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Have A Promethean Board Tethered To Your Teacher's Desktop Computer?

Last summer, we installed Promethean Interactive LCD Panels in all our middle school classrooms.  This purchase and subsequent installation was all approved and arranged by my predecessor and frankly I wasn't all that sure about the screens.  I had much more experience with traditional projectors and, more recently, interactive short-throw projectors and I was quite please with their performance in the classroom.  Regardless, these boards were coming and were going into the classrooms.

Well, it wasn't too far into the school year when I did a full 180 degrees on my opinion of the boards. The teachers really took to them and embraced both the hardware and software aspects of these devices.  There are many advantages to them but one of the biggests advantageously different aspects is the fact that they are clear and highly visible from the back of the classroom and with the room lights on...and even when the bright sunlight makes its way into the room as well.  10 touchpoints and virtually no need to regularly recalibrate the device are among the other advantages of the screens over traditional projectors.

A challenge associated with the installation of these screens surfaced shortly after the school year was underway.  You see, all of the returning middle school faculty had an opportunity during the last school year to discuss classroom layout and screen placement with my predecessor.  However, our faculty who are new this year, obviously, did not have that same opportunity.  So, about a month into the school year, one of our new faculty wanted to rearrange her room to better accommodate her teaching style, and she called me about the Promethean Board.  Not to move the board but she wanted to move her desk.  Now you might ask, what does desk placement have to do with the interactive screen, right?  The Promethean Boards require a computer to be attached by HDMI and USB, the "brains" behind the board and how it is transformed into basically a giant wall mounted tablet.  To accomplish this connectivity, the screen installers had run wires both through the walls and/or in conduit to each teacher's desk to connect to the computer...which means she couldn't move her desk without rewiring the screen connections.  A problem.

I studied the situation for a moment and said, why don't we just mount a small form factor computer to the back of the Promethean Board?  Upon further investigation, it turns our Promethean actually sells an Android-based device for just such a purpose.  The problem with the Promethean computing device is that it does not run Promethean's own ActivInspire software, something the teachers had come to rely on fairly extensively.  Enter the HP 400G2PD ProDesk 400 G2 Desktop Mini PC.  This small form factor computer has roughly the same tech specs as the teacher's all-in-one Dell device the screens were originally tethered to.

  • HP ProDesk 400 G2 400G2PD DM i56500T 128 GB 8.0G 50 PC Intel Core i5-6500T 2.5G 6M, 128GB HDD SATA Solid State, 8GB DDR4-2133 (sng ch), W10P6 DG76 64-bit, 3-3-3-Wty U.S. - English localization
  • Design that delivers high availability, scalability, and for maximum flexibility and price/performance

We purchased one of these devices to run as a trial and it has performed very well.  We recently paired it with a Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 Plus with Built-In Touchpad so the teacher does not have to rely on the on-screen keyboard to navigate and viola, a solution that allows the teacher to again have the freedom to set up his/her classroom as they choose.

We will be equipping our lower school and early childhood classrooms with the Promethean Boards this summer and will fit them all with both the HP 400G2PD ProDesk 400 G2 Desktop Mini PC and the Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 Plus with Built-In Touchpad.  Additionally, we will go back and retro fit all of last summer's screens with the same two devices.

I highly recommend the addition of these two devices to any interactive classroom screens.



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