interactive whiteboard content guidelines

interactive whiteboard content guidelines
PROMETHEAN INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARD CONTENT GUIDELINES
Best Practice for Publishers and Producers
Promethean Interactive Whiteboard Content Guidelines: Best Practice for Publishers and Producers by
Promethean, Ltd.
© Copyright 2010 Promethean Ltd. All rights reserved.
This Guide may only be reproduced for use within Promethean ActivClassrooms and other institutions to
which ActivInspire is licensed. For any other use, no part of this manual may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system, or translated into any other language without the prior permission of Promethean Ltd.
It may not be distributed or sold for commercial purposes.
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Other brands and trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
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Contents
INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................................... 7
What is Interactive Whiteboard Content? ............................................................................................ 8
Promethean ACADEMIES Model for Interactive Whiteboard Content .................................................. 9
Top 10 Questions about Designing and Creating ActivInspire Flipcharts ............................................. 11
BEST PRACTICE AND PRINCIPLES OF INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARD CONTENT DESIGN .............................. 13
ACCESSIBILITY .................................................................................................................................... 15
Layout ........................................................................................................................................... 16
Text ............................................................................................................................................... 18
Color.............................................................................................................................................. 21
Designing for Usability ................................................................................................................... 25
COLLABORATION ............................................................................................................................... 29
Group Interaction .......................................................................................................................... 29
Student-Centered Learning ............................................................................................................ 30
Problem-Solving............................................................................................................................. 31
Fun and Games .............................................................................................................................. 31
Discussion and Discourse ............................................................................................................... 31
Real-World Problems ..................................................................................................................... 31
Innovative Assessment Solutions ................................................................................................... 32
Competition................................................................................................................................... 33
Examples of Collaborative Interactive Whiteboard Activities.......................................................... 33
ADAPTABILITY.................................................................................................................................... 35
Customization & Personalization ................................................................................................... 35
Flexibility ....................................................................................................................................... 37
DIFFERENTIATION .............................................................................................................................. 39
The ACADEMIES Model .................................................................................................................. 39
Learning Preferences ..................................................................................................................... 39
The Teacher’s Role in Whole-Group Interactive Teaching............................................................... 41
Page Notes .................................................................................................................................... 42
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ENHANCING TEACHING AND LEARNING............................................................................................. 45
Adding Value ................................................................................................................................. 45
MEANINGFUL INSTRUCTION .............................................................................................................. 49
Authentic Learning ........................................................................................................................ 49
Blended Learning ........................................................................................................................... 50
Bloom’s Taxonomy ........................................................................................................................ 51
Formative Assessment ................................................................................................................... 51
INTERACTIVITY................................................................................................................................... 53
Deep Interaction ............................................................................................................................ 53
Surface Interaction ........................................................................................................................ 53
Adding Interactivity ....................................................................................................................... 54
ENGAGEMENT ................................................................................................................................... 55
Stimulating Engagement ................................................................................................................ 55
Personalized Feedback................................................................................................................... 56
STRUCTURE ....................................................................................................................................... 57
Storyboarding ................................................................................................................................ 57
DEVELOPING WITH ACTIVINSPIRE FOR THE ACTIVCLASSROOM.............................................................. 61
ACTIONS ............................................................................................................................................ 63
CUSTOMIZING THE DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT ........................................................................... 65
DESIGNING WITH TEMPLATES ........................................................................................................... 67
Example Project ............................................................................................................................. 67
ActivInspire Page Browser.............................................................................................................. 68
FILE-NAMING..................................................................................................................................... 69
Numbering .................................................................................................................................... 69
Special Characters.......................................................................................................................... 70
INTERACTIVITY FEATURES IN ACTIVINSPIRE ....................................................................................... 71
Action On/Off toggles .................................................................................................................... 71
Blockers ......................................................................................................................................... 72
Labels ............................................................................................................................................ 73
Containers ..................................................................................................................................... 74
Drag a Copy ................................................................................................................................... 79
Layers and Stacking........................................................................................................................ 80
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Magic Ink ....................................................................................................................................... 83
Page Turn Effects ........................................................................................................................... 85
Restrictors ..................................................................................................................................... 86
Two-Tone Text ............................................................................................................................... 87
LEARNER RESPONSE SYSTEMS ........................................................................................................... 89
Prepared Questions - Using the Question Wizard ........................................................................... 90
MEDIA EMBEDDING........................................................................................................................... 93
Preparing Audio ............................................................................................................................. 93
Preparing Video ............................................................................................................................. 93
Preparing Flash (SWF) .................................................................................................................... 93
Standardizing File-Formats for Different Operating Systems .......................................................... 94
Adding Images ............................................................................................................................... 95
Adding Video and Flash.................................................................................................................. 95
Embedding Flash with Linked Files ................................................................................................. 95
Media File Settings ........................................................................................................................ 96
Adding Sound ................................................................................................................................ 96
Launching Sound with Actions ....................................................................................................... 96
Reward Sounds .............................................................................................................................. 97
Embedding Files............................................................................................................................. 97
NAVIGATION ..................................................................................................................................... 99
Menu Page .................................................................................................................................... 99
Standard Page Navigation .............................................................................................................. 99
Navigational Elements ................................................................................................................... 99
Standalone Pages......................................................................................................................... 100
PRE-FLIGHT...................................................................................................................................... 101
Copyright ..................................................................................................................................... 101
File Size........................................................................................................................................ 101
Resource Packs ............................................................................................................................ 101
Publishing .................................................................................................................................... 102
Testing ......................................................................................................................................... 103
RESOURCE LIBRARY ......................................................................................................................... 105
ActivInspire and Promethean Planet Resources ........................................................................... 105
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Resource Browser as a Development Tool ................................................................................... 105
Settings........................................................................................................................................ 107
Upgrading .................................................................................................................................... 107
THE ACTIVCLASSROOM, PROMETHEAN PLANET, PDN, TRAINING AND SUPPORT ................................. 109
THE ACTIVCLASSROOM .................................................................................................................... 111
ActivBoard ................................................................................................................................... 111
Learner Response Systems (LRS) .................................................................................................. 112
Interactive Tools .......................................................................................................................... 113
PROMETHEAN PLANET .................................................................................................................... 115
Community .................................................................................................................................. 115
Content Store .............................................................................................................................. 115
Training ....................................................................................................................................... 116
Support ....................................................................................................................................... 116
Publisher Developer Network (PDN) ............................................................................................ 117
REFERENCE.......................................................................................................................................... 119
ActivInspire Actions Reference ........................................................................................................ 121
ActivInspire Keyboard Shortcuts Reference ..................................................................................... 133
ActivInspire Personal and Professional Edition Compatibility Reference........................................... 135
ActivInspire Properties Reference .................................................................................................... 137
Migrating From ActivStudio/ActivPrimary Version 3 ........................................................................ 153
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INTRODUCTION
Interactive classroom technologies offer exciting potential for real interactivity, collaboration, and
student achievement in the 21st century classroom. In fact, a recent study by the leading educational
researcher, Dr. Robert Marzano, found that student achievement increases by 16 percentile points
when teachers embed the Promethean ActivClassroom solution into their teaching practice.
However, while this research shows the positive effects the technology can have on teaching and
learning, the long-term success of the technology will depend on adequate guidance, exemplary
instructional practice, and the effective integration of interactive technologies into existing pedagogies.
As such, content will play a significant role in the evolution of interactive learning.
It’s important to note that when we refer to interactive whiteboard technologies, we are not referring
to the interactive whiteboard alone. The integrated classroom solution includes a range of interactive
tools such as Learner Response Systems (LRS), which are designed to engage learners and educators on
a deeper level than ever before.
To exploit the full potential of the solution, we need to think beyond using it to do the same things that
we could always do. New tools mean new pedagogies; we must find creative new ways to unlock the
potential of the technology and strive to achieve things that were never possible in classrooms until
now.
And although ‘interactivity’ is the buzzword of the moment, it simply isn’t correct to view interactivity is
a fundamental and implicit feature of the technology. True and meaningful interaction can only arise as
a by-product of good teaching; indeed, research has shown that interactive whiteboards are seen to
raise standards only when coupled with an effective teaching strategy.
Without effective instruction and guidance for educators, the potential of the technology will remain
limited regardless of how sophisticated the tools might be. Educators must be armed with the right tools
and strategies.
If we are to continue seeing such significant learning gains, content producers have a pivotal role to
play. Successful adoption of interactive classroom technologies is dependent on educators being able to
find content which has been specifically designed for the environment in which they’re operating, and
which meets the needs of their own students.
We’ve produced this guide to help you focus on some of the strategies which enable the use of the
technology to unlock learning. It is written based on our own experiences of producing content for the
Promethean ActivClassroom solution, and it covers much of what we and the publishers, vendors, and
educators we have worked with have learned on our own interactive whiteboard journeys.
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What is Interactive Whiteboard Content?
It’s often easier to describe bad content than good; or to identify what we shouldn’t do rather than
what we should. But what is clear, is that good interactive whiteboard content is inherently different to
other forms of digital content. The large display surface; the shift towards active learning for the wholegroup; and new opportunities for interaction and collaboration—these are just three of the things force
us to adopt a new approach.
To help you create effective and transforming interactive whiteboard content, we’ve produced the
Promethean ACADEMIES model for interactive whiteboard content design. The ACADEMIES model will
help you think about the factors and qualities which differentiate effective interactive whiteboard
content from other forms of content. Consulting the model may help you decide what strategies to
employ in order to achieve truly fit-for-purpose instruction.
