. Now, although you cannot interact with the whiteboard directly, you can use the slate to do all the interacting.
Now, this is probably not blowing you away just yet. What’s the point of an Interactive Whiteboard if you can’t use your magic pen or wand or finger? In fact, I recall being hugely unimpressed with it. And you’d be right if you only use it in isolation.
However, if you already have an interactive whiteboard, let’s say an EBeam or Mimio, this €800 solution allows you to use the Activ Primary software on your existing Whiteboard. So, you can use your eBeam or Mimio pen on the Activ Primary software and you get a nice wireless slate too.
I would value a wireless slate at about €100 so effectively you are paying €700 for Promethean’s Activ Primary Software and some training.
I think that it’s worth it.
Promethean’s software is incredibly child-friendly and there are countless amount of resources specifically made for educational use. For example, there are grids for every type of page you’d ever use – red and blue handwriting lines, sum copy squared paper, graph paper, tessellation dotted paper, quiz templates, sorting trays, etc. etc. etc. Some of their Power Tools (extra tools) are brilliant. Their ruler really allows you to draw straight lines; their compass allows you to draw circles of any diameter. Yes, these are all bells and whistles but if you are spending €2,500 on an IWB solution, I think the extra investment could well be worth it.
Aside from the software and slate, Promethean do offer excellent customer service and training. I have to admit that the fact they came all the way to talk to me about their product after my previous posts shows that they are proactive in establishing good customer relations. Although I don’t think IWBs should require any training – they should be intuitive enough – the fact that it’s offered is a good thing.
I would only invest in this option if I already owned an IWB solution and wanted a good piece of software to run on it. In fairness, other companies’ software isn’t as good as Promethean’s. To summarise what you get for your €800:
- A hub to convert your existing IWB to be able to use Promethean’s software (legally!)
- An ever-improving customer support service
- Some hours of free training
- Access to free online training and Activ Primary software
I’m slightly tempted. What do you think?