By Lillian Mongeau
In the race to develop the classroom of the future, tech giant Promethean has taken another step forward this year with a new product called ActivTable. Think iPad on four legs.
The newest gadget is the latest in Promethean’s range of interactive classroom products—smart boards, classroom response systems that resemble game show buzzers, teacher dashboards—and is the first of the company’s products designed especially for small group learning.
The table is about the size of a wide coffee table and comes up to the hips of the average adult. It’s a 46”, high-definition LCD touch-screen. The surface is covered in “gorilla glass” for durability. It can respond to touch from up to six kids at a time. Students stand around the table, using it for all sorts of activities, from sorting vocabulary words to working out math problems to basically anything you can think of that can also be done with paper and pencil.
And today, Promethean announced a new partnership with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to produce Common Core-aligned math and reading curricula to be taught with their devices.
Company president Jim Marshall said the goal of bringing this product to the market is to teach kids in an environment that matches the way they live today. “[Kids] live in a digital world,” Marshall said. “If we strip that away and put them in a different learning world, those two worlds are going to be at counterpoints.”
All the activities that come with the table are aimed at four- to 11-year-old students and are designed to work best with small groups. The idea is that the table could be one of several “centers” set up in an elementary school classroom. This common teaching practice requires students to cycle around the room in small groups completing different activities at each “center.”
At a recent demonstration, the activity for the table requires students to measure angles. When that task is selected, a dozen brightly colored shapes pop up on the screen. Kids can make the shapes bigger Continue reading