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The Power of Promethean

Promethean is one of the most experienced and respected names in the interactive flat panel market, and particularly where education is involved. For more than 20 years, Promethean has supplied educators with advanced classroom technologies, from projectors and whiteboards, to modern interactive flat panels. The company's flagship product is its ActivPanel, and it is quickly making an impact in U.S. classrooms. Promethean is already a leading brand in Europe, but the introduction of the ActivPanel is helping it become a mainstay in the states, as well.

The ActivPanel

Promethean's most advanced product is its ActivPanel series, which is designed to be paired with the company's proven classroom software. The ActivPanel is a sleek, modern LED display that is rated for 50,000 hours of performance before it will require replacement. It is available in several sizes, from 65-inch to a staggering 86-inch. Both HD and 4K resolution options are available, and the low-glare, low-reflectivity screen can be comfortably viewed from up to a 178-degree angle. With this kind of flexibility, it can work with any classroom organization. The screen consists of 4mm of acid-etched and tempered glass, with no film cover, so it feels like glass without being vulnerable to damage. It can accommodate several users at once, with 10 to 20-point multi-touch capability. The 65-inch, 70-inch and 75-inch models come with 10-point touch capability, while the 86-inch can manage 20 points of touch simultaneously.

The ActivPanel can be mounted in one of several ways, including fixed wall mount, a height-adjustable wall mount, a mobile stand or a height-adjustable mobile stand. Height-adjustability is a smart addition in classrooms with younger students who may have trouble reaching the panel.

Connectivity includes several HDMI ports, as well as USB 2.0 and 3.0, VGA and OPS. The ActivPanel comes with Promethean's ActivConnect OPS-G module, which is an Android module add-on that will allow the ActivPanel to be used like a tablet. With the OPS-G, it's easy to quickly begin whiteboarding, share content wirelessly, mirror any mobile device, capture screens or notes, and download apps or delivery lessons through ClassFlow. If desired, the ActivPanel can also be paired with a Windows-enabled OPS unit, which will allow instructors to use familiar Windows programs like Word and PowerPoint.

Unlike many other interactive panels, the ActivPanel is built with high-quality stereo speakers, so it can deliver impressive audio to the entire room. But if educators would prefer to attach the display to an existing audio system, that is also easy to do.

And it's all protected with a three-year warranty, so this is a worthwhile investment rather than just another product.

The ActivPanel's hardware specifications are impressive enough and can compete with any other interactive flat panel on the market. But where the ActivPanel really makes headway is with its superb responsiveness and software offerings.

A defining feature with the ActivPanel is its InGlass technology. InGlass allows for extremely responsive and accurate handwriting detection. As advanced as interactive flat panels are, they still lag in how they detect and represent handwriting. This can make for a frustrating whiteboarding experience, as the delay is often enough to distract some users. InGlass, though, greatly improves detection speed and accuracy, so handwriting feels much more natural and allows the user to stay focused.

On the software side, Promethean's chief offering is ActivInspire. ActivInspire has long been one of Promethean's most effective selling points, and it remains the gold standard for interactive flat panel software options. It has been constantly upgraded over the years, so it has been filled with a nearly endless reservoir of lesson designs. In all, there are thousands, and they represent every subject. The software is included with the ActivPanel with no extra licensing fees, and it is regularly improved upon, so the panel's capabilities will continue to grow as the software does.

ActivInspire comes with loads of lessons designed to get students interacting with the board, and often in a multiuser format. This encourages students to collaborate and cooperate. The software offers total cross platform availability, and can be used on devices with Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems. ActivInspire is also built with several extra engagement tools, including ingenious additions like Spotlight Focus. Spotlight Focus allows the teacher to define a small area of the screen that students can view. The rest is blocked out. This makes sense for quizzes and lessons where the teacher is trying to get answers from the students.

Promethean also offers ClassFlow, which is a cloud-based piece of lesson delivery software that comes with some advanced collaboration tools. ClassFlow is similar to ActivInspire in that it comes complete with a great deal of lesson material, but it's how these lessons are delivered that sets ClassFlow apart. As a cloud-based piece of software, ClassFlow can interact with student devices. Specifically, teachers can create lessons and send them to student devices once the student has an active ClassFlow student account. 

Using ClassFlow, teachers can send lesson materials or rapid-fire quizzes to students. Students can interact with those lessons, enabling teachers to get the entire classroom involved without having to pass around papers. And lesson materials can be sent to students who are at home, so if a student has to take an extended leave of absence due to illness, they won't fall behind. Finally, ClassFlow can be used to reward students with digital badges, which improves their learning and keeps them engaged.

Like ActivInspire, ClassFlow encourages collaboration on the teacher side, as well. Educators can grab other teachers' lessons through ClassFlow and find inspiration and ideas to help them create their own versions.

Promethean has been synonymous with interactive classroom technology for decades, and the ActivPanel cements this reputation even further. There are few interactive flat panels that can provide the same level of functionality, user-friendliness and reliability.