Promethean used its visit to the BETT Middle East educational technology show to launch its upgraded learner response package, ActivExpression2.
The new handsets have an advanced look and feel and feature full text entry through a new qwerty keyboard to allow children more expression in collaborative classwork. Promethean has already sold 5 million of its previous units worldwide and they have been particularly popular in the USA.
Children use the sets to contribute to questions or tests set by the teachers. These can give teachers instant insights into where young people are with their learning so they can tailor their teaching accordingly.
The new keyboards also allow children to make more extensive contributions to classroom discussions and debates that are supported by shared screen work. Many teachers have felt this has encouraged contributions from children who are reluctant to make them verbally, and this has been helped by creative software development from the likes of 2Simple, providing learners with their own, popular, on-screen avatars.
Until relatively recently, the technology in the learner units had restricted responses to not much more than clicks to multiple-choice questions, but texting has gradually made its entry, working up to the new qwerty keyboard.
Learner response systems useful for formative assessment
As the importance of formative assessment has become widely accepted, instant responses to meaningful questions and stimuli have become increasingly attractive, and developments in technology have brought a range of solutions. At the Essa Academy in Bolton, for example, students discovered an app – since adopted by teachers – that allows learner response work on plasma screens by children and teachers using iPod Touches and iPads.
Promethean points out that, from a pedagogical perspective, ActivExpression2 supports self-paced learning, where students progress at their own pace, receiving questions on their device one at a time.
Iwan Streichenberger, the Promethean executive in charge of learner response and assessment, commented: “We have worked very hard with our customers and partners all over the world to create the next generation LRS. We have added the features that take the system to the next level of interactive learning.
“Making ActivExpression2 the most appropriate LRS device for the learning environment has been a truly collaborative journey. With its many unique features ActivExpression2 is in a class all of its own. Couple that with the range of learner response systems we now offer – which are platform and technology independent – Promethean has reset the bar for this form factor”.
Pricing remains the same as for the previous ActivExpression. Details on Promethean website
See also new learner response app, ActivEngage Mobile – “Promethean app enables 'bring your own handheld'” and the BBC's "UK tech show moves to Abu Dhabi"