The model we propose combines eight principles to provide a comprehensive and powerful model for all
interactive whiteboard content.





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


Accessibility
Collaboration
Adaptability
Differentiation
Enhancement
Meaningfulness
Interaction
Engagement
Structure
The model is outlined on the following page. Each of the principles will also be discussed in more detail
in subsequent sections of the Guide.
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Promethean ACADEMIES Model for Interactive Whiteboard Content
A
Interactive whiteboard content should be inclusive and accessible for all users at all times. Every element of its design and structure should
promote full and effective engagement. The aesthetic design and layout of the content will impose no barriers to learning and engagement.
C
Interactive whiteboard content should be collaborative and it should promote the co-construction of knowledge between learners. Content
should facilitate individual, small-group and whole-group interaction, and it should nurture a community of participation, discourse and
active learning. It should be student-centered, and support the teacher in the role of facilitator.
A
Interactive whiteboard content should be adaptable. It should support differentiation, flexibility and full user-customization. Teachers
should be able to edit and repurpose content to meet their student’s changing needs.
D
Interactive whiteboard content should be clearly differentiated from other learning materials. It will be pitched for whole-group interactive
learning. It will support a multi-modal approach and it will provide variation in learning styles and instructional strategies. The materials will
be wholly-accessible when used in context on an interactive whiteboard. The content will be flexible, collaborative, extendable, and truly
interactive.
E
Interactive whiteboard content should be enhancing. It should add value to traditional classroom practice by capitalizing on the inherent
benefits of the technologies. It will complement existing classroom methodologies and promote a blended approach, but it will also aim to
exploit the new and unique opportunities for learning which the technology provides. Content will be responsive and support formative
learning processes’, including immediate feedback and personalization. It will employ visuals, audio, and physical interaction to engage
students, and to provide a rounded sensory dimension to the learning experience. It will strive to give students ownership of their learning.
M
Interactive whiteboard content should be relevant and meaningful. It should avoid superfluous and low-order interaction—that which does
not contribute to the attainment of learning goals. It should promote experimentation, authentic learning, problem-solving, discourse and
reflection on learning. Learners will be able to make connections with their own world; they will be able to recall and build on existing
knowledge. All aspects of the content will have purpose, including assessment, which will be formative in nature.
I
Interactive whiteboard content should be interactive in both the physical and cognitive sense. What happens away from the whiteboard is
equally as important as what happens at the whiteboard board itself. The modes of interaction should be varied, purposeful and promote
critical thinking—the content will provide learners with choices. The content will support the use of peripheral interactivities technologies,
such as Learner Response Systems, and it will offer seamless integration with the whiteboard software platform: ActivInspire. Software tools
and features will be used to empower teachers and learners and to help them exploit the full benefits of the combined
hardware/software/content solution. Interactivity will be enabled by effective pedagogies, not the technology alone.
E
Interactive whiteboard content should be engaging. It should capture the imagination of learners and teachers alike. Content will motivate
learners by including a variety of interactions, media types, and methods of presentation. It will provide opportunities for learners to
collaboratively build knowledge, and each have a voice. Learners will become active participants in every lesson. There will be scope for
them to demonstrate their knowledge and to celebrate their achievements. The content will further engage learners by supporting
personalized feedback and an instant response by teachers to their needs.
S
Interactive whiteboard should be structured. It will help learners construct knowledge by presenting logical and progressive episodes of
learning. It will provide opportunities for learners to interact, collaborate and feedback in equal measures at different stages of the lesson.
The content will be complemented by an effective system of navigation enabling teachers and learners to revisit different points in the
materials on demand. It will be structured for maximum flexibility and re-usability. It will target teachers wanting a no-fuss out of the box
solution, while supporting flexibility of delivery and personalization for teachers wishing to tailor learning to their learners needs.
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Top 10 Questions about Designing and Creating ActivInspire Flipcharts
What is the ideal or most standard screen size for an IWB activity?
See page 111 of the Guide.
The most common ActivBoard and that in the largest number of classrooms is the 78 inch ActivBoard;
however, most sales are now for the 87 and 95 inch wide format ActivBoards. This may inform the
decision of whether you want to develop at 4:3 resolution optimized for the 78 inch format, or at 16:9
for the 87 inch format, which is the largest selling of the two wide format interactive whiteboards.
Promethean still develops for the 78 inch ActivBoard at a resolution of 1024 x 768.
What is the optimal/maximum file size for a Flipchart or Resource Pack?
See page 101 of the Guide.
In general, ActivInspire software should be able to handle large file sizes. However, in order to make
downloading Flipcharts from Promethean Planet easier, we recommend that you do not exceed 100Mb
per downloadable file, whether that is a Flipchart or a Resource Pack.
Is there a specific font size that works best for IWB activities?
See pages 18-19 of the Guide.
While there is no hard and fast rule, it is important to remember that text that looks large on a desktop
screen will appear much smaller on the interactive whiteboard. As a general rule, we recommend you
use font sizes between 20 and 36 points for body text.
Is there a standardized format that should be used for placement of logos, menu options, tools etc.?
See page 99 of the Guide.
All navigation buttons and tools should be placed well within in a user’s reach at the bottom of the page.
Ideally all navigation devices will be placed in close proximity to each other, preventing the need for
users to cross the interactive whiteboard or stretch to access a particular function.
How do you make and package resource packs?
See page 101 of the Guide.
A Resource Pack is a self extracting file, proprietary to ActivInspire, which enables users to install your
content to a predefined Resource Library location of your choice, with a single click.
This is useful if you intend to develop multiple products; you can simply create a top-level folder taking
your company or product name, and then install each subsequent product into this folder. Using the
Resource Library you can easily create a tree structure which supports multiple products. Any folder of
resources can become a Resource Pack.
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What type of files can be embedded in ActivInspire?
See page 93 of the Guide. For Flash files, please read the section on Preparing Flash in the guide.
Audio: .wav
Video: .flv
Animation: swf
Images: .jpg, .bmap, .tiff, .gif, .png
Other file formats are not supported.
How do I get images from my image editing program into Inspire?
See page 95 of the Guide.
We recommend converting all of your images to 24-bit PNGs; we have found this format provides the
best quality and it supports transparency. To prevent users copying your images to another application,
drag them into the ActivInspire Resource Library and then back out of the Resource Library onto the
Flipchart Page. This will convert assets to Promethean’s proprietary as4 format, which cannot be utilized outside of ActivInspire.
How should we name files?
See page 69 of the Guide.
In the Resource Library, files are listed alphanumerically. Files beginning with numbers will appear in the
list before files beginning with letters. Files beginning with a low number will be listed before files
beginning with a higher number. This means that if you have a collection of ten files, and you intend to
use numbering to indicate order, you should ensure file names take the form ‘nn’ followed by a meaningful descriptor.
What should be included in the Page Notes Browser?
See page 42 of the Guide.
The core function for documenting instruction in ActivInspire is Page Notes. Notes can be added to
every page to explain the intended interactions and activity outcomes, and the teacher can even append
your instruction with their own notes. Page Notes can be displayed on a secondary monitor so the
teacher has guidance or access to answers which students can’t see. Alternatively, Page Notes can be
printed by the teacher ahead of the lesson. Make sure you document every aspect of the basic userexperience. Instruction should remain at the heart of the learning experience.
How do I get more help?
See page 116 of the Guide for support and training opportunities.
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BEST PRACTICE AND PRINCIPLES OF INTERACTIVE
WHITEBOARD CONTENT DESIGN
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ACCESSIBILITY
Interactive whiteboard technologies present new challenges for content professionals. There is a widerange of what we might term ‘accessibility issues’ which content producers need to consider in relation
to interactive whiteboard displays and content design: these issues may relate to how your content
visually appears to users, or they may relate to how your layout and design choices affect full physical
interaction with the content.
When we talk about designing for accessibility, we aren’t suggesting you follow W3C/WCAG 2.0 web
accessibility guidelines; although much of that thinking certainly applies to most digital educational
content. Our basic challenge is to make all of our content fully-accessible for our full range of users, and
to cater for a diverse range of abilities. We must know how to avoid reducing the scope of our content
by making poor design decisions, or by demonstrating a limited understanding of how IWB technologies
are accessed in the classroom.
The primary factors which can present accessibility barriers in the classroom are as follows:




The size of the IWB
The position or height of the IWB
Environmental factors i.e., classroom lighting
Age of the equipment i.e., old projector designs
The single most important thing you can do to design around these obstacles is to ensure you have
access to an interactive whiteboard throughout the product design and testing process—this starts at
the storyboarding stage.
Where possible, you should also witness the technology in action and in context. This means getting out
into classrooms to see for first-hand how these factors influence teaching and learning. Learning about
how teachers and learners interact with interactive whiteboard technology and content will give you a
valuable insight into the significance of well-designed and poorly-designed content.
With this insight, you will become aware of three particular areas which you need to address when
designing for maximum accessibility:



Layout
Text
Color
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Layout
How you choose to lay out your content and position the elements of your design will massively
influence how users are able to interact with your content.
Depending on the height and reach of the user, and the physical position of the whiteboard when
mounted, it’s highly likely that users will have restricted access to certain areas of the whiteboard. For
most users, moving from one side of the interactive whiteboard to the other, or reaching to the top of
the display is difficult without excessive stretching, movement, or crossing of the whiteboard.
