Promethean has upgraded their award winning interactive whiteboard software ActivInspire to Version 2. Users of ActivInspire Version 1 cannot update to this new version of ActivInspire that has full integration with their new ClassFlow product by updating from within ActivInspire. In order to update to ActivInspire a user has to go to the Promethean Planet website and manually download the full installation package for ActivInspire Version 2.
This version is only available to users of the newer Promethean series 300 and 500 interactive whiteboards. Teachers and schools who purchased earlier Promethean interactive whiteboards or digital projectors will be disappointed that Promethean expect them to either continue using Version 1, use the free personal Version 2 or purchase the software if they want the full Version 2.
To get your new software serial number, one has to have the Product Code and Serial number of a qualifying Promethean product and enter it online. When these details are validated, you will be given your new serial number on screen. This new serial number will also be e-mailed to you for further reference. You can find the details you require on a label on the side of the interactive whiteboard, just beside the volume control knob on your Promethean whiteboard.
Teachers using ActivInspire version 2 can connect and sign into to their ClassFlow account directly from the new ClassFlow button on the menu bar at the top of the screen. Once signed in, a ClassFlow access code will be generated and displayed on screen. Pupils can sign in using their own devices in the classroom (computers, laptops, netbooks or tablets) and use these for interacting with the lesson displayed on the board at the front of the class. The teacher now has the option of sending his/her screen to the pupils devices by clicking on the new Send Button in Active Inspire Version 2. The teacher can also use the Express Poll button at any time during the lesson to ask questions to test pupil understanding at any time during a lesson. Question types include multiple choice, true or false, text, number or Likert scales. These questions can be sent to any combination of ActivVote, ActivExpression or computers, laptops, netbooks and tablets that can be used via the browser or using the ClassFlow Student app downloaded from the relevant app Store and installed on the device. Results of any questions asked using the Express Poll feature are stored in additional flipchart pages at the end of your flipchart.
In some of my tests with ActivInspire Version 2 and tablet devices this week I found that sending flipchart pages or asking questions using the Express Poll facilitiy was somewhat slower than previous testing with devices on the ClassFlow website before Christmas. In addition, some of the more advanced features available on the ClassFlow website such as self paced questions, creative polling, use of the camera on tablet devices via student app are not available at this time when using ActivInspire Version 2. No doubt, additional facilities and improvements will be added as newer updated versions of ActivInspire 2 are launched in due course.
The free Teacher Remote app (IOS and Android) for smartphones can be used by the teacher from anywhere in the classroom to move through flipchart pages and send flipchart pages to student devices connected to the class. On the paid for Teacher Classflow app, the presenter function did not work but the Teacher Remote function worked ok. Perhaps the presenter function hasn’t been implemented on ActivInspire to date.
Minimum Operating System requirements for installing ActiveInspire Version 2 are Windows 7 on Windows machines and Mac OS X 10.7 on Apple hardware.
Verdict: Having tried both ActivInspire Version 2 and the ClassFlow website I think that I will be sticking with the ClassFlow website for another while as it has far more functionality. I found the Assessment Builder toolkit on ClassFlow far superior to using the Express Pool tools built into ActiveInspire. Another point worth mentioning is that ClassFlow is being regularly updated and after any major update it is necessary to update any teacher or student apps as updated apps are released with each major update. For any teacher using ClassFlow it is worthwhile keeping an eye on the ClassFlow support website for such announcements.