Being selected as one of five teacher presenters for Promethean, Inc. at the 2018 ISTE conference was a huge honor for me.  ISTE, The International Society for Technology in Education, is the premier showcase conference that highlights the use and integration of technology in all aspects of education.  ‘ISTE is the place to be’ for everything and anything technology connected to a classroom, and this year’s installment was nothing short of magnificent.

ISTE18 was a huge success on many levels and an amazing experience that I will remember for a long time to come!  Meeting the other talented and professional teachers that presented for Promethean from around the country was an added bonus. The five of us (teachers from New York City, Miami, Colorado, Louisiana, and Indiana), hit it off right from the get-go and we never looked back. It was as if we had known each other for many years and we just ran with it.  Add us to the already assembled Promethean team, and you had yourself quite a group of talented individuals!

Teacher Adam Hyman at ISTE 2018
Chicago 2018 was not my first ISTE conference, however, it was one of the most engaging and most rewarding. Working side-by-side with the Promethean team as well as my colleague-counterparts was an experience to remember! Each of us was able to demonstrate different aspects of the ActivPanel along with the use of ClassFlow and ActivInspire for different engagement purposes. Traditional lesson delivery, classroom management, app use and integration, and more were showcased – just to name a few.  Teachers who visited us for live demonstrations or to just ask a question were able to see how easy the ActivPanel was to use and how simple it was to integrate the panel into their everyday teaching. I can’t even tell you how many times a teacher said, “Wow! You can do that?!“.
You sure can.

So, what were the big takeaways at this year’s ISTE Conference?

Interaction…engagement…and differentiated, student-driven work were reoccurring themes…all perfect for use with a Promethean ActivPanel!  In order to accomplish this in your classroom, let’s look at some tips and tricks in using your ActivPanel to have the student engagement factor skyrocket!

  1. First, try using ActivInspire and Classflow in tandem to create interactive questioning that will spark student discussions and engage students of all abilities with technology so that they can perform on a much higher level. Let’s be honest, students absolutely love using technology, so why not harness this idea and take advantage of the technology to deliver and teach our lessons?  Be creative and design your own lesson using ActivInspire, or find a pre-made lesson in the Promethean Marketplace!  Next, integrate ClassFlow by using the polling feature to create student engagement that will have them thinking and discussing ideas on a higher level.  Finally, return to ActivInspire to complete your lesson before sending students off on their own to complete a task that is connected to what students just learned.  The more you experiment and tinker with lesson design, the bigger your digital classroom library of lessons and interaction will become – and the better your lessons will be.
  2. Next, allow yourself to become a digital differentiated teacher.  Use your ActivPanel to bring up small groups of students who need that added support.  While other students are working independently, again, take advantage of the magic of the panel and what you can use it for when it comes to your differentiated instruction.  Grab the attention of students who can benefit from the tangible touching and manipulation of words, shapes, numbers, pictures, and more on your ActivPanel to reach a bigger target group.  You have your students’ attention, now run with it.  Let those students manipulate items on the board to immerse themselves in your teaching.  Allowing them to do so will help them understand the content and apply that understanding in a novel way.
  3. Finally, use your ActivPanel and ClassFlow polling once again for interactive exit tickets.  Use the option to hide (or show) student names while showing the responses for added student discussion or just freeze your panel on an exit ticket question that’s on your screen and gather your data privately on the teacher screen of your laptop.  Either way, you’ve engaged your students, promoted higher-level thinking and discussion, and burrowed deeper into a lesson to reach more of your students.  It’s a win-win.

The bottom line is that there are so many ways to use your ActivPanel and the aforementioned ideas and suggestions just scratch the surface as to what’s possible.  Students need to be challenged and in a 21st-century classroom, why not challenge them on multiple levels of engagement and interaction? Take your lessons to a whole new level and impress your students…impress your colleagues…and most of all, impress yourself.

Author: Adam Hyman teaches Media Arts Technology at Public School 101 in Forest Hills, New York City. His students create digital art on computers, design websites, create animated stories, and learn to code. He has been teaching for 19 years and is the author of the teaching resource book Managing the Digital Classroom.