Chris Drage puts Promethean's revamped ACTIVprimary software under the spotlight ... and ends up being very impressed
Anyone familiar with Promethean's comprehensive ACTIVstudio software will tell you that, unless you work with it daily, you soon forget what all the icons relate to, and that children find it even harder to manipulate.
To rectify this situation Promethean has taken on a completely new look, developing the ACTIVprimary system designed specifically for primary schools.
Developed specifically for use with the Promethean ACTIVboard whiteboards, ACTIVprimary is a completely new departure. Bright new toolbars and bold icons initially lead you to suspect that this is a cut-down version. It is not. ACTIVprimary retains all the functionality and features of the original (including a huge resource library), but with a vastly superior interface. A lot of thought has gone into this software and it shows. For example, the teacher's control panel is near the top of the screen. The children's toolbars are along the bottom, thus ensuring that even the smallest children can participate. The software boasts a whole suite of primary resources and easily recognised tools.
ACTIVprimary is split into two main areas - the teacher area and the pupil area. Two modes of use are available to the teacher. First, the Design Mode enables the creation of complex activities. Second the Presentation Mode, enables all the tools necessary to deliver a presentation. From the Teacher's Toolbar, ACTIVity can be launched. This is a small floating toolbox that permits annotations on the desktop and Desktop Capture mode.
ACTIVprimary is relevant, intuitive and progressive and has been created to promote the maximum amount of interaction during the lesson. Indeed, this may well be the reason to choose a Promethean ACTIVboard. Existing users should seriously consider using their Learning Credits on ACTIVprimary. The downside? I only wish such excellent software was available for everyone, regardless of the hardware.