Promethean boards redefine the limits of classroom teaching

By John Son

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When first introduced, the Promethean board was highly controversial; partly for their cost amidst the financial crisis and partly because people questioned how useful they actually were.

The Promethean board allows teachers to practice new methods of educating their students from grades K through 12. Photo courtesy Ambler Elementary School.

Students thought the boards were useless but pretty cool. Many teachers had no idea how to use them. Parents thought they were a waste of tax money, especially since they were each $5,000 and time had to be invested to train teachers.

The Promethean boards serve a variety of purposes. Teachers can use them to show videos, display a virtual TI calculator, make Powerpoint presentations and write notes.

As someone interested in tech, I find the boards to be costly, as well as fascinating and useful. Their nearly limitless capabilities make them not only novel, but highly useful in a variety of classes, limited only by the ingenuity of the teacher. They foreshadow days of a highly technological education.

In Spanish, for example, we used the boards to participate in engaging activities to learn vocabulary. In math, the virtual TI calculator makes it easy to learn functions. In English, we were able to make and present powerpoints conveniently. And in classes like psychology, the boards are great for watching videos that illustrate the concepts we learn about.

Teachers also use the Promethean board survey eggs to take class-wide polls and make survey-based activities.

Teachers have similar opinions of the boards. They agree that the boards’ wide range of functions and greater interactive capabilities are useful. At the same time, many teachers agree that learning all the uses takes significant training that they don’t get.

But, as expensive as they are, we should consider ourselves fortunate to have such technological privileges.

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