Apr 16 2021

Review: Interact Seamlessly with the Promethean ActivPanel Titanium

Share content freely across devices with new features and updates to this interactive and flexible classroom solution.

When I first reviewed the Promethean ActivPanel Titanium in December 2019, I was impressed with many of its teacher-friendly features, such as a user-friendly interface, reliable security and easy access to commonly used tools in a unified menu. I recently participated in a one-on-one virtual demonstration of the latest enhancements to the popular panel. In terms of appearance, it’s exactly the same, but over the past year, Promethean has added features, software enhancements and services under the hood that have earned the panel a second look.

Throughout 2020 and into 2021, districts have faced many challenges, including providing equitable access to hardware and optimizing content delivery to students in person, at home and in a hybrid environment. In addition, questions about sustainability and mobility have become top agenda items in school board rooms across the country. Further, how can students with a variety of devices share content with one another in remote, hybrid and in-person environments? Promethean has been working hard behind the scenes to address many of these challenges. The following are my impressions from attending the product demo.

Freedom to Move Between Classrooms

As teachers return to the classroom, they may be required to move from room to room. One of the new features released in May 2020 is the ability to store multiple user profiles on the ActivPanel itself. Local profiles will now allow teachers to sign in and get to their content with greater efficiency, giving them more time to tend to the needs of their students.

This update underscores another new feature called Cloud Connect. When teachers sign in to their profiles, they can now sign in to their Google Drive and OneDrive accounts. When they sign in and out of a given panel, these accounts automatically connect. Teachers can create content on a board in one classroom, upload it to a Google Drive or OneDrive account, then sign in to a different ActivPanel and download that content without ever having to sign in or out of their Google Drive or OneDrive accounts.

Connect with Student Devices from Anywhere

The next major product enhancement involves screen sharing. Students now have the ability to mirror and share their screens in a device-agnostic classroom environment. This has always been a feature of the ActivPanel Titanium through a partnership with ActivCast; however, Promethean recently built its own application called Screen Share. One outstanding feature of Screen Share is a new waiting room that allows up to 39 students to mirror in. Previously, this feature was limited to just a fraction of that number. So, whether students are physically in the classroom or working remotely, teachers can choose up to four students to share their screens at a time.

Windows OS and macOS computers not only can be mirrored, now they can also be controlled through a new feature called Touchback. Touchback gives teachers the ability to control a student’s computer directly from the ActivPanel. Imagine a student is working on a video edit in Adobe Premiere on his or her Windows computer. After the teacher explains to the student how to make an edit, the student is still experiencing some difficulty. With Touchback, the teacher can take temporary control of the student’s computer, perform the technique right from the ActivPanel, then release control back to the student. Talk about immediate feedback.

DISCOVER: 3 ways educators can set students up for success in the digital age.

Touchless Panel Management for IT Teams

One new feature of particular interest to IT professionals is Promethean’s new panel management solution. Every panel the company sells allows districts to push updates remotely to any device (no need to physically touch every panel). This feature alone allows technicians to set configurations, such as what time the panel should shut off each evening.

In addition, IT pros can now deploy the Google Play app store. Flipping this switch allows the app store to appear in a teacher’s window, affording teachers the ability to integrate their favorite Google apps into any lesson and essentially turning the ActivPanel into a giant Android tablet.

The best feature released in May 2020 allows users to open multiple windows. Now, teachers can open several windows on the ActivPanel at a time — similar to the way they (and their students) have been doing it on their computers for a long time. Having this option on the ActivPanel is a big deal, because it allows students to make more content connections.

Promethean ActivPanel Titanium

 

No Saving, Searching or Uploading

Another great feature added to the software upgrade is the Android intent functionality. Imagine a scenario in which a teacher wants to take a screenshot and share it with the class. With this latest update, the teacher taps the export button and a window appears on the screen that shows all the possible destinations it could be sent — including apps. Even if the teacher does not have any apps installed, he or she can still send the image to anything that’s been connected through Cloud Connect, such as a Google Drive or OneDrive account. But the true power comes when teachers have access to Google Classroom, OneNote, Schoology and Zoom. Teachers can simply click on the app icon, and the image goes to that app. With a couple of simple clicks, teachers can send the image to every student in the classroom, whether they’re remote or in person. No saving, searching or uploading because Android intent does all the work.

A Small but Mighty Change

Finally, one small but mighty change deserves mentioning: It’s the spinner, a function that allows teachers to randomize interactive choices for students. Instead of just having one spinner instance available, Promethean has allowed teachers to display up to four spinners at one time. One clever use could be during a creative writing class. A teacher could create one spinner called “who,” preloaded with names like Goldilocks, King Kong or Robin Hood; a second spinner could be loaded with “what” words, such as a baseball, flower or smartphone; a third spinner could include “when” phrases, such as morning, nighttime or in the year 2521; and finally, a fourth spinner could include “where” phrases, such as Mars, the Golden Gate Bridge or my kitchen. Each day, a student could approach the panel, spin all four spinners, and the randomly selected items could be combined to serve as the creative writing prompt for the day. For example, students might hear their teacher say, “OK, kids: The year is 2521 and Goldilocks is holding a baseball on the planet Mars. You have five minutes to write your story. Go!”

DIVE DEEPER: Find sharing solutions for your K–12 classroom with Promethean.

SPECIFICATIONS

SPECIFIC APPLICATIONS: Projection, touch screen, screen sharing
MODEL: 75” diagonal class LED screen
DISPLAY FORMAT: 4K UHD (2160p)
RAM: 4GB
STORAGE CAPACITY: 64GB
CONNECTIVITY: LAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth