We buy these in packs of 10 for about £130 from Promethean or from our local approved suppliers.
As to the boards themselves, we have 25 and have had only one fault in the 2yrs I've been here. (Unfortunately, that was not resolved by Promethean support. )
My main issue is cost of software. When we bought our last board, the board was only 10-20% more than the competitive offers. But upgrade ActivBoard SW licences were more per machine than a site licence for the competitors SW!
Although I'm as grudging as anyone about continually coffing up for new pens, in the TCO they're not really that significant. Say-
£2500 for an IWB, projector & installation;
£200 for new bulbs after 2.5yrs;
£300 for SW upgrade after 3 yrs;
£400 for new projector after 5yrs;
£30 a year for a new pen. (Max)
Then over 10 yrs you'd spend about £4200, of which max £270 (6.5%) is pens. (With luck and bulk buying, less than 2%)
And that's ignoring the cost of technician's time: hard to estimate (I'd guess maybe 2hrs/yr), but I think this primary school decided to get a technician just after it got a load of IWBs. (A board bum rather than a toner drone?)
All in all it was a bad experience for us before we even got the thing up and working properly due to the supplier (not Dell), Redbacks' poor packaging and the careless couriers. I can see the benefit an ACTIVboard +2 would be in a primary school with its hydraulic lift but ours is in the middle school (Yr 6) where it never gets moved! You also get the added benefit of not having to get projectors, cabling, speakers and power installed by contractors but I still think I'd rather pay less for an ACTIVboard and have it mounted at a set height. All of our ACTIVboards are installed in classes from Yr 2 to Yr12 at different heights ranging from 750mm to 900mm from the floor to bottom of board and can easily be remounted at a different height if necessary.
I have only used one Smart board back in 2003 when I lived in the UK which I liked very much but I was unable to find a supplier in Australia when our school was interested in first buying some IWBs in 2005. My ICT Development Officer then persuaded the school to buy Prometheans based on his previous experience of them and their excellent support from online teacher resources.
Out of a bad bunch I prefer the Smartboards, though I do think both solutions are very expensive.
We have Lecturers who find writing music notation very difficult and would prefer reverting back to pens and whitebord.
We are moving to Smartboard from Promethean (because we've had all the worst experiences with Promethean as outlined earlier in this thread).
We encourage our teaching staff to use board-independent software (such as Powerpoint, etc) but there is naturally a lot of material they've created using the board-dependent software (i.e. by using Activstudio on the Prometheans, etc). Staff are, therefore, looking for reassurances that materials they have created using the proprietary board software are transferable to the other type of board.
Question 1 is, are the resources created on Smartboards with Smart software able to be "run" on a Promethean board? (We have already successfully tested the opposite - that our Promethean Flipcharts run ok on a Smartboard - and they all did).
Question 2 is, are Promethean-created Flipcharts "editable" on a Smartboard, and vice versa?
Anyone got experience of these two issues?
2: I do some private work for a teacher who has swapped between schools using both. Both are supposed to be able to import each other's files, but I seem to remember that I ended up redesigning a load because the imports never seemed to work properly going from Smart to Activ (didn't try the other way - if you don't have both I could do so). This may be different on newer versions of the software.
Smartboard... 3 + yrs on site...
Hi, A kids just put a pen\knife whatever into the smartboard
My call to support:
Hi, I've got a smartboard that's broken. I've tried a new cable etc and it appears to be the actual board. The serial no is (whatever).
Sorry to hear that, someone will be with you tomorrow\later that day. (with a new smart board no less :D)
i'm not sure about the 3yrs onsite,
we bought a load of smartboards in 2006, and now we have had problems, whenever you contact steljes all i get is 'we have sent serial number to smart, and are awaiting to hear if it is under warranty', i think after 2 years it is pretty much down to smart if they want to fix them or not, and i've heard that they have lost the database of registered boards anyway.
to be honest smart have been worse than second rate at rectifying faulty smartboards in my opinion.
if i could get the parts i'd fix controller faults myself.
We got them installed from authorised installer.
We reg'd all the serials once they was installed, not when they broke. Which gives you 3 yrs not just 1 rtb. I've never had any problems with steljes.
We have just had a load of promethean boards installed and have had no end of problems from day one. The installation was less than perfect(took about 6 weeks in total to get all the boards physically working) power supplies died daily in the beginning.
Now, 7 weeks on the drivers disappear daily. We are inundated with support calls about disconnected promethean boards where the PC has just "lost" the driver". A restart always solves it and the board springs to life but the amount of times this happens is ridiculous.
Promethean gave us a new driver(4.1.14, we were using 4.1.13) but this does not seem to have sorted the problems, we are still having drop outs. I know that there have been issues with other drivers but nothing confirmed about these drivers. We are using Vistax32 on our network.
Has anyone else had these problems?
To answer the question, i guess i would have to say that smartboards are more appealing to me at the moment.
Wow Jonnellan - your problem sounds exactly like mine. I have to say that I am a smart guy myself and have never been a fan of promethean. Eight years in this game and have only ever had problems with Promethean active boards (smart people rule! :D ).
On a more positive note......... I am always up for the challenges created by non-technical staff making technical decisions based on how things look. A good example would be....... ermmmm...... management insisting on the attractive promethean boards rather than the ugly smart boards. Anyone remember the story about the ugly duckling ???
can i vote for a wi remote and a wall (preferably white or off-white)
We have about 30 Promethean boards in my school of varying ages, and get very few problems with them. Had a few PSU units go, but I've experienced that with other makes of whiteboard as well so it's not a unique problem to Promethean.
The pens do go missing, but as you get two pens with every board we simply keep the 2nd as a spare, and havn't had to order any from promethean yet. Most problems with the board not connecting can be traced to using a USB lead that is too long, they hate being any longer than about 8 feet. Use an active USB extension lead if you need a longer cable and you don't get any problems.
I have worked with Smart boards as well and they are good, but overall I prefer Promethean.
Steljes in general, are apparentley horrific. The suppliers we use hate dealing with them too.
We've found a comfortable middle way with Hitachi Cambridge Boards and we're over the moon with them. Particulary, our staff dont like the touch screen idea. The replacement pens cost a fortune, but we've managed not to loose too many sets to date.
As far as 'boom arm' mounting goes, you can get this type of thing Sahara Presentation Systems > Sahara Boom Arm which'll work with any board afaik. Smart do these too: SMART - 600i for educators