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Promethean interactive whiteboards bring the immediacy of touch to your teaching. Learn the tools and best practices for using one in your classroom, in this course from author and educator Aaron Quigley. Aaron shows how to set up your Promethean board; download ActivInspire, the software that drives Promethean boards; and get started creating new presentations that include video, quizzes, and annotations. He'll also focus on teaching methods that get your students actively involved with the Promethean board, and offer challenges along the way to test their skills.
Now that we have ActivInspire installed on our computer, let's go ahead and become familiar with the layout of the ActivInspire software. Starting at the top of the screen, we have the ActivInspire File menu. If you're on a PC version, this File menu might look slightly different. As I move along the File menu to the far right-hand side, for Mac users, you'll eventually come to the ActivManager. The ActivManager is actually created and driven by the drivers that allow you to connect your computer to your ActivInspire board. When you click on the ActivManager, here you have the opportunity to access the boards Control Panel, as well as Calibrate your board.
If you're a PC user, often the ActivManager is located in the tray at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, inside of the Start menu. This might be different for newer versions of Microsoft Windows. As I move down from the menu, the next thing I come to is the actual ActivInspire window. Here, on the left-hand side, I can see any flipcharts that I have open. Currently, I have one flipchart open, which is called, Entitled. Directly after the word Entitled, I have a star. That just means that this particular flipchart has not been saved yet. If I have multiple flipcharts open, I will see a different tab for each flipchart.
This is a really nice feature. At the beginning of the academic day, you can simply open up all the flipcharts you'll use throughout the day. And as students come and go, you can simply click between the various flipcharts. Directly below that we have the Page Browser. Now the Page Browser allows us to view the various pages that are associated with the selected flipchart. The way the hierarchy works is each flipchart has a variety of pages. This is similar to Microsoft PowerPoint, that each PowerPoint presentation can have a variety of slides. As we move through this presentation, we'll talk about best practices for when we should create a new flipchart or when we should simply add pages to a particular item.
At the top of the Page Browser, we also have some additional features such as a Resource Browser, the Object Browser. A Notes Browser, Property Browser, Action Browser, and even a Voting Browser. We'll talk about these various elements at different points throughout this course. In the main part of the window, we have the actual ActivInspire page. Here, anything that I add on top of this white section will actually be displayed on my Promethean Board. If you're actually designing on your Promethean Board, then this white area is the space that's being projected on your board. Anything outside of the white area in the blue on the left or the right will not be projected onto your Promethean Board.
This becomes important and this space will look different based on what options you have open. For example, if I choose to close the Page Browser by hitting the X in the upper right-hand corner, you'll see that the page area has been centered on the screen. And I have larger sections of blue on both the left and the right. As you move forward, it's really important to make sure all of your text and all of your images fit well on the white section of this. To get our Page Browser back, I'm going to go to View and then select Browsers. On the right-hand side of the screen, I have our Toolbox. The Toolbox allows us quick access to the things we can add to a page.
For example, I can select pens and shapes. Here, I can add text. I can even change the colors of the pens, move between pages, and even turn ActivInspire off so that I can annotate on my desktop. Directly below the Toolbox, we have the Trashcan. Anything that you add to an ActivInspire page, you can click on it and drag it to the Trashcan to quickly remove it. As you look at the ActivInspire layout, you notice that this small drop-down icon is used in a variety of places. Here, it's at the top of the Toolbox. It's also at the top of the flipchart navigation area. It's over here on the Page Browser and it's also on the page.
Anytime you see this icon, it means that there's options that go with that particular object. So, for example, if I click it on the page, I can see here I have the opportunity to change some options for the page. I can even insert new pages using this options icon. For the browser and the tool bar, however, this icon allows you to position them in various ways around the screen. If I click on the option for the Page Browser, I can either have it on the left, the right, or floating. Floating means that I have the opportunity to drag it to any particular location on my screen. If you're floating one of these boxes, and you drag them all the way to the left or the right, they'll automatically snap back to that position.
I can see that by clicking on the icon again, I can see that Dock left has already been selected. For the Toolbox, we have a couple of additional options. Here I can also choose to have it at the top or the bottom of the screen. A lot of people choose to have their Toolbox at the top of the screen because they're familiar to having options at the top of the screen, such as in Microsoft Word. The downside to this is it actually slightly reduces the amount of white space that we have to work in. Even though the information's the same and the ratio's the same, it's a smaller area in which to design in. Because of that, I'm going to go ahead and leave my Dock on the right-hand side of the page.
We will continue to explore both the Dock, as well as the Page Browser, as we use them to create dynamic presentations inside of the ActivInspire software.
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