If you are designing content for older learners, don’t assume that because they are older they are
naturally taller. The age of a user doesn’t guarantee a specific height or reach, or indeed full physical
ability. Many older users don’t have access to the full surface of the interactive whiteboard and as such,
you should think carefully before providing controls positioned for teacher-access only; accessibility
barriers may affect any user, including teachers.
To accommodate the widest selection of users, you should aim for a design where all of the interactive
elements, which can be defined as those which you intended any user to touch, move, manipulate,
annotate, or physically interact with in any other way, are placed in the lowest-possible position on the
screen.
 Prevent users having to reach into the top third of the page to interact with content.
 Position navigation elements across the bottom of the page rather than the top, even those
which are commonly found at the top of the screen in other digital applications.
 Position vertical pull-tabs off the bottom of the page rather than the top.
 Place buttons which control an element of content below that element rather than above it.
 Ensure restricted horizontal pull-tabs are reachable in their initial position; if a smaller user can’t reach a pull-tab, the restrictor property will prevent a taller user from dragging it to a more
accessible position.
Place text which you intend users to edit in a user-friendly position; this applies to text which might
be highlighted, annotated or deconstructed.
If you have too much text for the screen, consider different methods of presenting it. Options
include placing text in a scrolling box, revealing it in stages as different buttons are clicked, or even
dispersing it over multiple pages. Items which you don’t intend users to physically interact with should be positioned towards the top of the page:
 Place logos and brand elements at the top of the page rather than the bottom—use areas which
are out of reach to accommodate static items; avoid wasting space which users could make
better use of.
 Place text such as questions, at the top of the page. Learners often have better sight of the top
of the interactive whiteboard because other learners’ heads don’t interrupt their line of vision.
Don’t just think about height, think about reach:
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 Position all navigational elements and user controls within close proximity to each other. Using a
computer monitor, users can access objects at opposite sides of the screen with a slight
movement of the wrist. Using an interactive whiteboard, most users have a natural comfortable
reach of no more than couple of feet. If you place buttons at opposite sides of the page, users
will have to stretch and physically move much more than should be necessary in order to
operate the content on a basic level.
 Minimize the extent to which users must unnecessarily or repeatedly cross the interactive
whiteboard. Crossing the whiteboard doesn’t only make it a more taxing experience for the
current user; it also disrupts learners’ access to content. The user moving across the face of the
whiteboard casts a shadow on it each time they pass between the whiteboard and the
projector.
Think about how much space is required by users to perform certain tasks:
 When providing writing spaces for learners, offer enough ‘white space’ for users to write at a
size which is natural and comfortable. Consider the size at which teachers and learners write on
a blackboard surface when they aren’t restricted by a content interface. Writing spaces which
project at no more than a few inches high and wide are rarely fit-for-purpose. Maximize the size
of writing spaces as much as the page allows; don’t restrict the size of a writing space to
accommodate less functional aspects of the page design—function always beats form.
Think about common user expectations:
 In the western world, regardless of the medium, users are conditioned to read, process, and
visually scan from top left to bottom right. Consider the flow and order in which you expect
users to access information as you lay out your page.
 Clearly separate the different sections of content on a single page. Make it clear which groups or
chunks of information belong together and which don’t. Clearly identify what is core to the
learning and what isn’t.
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Text
The first thing you need to consider when choosing fonts for content is that ActivInspire doesn’t support
font embedding. This means that if you want your content to appear consistently across different
operating systems, you should work only with the fonts you can guarantee are present on all users’ machines; those which are shipped with each of the three main operating systems: Windows, Mac, and
Linux (Ubuntu).
Unless you can guarantee that all users will have your other preferred fonts installed, you should not use
them in your design. Any font not found at run-time will be replaced with another font. This is likely to
affect your layout and may result in text clipping, overlapping, and so on.
Fonts
The core set of fonts, which should be present on all users’ systems regardless of whether they are operating on Windows, Mac, or Linux (Ubuntu), are as follows:
Sans serif: Arial, Trebuchet MS, Verdana
Handwriting: Comic Sans MS
Serif: Georgia, Times New Roman
Monospace: Courier New
Symbol: Webdings
We recommend you avoid serif fonts. This includes Courier New, which is a slab serif font—these fonts
are more legible for printed text but can be more difficult to read on screen because of the lower
resolution.
Sans serif fonts are easier to read on screen. They can be used at much smaller sizes before their
legibility is significantly reduced. They are also the most likely fonts to be installed across all operating
systems.
Italic text does not render well on screen and should be avoided. Bold text is also harder to read on
screen so shouldn’t be used for standard body text. Reserve this device for highlighting, or drawing
attention to specific words or phrases.
Uppercase
You should avoid rendering whole words in uppercase text. Uppercase text lacks the peaks and troughs
of lowercase text. This presents a series of monotonous shapes which are more difficult to scan,
resulting in particular difficulties for dyslexic learners; as might flashing or animated text.
Two Fonts
It’s good practice to limit your design to no more than two different fonts in a single design. If you are
using more than one typeface, it is a good idea to reserve one for body text and one for all heading
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types. Don’t render headings and subheadings in different typefaces—use size to indicate the level of a
heading.
Formatting
When formatting text, remember that it is more difficult to read centered text. The eye naturally scans
for the start of a new line, which it naturally expects to be anchored at the left margin. Left margins are
predictable and require no adjustment to word spacing as any inequalities come at the end of a line.
Select left justification for all body text.
Quantity
The amount of text on a page can also influence accessibility. Any page containing more than 50% text
should probably be split across two pages.
Font size
Font size will influence how readable your text is. Think about the size of different classrooms, the
distance from which learners may be expected to view the interactive whiteboard, and the extended
periods of time over which they may be required to focus on the interactive whiteboard without a
break.
Often, developers select a relatively large text size for content aimed at young children, but then reduce
the text size dramatically when content is aimed at Middle School or High School aged learners. We
wouldn’t encourage this. Regardless of the age of the learner, small text on screen is more difficult to
process over longer periods of time.
External factors affect interactive whiteboard text in ways that they don’t affect printed materials or
other digital materials—therefore many of the rules regarding printed media/traditional publishing and
font size don’t apply to interactive whiteboard content.
You should always work on the whiteboard when deciding on your font sizes. Many developers have
requested we provide a rulebook explaining the minimum point size requirements for text. However, for
a number of reasons it just isn’t possible to talk about point size in isolation; there has to be an element
of common sense and judgment exercised when making each call.
Different fonts display at different physical sizes—research has shown that for web-use one font may be
entirely readable at 10pts while users report difficulty with other fonts at the same size. The same
applies with interactive whiteboards, n pt text (where n is a number) may be adequate for one font but
not another.
It might be appropriate to use smaller text for labels than for body text if the labels provide
supplementary information. However, if a label or any other text element is central to learning, there
are no real grounds for reducing it in size.
Don’t be conditioned by previous experiences in web content, or digital or traditional publishing. 21pt
text in printed or computer-based content would be too large in many instances regardless of the age of
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the target learner, but when it comes to a large interactive display, 21pt text, regardless of font family, is
small. We see developers select a font size which is too small for their target learners purely because
they are conditioned to avoid going above a certain ‘number’. The IWB format and context is new and as
such the number ‘21’ is arbitrary—we suggest you avoid thinking about the point size and go purely off
how the text appears on the whiteboard.
Once you’ve set your minimum text size, stick to it! Don’t suddenly make one section of text smaller
because it doesn’t fit your design. If there’s too much text to fit, you need to look at other methods of accommodating or revealing the text, or simply reduce the amount.
Large amounts of text
Methods you could consider for accommodating large quantities of text would
include spilling your text over a number of pages, creating a scrolling text
panel, providing pull-on boxes to house additional text, providing buttons to
reveal the text in stages, or including embedded printable worksheets or
reference sheets to complement what you are doing on the whiteboard with
off-board activity.
If none of these methods feel right, you need to consider whether what you
are attempting really works as an interactive whiteboard activity. As great as
the technology is, there will always be better ways of doing some things—the
technology should be used to enhance the learning experience and add value,
rather than replace all other mediums at any cost; some of those mediums are
successful for a reason.
Design on an interactive whiteboard
Finally, we can’t stress how important it is to keep designing and testing on an
interactive whiteboard. And not just from close proximity to the whiteboard.
You need to put yourself in the shoes of the learner sat at the back of the
classroom and keep exercising your common sense. It’s unlikely that any text
will be totally unreadable even from the back of the classroom, but it will
certainly become more difficult to comfortably read. We might compare this
to an eye test: just because you can read the letters on the bottom row of the
chart, it doesn’t mean that you would be comfortable reading this text for
extended periods of time.
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Color
Another reason it’s vital you have access to an interactive whiteboard throughout the design process is
to ensure your color scheme doesn’t impair accessibility when your content is projected onto a
whiteboard. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that how the content appears on your own computer
screen is how it will appear to all users.
When viewing your content on a whiteboard, you should make sure you view it as it would be viewed in
a typical classroom. The typical classroom is not a dark room without windows or bright lights, so if this
describes your office or development environment you may be misjudging critical elements of your
design.
In a classroom, you will often find an artificial lighting source directly above the interactive whiteboard,
or the whiteboard may be mounted close to a window. Bright light can have the effect of diluting or
washing out the colors on the whiteboard; it can diminish contrast to the point that what’s on the whiteboard becomes almost illegible.
In order to maximize legibility, you should choose a color scheme which promotes accessibility, and
provides adequate contrast even in a difficult viewing environment.
