Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ISTE 2010: You Have Seen the Future

"You have seen the future!"

That's what came out of the presenter's mouth. He was presenting what he called the "most important" advance in education we've seen in a decade. The result of endless hours of research and development. An advance that would finally allow us to truly assess our students in a way that matters.

The advance?

The Promethean ActivExpression. Which for a cost of only $2,000 for a set of 32 of the 1990's cell-phone shaped device, will change education forever.

Because it does this thing that's absolutely incredible: it allows kids to text responses and through the exclusive Promethean software, it allows everybody to see those responses projected in real-time!

And for only $2,000+ change per classroom! Amazing! Earth shattering! I've seen the future of classroom communication!

Except that this kind of communication premiered in 2007. And it's free.

It's called Twitter.

And not only is there nothing that the Promethean ActivExpression shoe-phone can do that your kids can't do in class sending an SMS to Twitter and following the conversation with Hootsuite, it's also a closed system that only works on Promethean software (well, actually, you can run the thing without the software and use it as a glorified yes/no clicker).

For any admin even remotely considering purchasing the ActivExpression system to "engage students with formative learning", I strongly suggest you first spend the summer learning how Twitter works in the classroom. Here's a great resource for you to check out.

As for Promethean showing you the future, tell 'em you've already seen it... and it's not what they're selling.


  1. And, tell Promethean that Johnny Chung Lee has already hacked the Wii (and provided Open Source software) for making your own interactive white board for less than $200. http://johnnylee.net/projects/wii/

  2. This a nice article about the topic.

  3. While twitter is free and can do as much if not more than the ActiveExpressions system the worry about security of the web and cell phones in the classroom make Twitters use impossible in my district. Until that attitude changes our district will spend thousands of dollars for a system they can have for free.

  4. @eduhowto--I hate to admit it but Im in the same boat you are in. Until my teaching context embraces cell phones and mobile devices, I will have to go with the ridiculously extensive Promethean equipment--sad but true. But this is a GREAT point!!

  5. we have work to do... doing less and paying for it..


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