Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Activ Primary Or Smart? Which IWB to choose....

In my new AST role, I've been working recently with schools who have Promethean boards over Smart boards in their classrooms.

Now I am a Smart user - I have always used their software, and choose their boards over Promethean when my school first got IWBs.

The main difference in the board itself is that Smart boards are touch sensitive, so you can use your hand to interact with it, and Promethean boards you need to use a pen. I prefer the Touch Sensitive board since it is much more versatile that the pen based systems.

So I have been working hard on learning how to use Activ Primary 3, the software that you use with a Promethean board.

My inital impressions, where that Activ Primary was a bit clunky compare to Smart Notebook. But on exploring further the two pieces of software are much closer in design that I had thought. (Just make sure you use design mode on Activ Primary)

Both have there good points.

Activ Primary has some very nice tools - that Smart Notebook does not, the ruler, protractor and dice tools are nice.

Smart Notebook - allows for a much nicer and cleaner interface and works alongside the windows (or mac) environment. I find text editing more fluid as well. The resource gallery is allow just easier to use and access.

Much of the other tools and options - though appearing slightly different work in the same or very similar ways.

Some negative points

Active Primary - awkward interface, the need to be in design mode to do certain things is confusing. My initial experiences with copy and pasting, from the Internet where frustrating.

Smart Notebook - more education specific tool set - this is improving though, the gallery has been updated in many positive ways. But there are more tools that should be developed.

What IWB to choose? Well for some school the choice has been made already. Keep doing what you are doing but, hope is not lost. Since both pieces of Software can be used on each others board.

Activ Primary does cost though where as far as i'm aware as Smart can be download and used for free.

The jury is still out, I know what I like and will be continuing to use Smart, though I will dabble in Activ Primary 3 for time to time.

Comments? Suggestions? What is best?

Take my vote.


Anonymous said...

I have also used both boards and SMART gets my vote. At first I thought all those cool Promethean tools, like the compas, dice, protractor werent in Notebook but then after some searching I found that they are, they are so hidden in the gallery but they are there, and whats better is that you can have more than one instance of them on the page and it will save it when you next open.

For example I wanted to use the dice and I could drag different colours and as many as I wanted on the page then save the file and my dice would be saved too, in Promethean i would have to open the dice every time i wanted to use the file.

Nic Hughes said...

I'd agree with most of that, but...

the SMART ruler and protractor tools can't be used to draw straight lines like the Avtiv Primary can and you can add action buttons to your Activ Primary Pages to allow you to quickly turn on and off the tools.

The SMART gallery is a great resource and well worth searching through.

Creative ICT said...

I'm a Smartboy every time. My first board was a Promethean and as such got fairly used to it. I thought Activ Primary was a real backward step - not very intuitive to use. Just watch kids using a Smartboard and Notebook and you'll be convinced. Only other issue is which voting system - really don't like Senteo, which is Smart's offering. Activ Vote is a little better, but best of all is Turning Point which is by far the most intuitive to use. Only issue with it is that it integrates with PowerPoint and Excel, and not Open Office.

Anonymous said...

I'd just check your comment about SMART being "free"...

The lawyers would disagree - the SMART license clearly says it can only be used if it is connected to a Smartboard.

I have found that is looking good and teh forum very friendly - and going by the number of flipcharts you can download for free there seems to be a much stronger community of Promethean users.

Nic Hughes said...

I did say as far as i'm aware. But you are right that it can only be used on a Smartboard (youcan pay to use it on a activ primary board) - but what thier licence does allow is anyone within the school - including pupils - can download the software at home and use it.

That isn't true with Activ Primary.