Brand colors
Function should always take precedence over form. Although you might be aiming for a design which
complements your own brand, if the colors aren’t conducive to accessibility on an interactive
whiteboard you should seriously reconsider using them. One option is to consider a color scheme that
enables you to use brand colors for secondary elements such as buttons and backgrounds, but not for
the elements through which you’re delivering the learning.
Text backgrounds
The most important color choices are those which affect text legibility. It’s best to place text on a
background with a solid fill. Developers often position text on top of a semi-opaque photographic
background because this looks good on a computer monitor; however on an interactive whiteboard this
can present a barrier to accessibility. Remember, even if a design looks okay on your own interactive
whiteboard, you can’t guarantee the level of lighting, or type of projector in the user’s classroom. When
displayed in the same viewing environment, text on a photographic background will always be less
legible than text on a solid background.
You should also avoid placing text on a gradient background. One part of a gradient is inherently darker
than another meaning that the text overlaying the darker half of the gradient will be less legible than the
text overlaying the lighter half of the gradient.
On an interactive whiteboard, it’s usually easier to read dark text on a light background than light text on a dark background. Black or dark gray text is preferred over blue, green or red. Again, what works on
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your computer screen might not work on a whiteboard; light green text on a dark green background
may not be the best selection even if it looks stylish and is highly readable on your laptop monitor.
Contrast
Although it’s important to ensure adequate contrast between elements, contrasting colors too severely
can present problems for learners affected by Scoptic Sensitivity Syndrome, in particular dyslexic users. If
contrast is too high, dark text may appear move against its background. This effect is exacerbated by
sunlight, and by glare from lights and off surfaces. Up to 12% of the population is thought to be affected
by this condition to some extent.
For this reason, a pastel colored background is often a better complement than a white background for
dark text; a pastel shade will soften and stabilize the design when projected, reducing the workload on
the eye.
Visual Impairment
As part of the design process, think about other visual impairments which may affect users. In
particular, design for color-blindness. By making some basic provisions, you can ensure your content is
as accessible for color-blind users as it is for any other group of users. Red/green/blue color
combinations should be used with extreme caution, and only if you understand the rules about balance.
Red, green or blue text should never be placed on a red, green or blue background.
Color should never be the sole device used to differentiate meaning. For example, you should never
require users to make the distinction between a red button and a green button by color alone: do not
say ‘Click the red button’. This isn’t to say that you can’t use red and green buttons in your design, but you must always employ an additional device by which users can make the distinction. This might
include adding the word ‘stop’ to the red button, and the word ‘go’ to the green button. When you reference these buttons in Page Notes, refer to them by their function, not by their color.
If you are in doubt about how accessible your content is for color-blind users, you can get a good idea
about the level of contrast they perceive by viewing your design in grayscale. If your operating system
doesn’t support grayscale display, take a screen capture of your design and use a graphics program such as Photoshop to convert the image; the most simple way to do this in Photoshop is to select Image >
Mode > Grayscale. This is in fact a good test to indicate how good your color schemes are for all
interactive whiteboard users, not just the color blind—the more the gray tones balance in grayscale
mode, the more problematic a design is likely to be.
Color theory
A little knowledge about color theory will go a long way when aiming for an effective and pleasing
design. Despite what has been written on color psychology, there’s no research-based evidence to
suggest that one color influences mood or promotes learning more than any other; however, you can
still use color to great aesthetic effect—you can use color as an aid to functionally, or to denote
organization or meaning when coupled with other devices.
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Two key factors to consider when choosing a color scheme for any design are as follows:
Number of colors
Keep it simple. Avoid using too many colors in any one design as this makes the content harder
to process and dilutes the aesthetic usability effect. Limit the design to a core set of between
three and five colors. The design should be subtle and clean to prevent your design becoming a
visual distraction and consequently, a barrier to learning. Your content interface should promote
usability without being particularly noticeable or ‘loud’—the content should do the talking.
Color harmony
Consult the color wheel when selecting color schemes. Eight classic schemes are used when
combining colors in the pursuit of an aesthetically pleasing design. Some schemes are better
suited to interactive whiteboard content than others.
Complimentary:
Complimentary color schemes use opposite colors on the color wheel. This scheme is
good for making elements stand out and results in a vibrant design with strong visual
impact when projected. However, this color scheme should not be used for text
combinations. Complementary colors are also difficult to use in large areas and it can be
hard to balance your colors.
Analogous:
An analogous color scheme uses adjacent colors on the color wheel. Adjacent colors pair
well and contribute to designs which are soothing and easy to process. You should
choose one color as the primary color—the others should be chosen as accent colors to
enrich the scheme. Warm and cool color combinations should be avoided. The difficulty
in producing analogous color scheme is ensuring enough contrast to make elements
distinct on the interactive whiteboard.
Monochromatic:
A monochromatic color scheme uses variations in saturation and lightness of a single
color. This produces a color scheme which is soothing and easy on the eye. However,
take a lot of care when implementing a monochromatic scheme for interactive
whiteboard use because it can be difficult to achieve adequate contrast between
different elements of the design.
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Split complimentary:
The split complimentary color scheme is a variation on the complimentary color
scheme. However, instead of using two opposite colors, it uses a base color and takes
the two colors adjacent to the complement as accents. This produces a vibrant color
scheme with good contrast, but it can be hard to balance the colors.
Triadic:
A triadic color scheme uses three colors which are evenly spaced around the color
wheel. One color should dominate the scheme, while the other two act as accents; this
results in a vibrant color scheme which is contrastive and well balanced. As such this
scheme works well for interactive whiteboard content. You can identify a triadic color
scheme by placing an equilateral triangle over the color wheel.
Quadratic:
A quadratic color scheme uses four colors from the color wheel. A square scheme uses
four evenly spaced colors, while a rectangle scheme uses two complementary pairs. One
color should dominate while the other three act as accents. This can
produce a rich and vibrant color scheme but it is the hardest scheme in
which to achieve balance. You can identify a quadratic color scheme by
placing a square or rectangle over the color wheel.
Neutral:
A neutral color scheme includes colors which aren’t found on the color wheel such as
creams, whites, browns, beiges, blacks and grays.
Accented neutral:
An accented neutral color scheme includes colors which aren’t found on the color wheel and takes accents from the color wheel
to enrich the scheme.
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Designing for Usability
There are plenty of other things you can do to ensure you deliver the most usable product. Basic
operation without obstacle is the most important factor influencing first adoption, and then continued
use of both interactive whiteboard technology and content.
Aesthetic usability
Create aesthetic designs: these are perceived as being easier to use and more inviting than less aesthetic
designs, regardless of whether they are indeed easier to use. A design is more likely to be used if it
fosters a positive attitude in users; this can lead to an increase in creativity, higher-order thinking and
problem-solving ability.
Signals
Where possible you should provide some form of signaling or onscreen guidance to help users access
your materials. Give them clues about how your materials work, and use real world metaphors in signals
and icons.
Signal the entry point or starting place for each interactive activity—what are users expected to do first
and how do they know? Providing good signals will prevent users having to click around randomly with
no sense of direction and no real ownership of their experience.
As well as providing documentation in Page Notes, the way you lay out and organize your content on the
page can help users access it in the correct order and distinguish elements with a particular purpose.
You can use icons or text labels to draw attention to the purpose of an activity or content element.
Icons make things easier to find, recognize, and remember. When creating icons, use representations
which are commonly associated with the action or concept you are trying to represent.
 Include a Pen Tool icon inside a writing space to signal its function.
 Include an arrow or text label on pull-tabs to indicate that they can be dragged.
 Include an icon or label to indicate which activities can be enhanced with Learner
Response Systems.
 Include an audio icon next to clickable audio files so users know what to expect upon
clicking.
 Include quick on-page links to the fundamental tools or supporting materials needed for
each activity. For example provide a PDF icon which launches an embedded PDF, or
buttons linking to the Protractor, Ruler and Calculator Tools for a math activity.
You should also include meaningful on-page instruction. On-page guidance doesn’t have to be comprehensive—this is what Page Notes are for. However, you should let users know what to expect as
a result of following your direction—the instruction should qualify the outcome or the purpose. It isn’t good practice to simply say ‘Click Here’, or ‘Drag the Objects’. Better examples are as follows:
 Click here to see three examples
 Click here to listen to the audio sample
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Click here to reveal answers
Click here to return to the vocabulary page
Drag each object to the corresponding label
Drag each item into the correct column
Conventions/metaphors
When providing visual clues to users, it’s best to employ universal, real-world metaphors. If universal
standards exist, observe them; the only exception to this rule is where doing so would be conflict with
whiteboard-friendliness.
Avoid designing your own rules or behaviors which aren’t intuitive or logical. Users have fundamental expectations as a result of previous experiences with other technologies, so look to other systems when
designing your icons.
For example:
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A question mark (?) typically indicates help. A magnifying glass usually denotes a zoom function.
Underlined words are universally understood to be links.
Bold text is used to draw attention to a word or a sequence of words – avoid using multiple
devices to draw attention: simultaneous highlighting, emboldening, and underlining text isn’t
more effective than using the single emboldening device; it confuses the purpose and impairs
usability. Italics and underlining are also less legible and add visual distraction. Don’t use color for emphasis as there may not be enough differentiation for users to detect a visual difference;
this can also be problematic for visually impaired users. Don’t embolden too many words; this will draw away from your key messages and lessen the impact of this device. Highlight no more
than 10% of the text on a page.
Buttons should look like buttons—if an object is clickable, this function should be visually
apparent.
Consistency
Consistency helps learners learn new things more quickly and helps them focus on what is relevant. You
should use consistent layouts and designs to breed user-familiarity and expectation. This will also
promote ease of use and learning.
You can help users apply existing knowledge to make sense of the design. Your navigation should appear
in the same place on every page, as should questions, or instructions where appropriate.
Once you have devised a set of icons, colors and fonts for use in your product, stick to them. Don’t make
arbitrary changes in the middle of a product without reason; this will give the impression that your
product has been thrown together and not thought through. Don’t use more than one method of invoking the same function—a single icon per function will help users become familiar with your
materials and to use them with ease.
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When referring to ActivInspire tools or functions within your materials, refer to them by their correct
name. You can find out a tool’s correct name by hovering over it in the Main Toolbar.
Sticking to a few simple rules will result in a neater design and a more intuitive system.
Element size
Don’t make interactive elements so small that they are difficult to physically interact with. Make hit
areas for draggable buttons and elements a suitable size. If interactive elements have a hit area smaller
than three inches square on the whiteboard, they may be difficult for some users to access.
Transcripts and audio clips
Consider providing transcripts for audio which doesn’t have accompanying screen-text. This may be
included in Page Notes, or within an embedded printable document, which the teacher can print in
advance of the lesson. Consider that some classrooms may not have the necessary technology to play
sound.
You might also think about providing audio clips to add an extra dimension to text which is displayed on
the whiteboard; this will help learners engage with the big ideas.
Both of these methods help make content more accessible for users with different learning preferences,
in addition to users with sensory impairments.
Simplicity of design
Ockham’s razor, a common principle of parsimony, suggests that people prefer simplicity. When
presented with two functionally-identical designs, they will prefer the simplest design. Users interpret
elements which are superfluous to the design as rendering the design less efficient and less pure. Don’t overcomplicate your design and avoid including visuals which don’t complement the objective or add
value to the learning experience.
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COLLABORATION
Interactive whiteboards can stimulate collaboration in teaching and learning. Increased collaboration
results in increased meaningful interaction.
Research has shown that collaborative learning is linked to significant increases in attainment in critical
thinking and problem solving tasks; recall and retention are improved in both areas.
Advocates of collaborative learning also claim that children become more engaged in the learning
experience when they actively share their thinking and when different learning styles are addressed.
You can adopt various strategies to maximize the impact of your content, and to promote full and
effective use of the technology in a collaborative environment:
Group Interaction
There are a number of ways in which group interaction may benefit learning:
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Group interaction provides a great opportunity for students to share and learn from each
other’s knowledge and experience. As part of this process individuals reflect upon their own
learning.
There is evidence to suggest that working in groups helps learners perform at higher intellectual
levels. In a collaborative culture, learners are prompted to work out solutions for themselves
rather that passively receiving this information.
Children build interpersonal relationships working in groups, which helps their social
development.
Working together towards a common goal promotes a team culture. Individual accountability
for the success of the whole-group results in learners becoming more persistent. Self-esteem
and motivation improves as learners work together to influence a positive outcome for the
group.
Students learn that teachers aren’t the sole source of knowledge and that they have the ability to find or create knowledge themselves.
When promoting whole-group interaction, remember that you don’t have to focus the whole lesson on presentation or activity at the whiteboard. Using the whiteboard as a hub to stimulate classroom activity
or discussion is a valid application of the technology. Equally, teachers can bring students back together
after a classroom task or a written task to consolidate learning or review events.
 Exploit the whiteboard where it can really aid whole class teaching; for modeling and
demonstration; for showing complex processes, and for replaying sequences and events.
 Explain that teachers can pass around an ActivSlate to enable learners to annotate or interact
with the content from their desks; this makes it easier for multiple students to participate with
minimal disruption. The teacher can also use the ActivSlate to control the content while moving
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amongst students in the class – this helps the teacher determine the needs of the group and
provide support as needed.
Student-Centered Learning
Research shows that a student-centered constructivist approach is proven to raise motivation and
produce higher gains in standardized tests than when students are presented new knowledge in a
didactic format. Students take more responsibility for their learning when they are active participants in
the learning process.
Interactive whiteboard technology promotes the fundamental idea of active participation and social
learning; it presents opportunities for the whole group to engage with content in many different ways.
In a student-centered exploratory environment, interaction and discourse will naturally occur.
 Follow good practice such as sharing learning objectives and establishing success criteria with
the group—this information benefits students as much as the teacher so don’t conceal this information in Page Notes; the learning objectives and success criteria should be shared with
learners so they can use it to inform their learning and know the relevance of subsequent
information.
 Provide tasks where periods of lecture and demonstration are followed by active participation
and knowledge building tasks—enable learners to create knowledge rather than just consume it.
 Provide opportunities for learners to build on prior knowledge and to construct new knowledge
as a group.
The teacher’s role is not passive one. Active student-centered learning is a teacher-led process—the
teacher steers the process of learning and co-operation as a facilitator.
 In your instruction, help teachers to guide, observe, prompt, question and assess their students
throughout the course of the lesson. Encourage the teacher to empower his or her students by
nurturing a culture of experimentation and discovery.
 Allow the teacher to control the flow, direction and pace of the lesson; provide thorough
guidance but not overly prescriptive content or a regimented path. You should promote
diversion and adaption and help the teacher assess student requirements and provide an instant
response.
Remember that learners may not all be at the same level and teachers may need to adapt your content
as a result of feedback from the group.
 Ensure your text is editable and avoid locking content objects to the background layer in
ActivInspire. Also provide a system of navigation which makes it easy for the teacher to jump to
key areas of the lesson for recap and clarification.
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Problem-Solving
Working collaboratively is proven to improve learners’ problem-solving ability—critical thinking is
stimulated when students are presented with different perspectives; they have to progress beyond
statements of opinion and have to justify their thoughts or actions to their peers.
As each suggestion or idea is evaluated by the group, individuals reflect on their own learning and begin
to clarify their own ideas and thought processes by measuring them against those of their peers. This
contributes deeper understanding and is beneficial to the learning process.
 Provide activities which focus students on working together to solve problems.
Fun and Games
Interactive whiteboard content presents an opportunity to make learning fun. Guiding children to work
cooperatively and in a relaxed atmosphere can greatly reduce anxiety amongst individuals in the group.
Individuals are subject to less pressure as they aren’t the sole focus of attention and they share the
responsibility for success.
 Where appropriate, include fun but relevant tasks, or humor, in your content.
Discussion and Discourse
When engaged in discourse, learners are able to evaluate and clarify ideas—these are important
contributing factors in the development of critical-thinking skills.
Weaker students are able to learn thinking and problem solving skills from stronger students.
‘Mentoring’ by stronger students helps weaker students increase their zone of proximal development—
the difference between what is known and what can be known. Learners are helped to acquire
knowledge that they could not have acquired by themselves.
More able students benefit from becoming peer-teachers; they process information on a deeper level as
a result of explaining their reasoning, and practicing critical thinking and leadership skills.
The teacher plays a critical role in clarifying concepts and guiding the discussion and the outcome, but
students also have a good understanding about the particular areas which are causing their peers
difficulty; they are equally able to provide immediate feedback and support to those who need it
throughout the course of a discussion.
Additionally, being encouraged to debate, clarify and justify of their ideas also help students of all levels
develop oral communication skills.
 Include activities which promote-whole group discussion and debate.
Real-World Problems
Collaborative activities often mimic ‘real-world’ interactions. Evidence suggests that thinking and learning goes deeper if learners can make real-world connections. Real-world, group problem-solving
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prepares students for later life and establishes a team ethos and a culture of co-operation. In the
workplace individuals will be required to solve problems through group creativity and decision making.
 Present meaningful learning contexts and real-world, authentic tasks.
 When presenting real world problems, it can be beneficial to assign roles to individuals; roles
may have either an at-the-board or away-from-the-board focus.
Innovative Assessment Solutions
Interactive whiteboard technologies provide many ways for the teacher to formatively check student
progress and understanding while keeping the emphasis on learning rather than performance. When
used for the right tasks, the technology can help teachers gain a more rounded understanding of
student ability and performance. Students benefit from being able to express their knowledge in a
variety of ways and teachers are able to get instant snapshots or progress throughout the lesson. They
are able to provide instant feedback to students.
Help teachers assess progress by including in your materials the following:
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Performance tasks
Group discussions
Peer-review activities
Opportunities for the teacher to observe the kinesthetic, auditory and visual skills of the group,
or how learners interact with other learners
One effective performance task is to lead students in peer-teaching tasks where they are asked to
explain a concept to their peers, or to model a process.
Review activities can be completed with or without Learner Response Systems. Remember that Learner
Response Systems aren’t all about summative assessment and that formative assessment doesn’t only occur at the end of the lesson when it is too late to address emerging issues.
 Use LRS to add interactivity to a lesson and to enable all learners in the group to participate and
have a voice.
 Use LRS in sorting, matching, sequencing or opinion polling activities.
 Ensure you provide adequate direction for how activities are completed with or without LRS.
 Use LRS to pretest.
‘White space’ may also be used to stimulate the recall of information, or it might be used to provide a
canvas for learners to demonstrate their knowledge.
 Provide areas of white space, or activities specifically designed to help the teacher get a
measure of where the whole class is at in their learning.
 Enable learners to experiment, create, and demonstrate what they know.
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Competition
Students report increased interest and engagement in tasks which have a competitive element.
However, they also report that while competition motivates them, it does not improve their learning
performance.
 Where appropriate, include competitive activities in your materials. Do this to introduce variety,
and as a way of bringing multiple learners together to work simultaneously in groups.
 Ensure the emphasis remains on the learning outcome and that the activity is not superfluous.
Examples of Collaborative Interactive Whiteboard Activities
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The Promethean solution supports dual-user activity at the interactive whiteboard. Provide
activities where two or more learners use the interactive whiteboard at the same time. Learners
can work together to complete a single task; they can assume different roles to complete a
single picture; or they can present different ways of tackling the same problem. Alternatively,
learners may compete against each other in a task.
Use pictures or videos as stimulus for a group debate.
Use written prompts to stimulate group discussion.
Use instruction on the interactive whiteboard to stimulate away-from-the-whiteboard tasks.
Use brainstorming or mind-mapping templates or on-screen graphic organizers. If appropriate,
learners can work in teams to find information from different sources.
Provide text or graphics which learners should sort into categories or sequence.
Provide opportunities for learners to establish common group goals: what we know, what we
want to know, how we will learn it.
Provide opportunities for learners to review individual and group achievements: what we
learned, what we learned from others, what we want to learn more about, what we could have
done better.
Encourage learners to share their expertise with their peers through modeling, demonstration
or annotation.
Enable teams take on different sides of a debate and prepare arguments for or against.
Enable learners to vote on a topic before and then following a debate – evaluate any group-shift
in opinion following the debate, and discuss the reasons for this swing in opinion.
Use pre-activity prediction templates so learners can discuss what they think will happen in an
experiment or task; they can revisit this at the end of the lesson to discuss their predictions
and/or address misconceptions.
Provide a text disclosure activity where learners can take turns to decide which words belong
where in the passage, and fill the gaps accordingly.
Provide activities which identify different student roles. Students can periodically rotate roles.
Encourage the teacher to bring the class back together, and use the interactive whiteboard to
share the whole group’s thinking or record conclusions.
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Provide Likert scales which can be used with or without ActivExpression. Provide a topic or
statement and ask learners give it a rating based on how they feel about it, or how much they
agree/disagree. Results can be debated by the group.
Help learners identify success criteria after being presented with learning objectives.
Think about establishing competition between different groups; for example, design a model
bridge. Groups should present their models and ideas to the whole-group and learners can
decide on a winner and work together to establish the criteria for an effective bridge.
Collaborative storytelling: enable learners to provide narration and use the ActivInspire Sound
Recorder to capture different voices or versions of the story.
Turn-taking – learners take turns coming the whiteboard to offer different responses to a
question or challenge.
Ask learners to list five keywords they associate with a topic and then conduct a class discussion
using these words as prompts.
Students work in pairs to review or annotate text. Key points and different ideas are then
discussed by the whole group and the teacher and learners work together to annotate exemplar
text.
Provide a page where learners can note down all of the questions they have about a topic. They
can revisit this during and after learning and review the questions as they develop a better
understanding of the topic.
Groups can be given different aspects of a topic or problem on which they must become
experts. Each group must then teach the other groups what they have learned. The whole class
can come back together to complete the big picture.
Students write down their individual responses to a given problem and then compare responses
as a group.
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ADAPTABILITY
Truly valuable interactive whiteboard offers teachers flexibility. Unlike some Flash or web-content,
which is prescriptive, closed and set-path in nature, materials produced with dedicated interactive
whiteboard software have the benefit of versatility; that is, if they are authored in a way that promotes
this approach.
Customization & Personalization
The best materials can be easily adapted, customized or re-purposed by teaches. The more you allow
teachers to modify your materials, the more they will be able to personalize the teaching/learning
experience to their own students’ abilities, or level of progress and understanding. These kinds of
materials have real purpose in whole-group interactive teaching and acknowledge the importance of the
teacher’s role as mediator.
To facilitate flexible teaching, think very carefully before restricting various elements of your materials.
Publishing restrictions
Be wary of over-publishing at the end of production: Publishing is a feature of ActivInspire designed to
protect publisher assets in the ActivInspire environment; however we would encourage you to exploit
the full power of this feature only when it’s imperative that you protect your assets.
Publishing allows you to prevent users from resaving the content, and it allows you to disable the
ActivInspire Camera Tool, but it is very easy to devalue your content by over-publishing and selecting
these features.
Preventing teachers from resaving content means they can’t make changes to the content before
teaching it—they might want to personalize your materials depending on what learners have already
been taught, or according to gaps in their ability.
If teachers can’t resave your content, they can’t add extra pages to increase its potential if they think
their students require extra teaching; they can’t modify text or transform activities in order to respond instantly to feedback from the class; and they can’t save and review student contributions after class. By
preventing teachers from adapting the content and saving student work, you reduce the pedagogical
value of your materials.
Teacher correction
Activities on the page don’t need to self-correct—the teacher is there to correct misconceptions; to
respond to mistakes and to turn these into learning opportunities.
You don’t need to include reams of text on the page offering a full explanation of every minor concept
covered—teachers are there to explain—just make sure you provide them with all the information they
need, including answers to all questions asked, in Page Notes.
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Self-correcting content
Think carefully before employing software features like containers where these may cut-short a
teaching opportunity, or deny teachers an opportunity to assess learners’ progress and understanding. A teacher’s response to learners’ actions or feedback will always be more powerful and more valuable
to learners than an automated, impersonalized response from content.
You should empower teachers to intervene and address learner requirements at the point of need and
to divert from the script. The teacher may wish to recap, re-teach, or supplement your materials with
additional content. She may wish to capitalize on a different strategy; add a piece of audio, a video clip,
or a web-link; introduce an off-board activity; or model a concept at a critical point of the lesson.
If the teacher can’t transform interactive whiteboard materials to address the needs of the wholegroup, the materials really can’t be described as interactive whiteboard friendly. You must allow the teacher to be the predominant influencing force on the direction of learning at all times.
Locking content elements to the background
When adding elements to the page, you should only lock them to the background layer if there is no
perceivable user-benefit in leaving them editable. We would encourage you to lock brand elements to
the background layer, such as logos and perhaps background images and other fixed interface elements;
however, we suggest you place elements of a learning activity on one of the higher layers, which can be
edited by users more freely. You can still lock elements placed on the higher layers preventing them
from moving around at run-time; however, users can edit these elements in Design Mode, unlike
elements locked to the background, which are much more difficult to subsequently edit.
Bitmap Text
Many developers create bitmap images from their text in order to display their brand font throughout
their content. We would advise against this.
If you include bitmap text in your content, users can’t edit the text in any way. Not only can the teacher
not adapt the content ahead of the lesson, users will be prevented from interacting fully with the text
content at run-time: The special tools in ActivInspire such as the Fill Tool and the Deconstruct Tool help
users interact with text in ways that can really extend the scope of content. Teachers may want to
change the size or color of text if their students have special requirements; they may want to
personalize the text to extend the materials; or they may want to allow learners to come to the
whiteboard and highlight key words or interact with the text in other ways.
We would avoid using bitmap text for titles and headers, not just body text. The only instance where it is
appropriate to include bitmap text is for the creation of brand elements which are part of the content
interface: logos, buttons and so on.
Remember, bitmap text doesn’t only prohibit user-interaction; it makes it impossible for you to edit
these content elements during production without going back to the source. This is a less time-efficient,
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more costly way of working, which often causes difficulties during the proofing, testing and localization
phases of a project.
White space
Remember, the best use of page real-estate is often nothing more than an area of white-space for
annotation—using this, teachers can work through and build on ideas with the class in the way they feel
is most appropriate.
Flexibility
Chunking
You will limit flexibility if your content can’t be split into logical, distinct chunks. Where possible include pages which stand alone, and try to cover no more than one big idea per page. Teachers will then be
able to use pages as building blocks for new learning materials. These might include revision materials
which they compile at the end of term, or assessment materials which they create independently.
Teachers will also be able to easily re-sequence pages, or save individual pages to the Resource Library
for reuse at a later date. This said, accessibility must be your first consideration—don’t make accessibility compromises, such as reducing text size, in order to make content more ‘chunkable’. Teacher Control
Some digital materials, such as content designed to be completed individually at workstations, require
the content provider to enforce an element of precise control over the learning experience—to provide
a set path, teach all the big ideas, and supply all answers.
In interactive whiteboard teaching, teachers plays the central and pivotal role; they are there to teach
and respond—your materials are a resource which should help them teach effectively, not replace
them.
Page Notes
Page Notes can be used to great effect to help teachers maintain a flexible approach—here you can
provide full guidance to teachers and suggest a plan for the lesson; if you can also provide some
suggestions for differentiation or remediation, you will give your content an added dimension and
increase the flexibility and potential of your content. For example, you might explain how to stimulate
further learning with advanced learners, or smaller groups; or how to get the full benefit from a complex
activity with lesser able groups.
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DIFFERENTIATION
The ACADEMIES Model
The Academies model summarizes a differentiated approach for effective interactive whiteboard
content design. Refer to page 9 of this Guide.
However, there are some areas pertinent to effective interactive whiteboard instruction which we will
cover here in more detail.
Learning Preferences
Learners often benefit when information and new knowledge is presented and reinforced in different
ways. Some research has gone as far as suggesting that it isn’t the level of engagement with the subject, or the amount that children physically interact with the whiteboard that positively influences learning; it
is the variety of modalities incorporated into the approach.
In interactive whiteboard instruction, verbal communication is the predominant mode of knowledge
transfer. However, good content also provides concurrent visual reinforcement of the big themes, and
regular opportunities for learners to physically engage with and transform different elements of the
content.
You can help teachers engage a diverse range of learners by addressing each of the three major learning
modalities in your content design.
Visual learning
It has been demonstrated that pictures are easier to remember than words.
However, research also shows that information represented using a combination of images and words is
more memorable that the same information presented using only words, or only pictures.
The combination of words and pictures helps learners to process information and makes it easier for
teachers and learners to focus their attention on what is important.
 Use visuals to provide clear examples and as a way of supporting text to enable information
recall. For this to be effective the pictures should be concrete rather than abstract, and they
must make sense in the given context. If words and pictures conflict, they will have the opposite
of the desired effect and impair information recall.
 Reinforce themes and make them accessible to learners through text, diagrams, photographs,
videos, animation and simulation.
 Encourage users to make notes on the whiteboard and to make visible changes to the content,
for example by manipulating objects in the content.
 If it’s relevant to the context of the lesson, and if they have such a device available, prompt teachers to use a visualizer, such as ActiView.
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Also remember that an aesthetically pleasing design can inspire confidence in learners and result in the
perception that the content is easier to use and understand, regardless of whether it actually is.
Auditory learning
Although interactive whiteboards offer a new dimension for visual learners, the verbal component of
the lesson is still dominant. Increased participation by the whole-group stimulates discussion, debate
and negotiation, and provides a constant auditory stimulus for learners. Dialogue is created between
teachers and students when they are engaged in truly collaborative and interactive tasks.
Give content an extra audio dimension in one of two ways.
 Include audio as an embedded component of your lesson:
o Think about lessons where sound is an integral influencing factor and key to the learning.
Include links to recordings of famous speeches, or media reporting on significant historical
events.
o Include music files in music lessons to add value which other mediums don’t provide. Ensure
you have copyright clearance for any performance files which you choose to include.
o Include narration in big books and for large pieces of text or poems. For example,
demonstrate phoneme pronunciation in a phonetics activity.
 Encourage learners to create their own audio which can be saved into the content:
o Provide the Sound Recorder so learners can provide their own narration, or a commentary
of events.
o Think of innovative new uses of audio in an educational context. For example, suggest that
learners use sound recording facilities to record their own podcasts on the topic they are
studying—these can be shared with the class or played back at a later date.
Kinesthetic learning
Allowing students to interact physically and ‘learn by doing’, either at the whiteboard or away from it, is a good way to increase depth of processing and their levels of collective engagement and motivation.
Activities of this nature increase the likelihood of understanding and retention. They also introduce an
element of fun into lessons, which can help gain and hold children’s attention, and prompt an interest in
the learning process.
Think about the different options for tactile involvement when producing interactive whiteboard
content. There are many ways to present opportunities for learners to construct knowledge, and to help
them become active participants in each lesson.
 Encourage learners to physically interact with the whiteboard where appropriate:
o Repeat a sequence of events based on modeling or simulation.
o Correct mistakes in a passage of text.
o Highlight keywords in a poem.
o Complete a sentence.
o Place labels in position on a diagram.
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o
o
o
o
o
Move an object to reveal information (Magic Ink or pull on tab).
Organize or restructure information or content elements.
Make notes.
Illustrate concepts.
Operate ActivInspire tools such as the Calculator Tool, the Camera Tool, or the Protractor
Tool.
 It may be relevant to include suggestions or supporting materials for off-board activity:
o Create a piece of art.
o Complete an embedded worksheet.
o Conduct an outdoors activity.
o Perform a song and dance.
o Complete a craft activity.
o Build models.
o Physically analyze and sort real objects or sequence items.
o Conduct an experiment.
The Teacher’s Role in Whole-Group Interactive Teaching
No matter how much technology is available in classrooms, or how sophisticated it may be, the quality
of teaching remains the most important influence on learning.
Every interactive whiteboard content producer has a responsibility to help teachers use their content
most effectively. If teachers aren’t helped to employ effective strategies or use the technology to its potential, the chance of your content being used as a vehicle to truly enhance learning is slim.
Remember that some teachers have little or no specialist training with the technology. This can make
teaching interactive whiteboard content initially seem like a daunting or unrewarding experience for
them.
Even digitally-experienced teachers may need help and guidance when being encouraged to integrate
different components of the ActivClassroom solution into their approach. In order to teach seamlessly,
every teacher will benefit from suggestions on how to use their technology and content in an interactive
and collaborative way.
Your instruction shouldn’t only explain the specific technical or physical interactions, but also the interactions between learners in the classroom and the nature of interaction with the big ideas.
In order to reap the full benefits of the technology and to promote a student-centered interactive
environment, there needs to be a shift in the teacher’s role from ‘sage on the stage’ towards that of
‘guide on the side’. Teachers need thorough guidance on how to adapt their role to that of facilitator.
Facilitating learning doesn’t only mean facilitating high-quality dialogue, critical thinking, formative
review and interaction among learners. It means knowing when to intervene and provide scaffolding; it
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means knowing how to ask questions designed to make learners think more deeply about their ideas,
rather than questions designed to elicit a correct response.
Acknowledge that teachers need to be able to respond to what they see and hear, and they need to be
able to challenge misconceptions at the point where this can still be beneficial to the learning outcome.
They must be able to use misconceptions to guide the direction of learning. For this reason, learners
should not be prevented from making mistakes—mistakes should be viewed as a positive contribution.
Whole group interactive teaching requires teaching, practice and assessment to be seen as ongoing
concurrent activities, which occur at every stage of the lesson as each new chunk of learning is
introduced. Modeling, demonstration, discussion, debate, prompting, questioning and review are still as
much features of whole-group interactive teaching as they are any other whole-group teaching
methodology.
Simple design considerations can help teachers embrace the IWB medium, and aid ease-of-use:
 Limit ‘noise’; this can be defined as any page element which doesn’t add value to the activity, such as distracting images or superfluous interactivity which doesn’t contribute to the
achievement of lesson goals.
 Provide all the on-page tools that teachers might need to develop and enhance their teaching
and better use the content and technology.
 Provide discussion prompts in your materials. Every page doesn’t have to be crammed with ‘things to do’. Sometimes the most powerful page contains only a question prompt, a writing
space and a link to the Pen Tool.
 Present multiple opportunities for learner feedback and progress review, and highlight the
important role that Learner Response Systems can play.
 Ensure your materials are accessible and fully adaptable to provide teachers with the flexibility
they need for interactive whole-group teaching. You should make it easy for teachers to
differentiate or to personalize the materials.
 Provide opportunities for teachers to hand control to learners. Don’t assume that buttons will only be accessed by a teacher and place them out of reach for small children. If the teacher
decides to give control over to learners, the design should facilitate not prevent this.
 Provide activities that can be completed collaboratively by the whole group, or equally by
smaller groups of learners.
Page Notes
How well you document your content will influence a teacher’s approach to it. The core function for
documenting instruction in ActivInspire is Page Notes. Notes can be added to every page to explain the
intended interactions and activity outcomes, and the teacher can even append your instruction with
their own notes.
Page Notes can be displayed on a secondary monitor so the teacher has guidance or access to answers
which students can’t see. Alternatively, Page Notes can be printed by the teacher ahead of the lesson.
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Make sure you document every aspect of the basic user-experience. Instruction should remain at the
heart of the learning experience.
Many aspects of the lesson experience should be documented purely to prevent obstacles to effective
teaching. Some teachers may be well suited to the role of facilitator, but others may be more familiar
with a predominantly didactic approach. As such, it’s key that you remove all obstacles to a successful journey. If teachers have to battle to make sense of the content interface or the intended functionality,
this will hinder the teacher’s own learning progress, and subsequently inhibit learning in the classroom.
Other aspects of the content should be documented with the intention of facilitating learning. Explain
how to encourage collaboration and true interaction between learners; this includes describing the
nature of the value-add, any scope for differentiation, the best ways of using the technology, and the
nature and availability of supplementary resources.
 The first/title page will ideally include lesson-wide documentation; it may reference tools and
techniques used throughout the materials. Provide clear mapping to standards and curriculum
objectives and define learning outcomes at the start of any lesson.
 Subsequent pages should provide instruction related to the current activity or specific learning
opportunity.
 You can provide guidance on a page-by-page basis so a teacher can access it instantly at the
point of need.
 Provide full direction. Users come to the technology and content with different levels of
experience and competence. This is in respect to both the technology and the subject matter.
 Assume no knowledge about the subject matter. Provide all answers and explain how and when
the teacher might reveal them to learners.
 Explain what peripheral technologies can be used to complete an activity. Also explain how to
approach the activity if these aren’t available. For example, if teachers don’t have access to Learner Response Systems, they can ask learners to raise their hands to vote, or produce homemade voting cards from card stock.
 You should also explain how to access supporting materials such as embedded printable
materials, or Resource Library image collections.
 Page Notes should provide guidance about the tools used on the page, and how to use activities,
buttons and navigation each time they appear on a page.
 Explain or suggest how and when teachers can assess progress or provide feedback.
 Explain how they can divert or differentiate to address student feedback.
 Fully explain your navigation and menu system so teachers can jump to different points of the
lesson. This enables them to recap or re-teach as required.
 Tell teachers how they can accommodate learners of different abilities.
 Explain how they can promote collaboration and interaction in the classroom.
 Give guidance on how to engage learners, respond to different situations, or incorporate
different preferences i.e., whole-group, small group, or individual learning.
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 Inform teachers of away from the board activities or strategies they can use to complete or
complement the core activity. Reassure teachers that collaboration and interactivity is not
something that occurs exclusively at the whiteboard.
 Prompt teachers to guide group discussion or review, including peer review if appropriate.
 Remind teachers that they can add to your content. This might involve modifying existing
content, or it may be as simple as adding a blank page so they can model a concept or clarify an
idea.
 Different problems require different solutions. The teacher is there to address issues in real time
so avoid being too prescriptive. You can never predict the exact classroom experience and so
you should allow teachers room to maneuver. The teacher should have full control over lesson
delivery mechanisms.
Another method of providing additional documentation, for example if diagrams or illustrations are
required, is the ActivInspire linking feature. A variety of file types can be embedded into your content
and accessed at the relevant point of a lesson; for example a PDF file or Word document. The
disadvantage of this method in comparison to using Page Notes is that these documents can’t easily be edited, by either author or user. This will result in a less efficient, more costly development process. If an
embedded file is included, Page Notes should also be employed to reference the document and its
intended use.
The power of these simple features should never be overlooked; they are fundamental to effective use
of interactive whiteboard technologies and associated content.
Following the above guidance will help teachers focus on student interactions and responses, rather
than getting caught up in the operational technicalities of your materials or the platform.
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ENHANCING TEACHING AND LEARNING
The interactive whiteboard won’t always be the most effective vehicle for delivering all aspects of
learning. It’s beneficial to acknowledge this and look to use the technology to cover new ground, rather
than seek to replace all other teaching methods and materials with interactive whiteboard activity.
Consider the following activities which may work better using other methods. Think about whether the
technology adds value and enhances learning. Attempting to replace traditional teaching strategies here
may be detrimental to the learning experience:



Reading lots of text on screen. Is it better to refer users to other materials which might aid
processing and make the information more accessible?
Science experiments or practical tasks. Do learners absorb and learn more by seeing an
experiment demonstrated on the whiteboard, rather than conducting the practical experiment
and experiencing results for themselves?
Creative tasks or an authentic real-world task. Do learners stand to learn more by demonstrating
a skill on the whiteboard or simulating an event, rather than applying their knowledge in
context? Think about where whiteboard medium bears little resemblance to real-world
application, for example handwriting practice/letter formation.
Adding Value
It’s a good idea to focus on the benefits of the solution and look at where you can add real value; think
about how you can enhance the learning experience and use the technology to build upon or
complement traditional methods, or to achieve things which simply wouldn’t have been possible without the technology.
Consider the following activities in which interactive whiteboard technologies may add value or provide
opportunities for deeper understanding and engagement.
 Show things close up or in fine detail. Promote a deeper understanding which wouldn’t be
possible without the capability of the technology to provide a particular insight. This might
include microscopic magnification, slow-motion video, or time-capture photography.
 Provide access to source materials which students wouldn’t otherwise be able to evaluate as a
group. This might include showing historical sources or material from historical, political, or
scientific archives.
 Provide opportunities for learners to model and simulate. This might include embedded
interactive 3D or simulations which learners can use to experiment and explore other
environments and terrains, or complex concepts such as chemical compounds or particles when
studying states of matter.
 Enhance demonstration and modeling. Help the teacher to model and demonstrate by providing
prompts; don’t feel that everything has to be automated in the content. With instruction, the
teacher can deliver the learning and use your content to support this.
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 Illustrate ideas with visuals. The same information can be presented in different ways. Help
learners to process text or verbal information by providing accompanying diagrams or videos.
Allow them to adapt and transform these elements to construct new knowledge.
 Show processes and relationships. The interactive whiteboard is an effective tool for unraveling
learning in stages; this enables the teacher to control the pace and progression through each
concept and ensure that learners are actively engaged in the process. Tools in the software
make it easy for teachers and learners to move backwards and forwards through a process and
replay the stages as needed.
 Provide teachers with all the supporting materials they need in one place. This will help teachers
maintain the pace of the lesson and keep focused on the lesson objectives and students’
involvement, rather than the logistics of how they are going to locate and access different
source materials. You might include links to multiple sources on a single page—for example links
to video files, sound files, embedded worksheets, and standards objectives; or you might embed
each component on a the particular activity page that it relates to.
 Provide opportunities for learners to interact (technically and cognitively) after a period of
presentation. Enable learners to apply, analyze, and evaluate new knowledge before moving on.
This might be through an open-ended activity on the whiteboard; it might be a class big graphicorganizer or information sorting activity; or it might involve using LRS devices, ActiVote and
ActivExpression, to give each learner a voice. If you provide opportunities for learners to
demonstrate their progress, this will help teachers teach formatively and respond to student
needs in real-time. Also consider creative activities as a way of challenging learners on a deeper
level.
 Present materials in a variety of different ways to make the most of multi-modal support and
appeal to the broadest range of learning preferences.
 Encourage the use of special tools and actions in the ActivInspire software which promote
meaningful interaction with the content. Think about what you can’t do on a blackboard. Tools
such as the Fill Tool enable learners to highlight words on the whiteboard; the Sound Recorder
enables them to annotate content with commentary which can be played back and reviewed
later; Magic Ink enables hidden content to be revealed gradually by users; onscreen Calculator,
Protractor, and Ruler Tools can all be called up in a single click, and provide intelligent feedback
to users; and tools such as the Camera Tool enable users to capture images from a wide variety
of sources to supplement your materials, or to create their own presentations.
 Include physical interactivity and provide opportunities for the teacher to hand over control of
the whiteboard to learners. Allow learners to interact with content at the whiteboard to make
new concepts more memorable, or as a way of presenting new information; let them discover
and uncover the building blocks of the learning process, and lead them to find and reveal key
information within the content.
 Help teachers lead learners through a process of creating and testing hypotheses, drawing
conclusions, and debating. Use the whiteboard as a hub for knowledge exchange, recording and
review.
 Promote collaboration. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Look at what works and what has
always worked in classrooms. Graphic organizers and sorting activities are popular and effective
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tools. On an interactive whiteboard these tasks can be completed, modeled, or reviewed as a
group. This adds value to the learning experience as learners can share their thinking and pool
and critique their ideas. Co-operatively building knowledge is beneficial to both the stronger and
weaker members of the group. Making notes on the whiteboard captures a permanent record
of the learning process and helps learners later review this process.
 Revisit ideas and revise concepts at the end of the lesson to reduce the need for note-taking in
class time. You may wish to include a page at the end of the lesson where students and the
teacher can summarize what has been learned; or you might include a page where the class can
discuss and make notes about what else they want to find out. Summary and revision pages can
be printed for learners to take home at the end of the lesson meaning they can focus more on
the actual lesson rather than the process of note-taking in class, which often leads them to
missing the key points. This will help learners to understand and then retain new knowledge.
 Encourage prediction, hypothesis formation/testing, and pre-assessment. The interactive
whiteboard and ActivInspire make it very simple for the group to revisit earlier parts of the
lesson to review their current thinking against their thinking at an earlier point in time. This
helps learners to reflect on the learning process and to assess and review their own progress.
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MEANINGFUL INSTRUCTION
For learning to be effective, learners must engage with what they are being expected to learn in a
meaningful way. For this to occur, they must be active participants in the learning process as opposed to
passive recipients.
Interactive whiteboards provide new opportunities for active and interactive learning, but this isn’t a
given outcome of the technology. It’s very easy to use whiteboard for low level interaction which is superficial and contributes nothing to learning or learners’ collective understanding. Effective instruction and meaningful contexts are what provokes the deeper level of engagement and understanding which
enhances learning.
Providing clickable buttons and draggable objects doesn’t make content more interactive. What makes
content more interactive is what happens before and after the button is clicked, or before and after the
object is dragged. What response does the interaction provoke or demand from learners? Does it
require them to make choices, or evaluate, or apply knowledge? Or are you encouraging them to click
for the sake of clicking—effort for no reward?
Authentic Learning
Through interactive whiteboard content, we have a chance to generate meaningful learning contexts
which enable students to make connections with the ‘real world’. Authentic learning is shown to be one of the most effective ways to learn. Learners also show a
preference for this mode of learning and report higher levels of motivation and engagement when they
are given authentic tasks; contexts in which they can see relevance between what they are learning and
real-life.
If we can present real-world problems and opportunities for experimentation in our interactive
whiteboard content, learners will interpret their learning as meaningful and highly relevant. As a result,
concepts are more likely to be remembered because they will be explored on a deeper level.
Tasks which require students to work together to solve problems and complete a challenge followed by
a period of reflection are particularly effective. These tasks nurture an ability to organize information,
and to think critically and creatively.
When engaged in tasks of this nature, children are able to practice different types of higher-order career
skills which will prepare them for the challenges they will face in their adult lives. These tasks provide
new perspectives and encourage a culture of problem-solving and community. Learners are also able to
make real choices.
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Consider providing links to the tools or types of resources that professionals use in their own work or
research and allow learners to interpret the data: online instruments, archives, and other information
databases.
Simulations, animations, experiments, video, role-play, the internet, and other visualizations are also
useful tools for enabling learners to experience authentic tasks—they can help to bring abstract
concepts to life by enabling learners to experience different scenarios and make meaningful connections
with their world.
This might include enabling learners to revisit a particular place in time, control the tectonic plates, or
experience a volcano: this reinforces the difference between helping learners know about science, and
helping them learn how to become scientists.
Give these resources value by accompanying them with clear learning objectives, good instructional
design, clearly defined roles for students and teachers, and an appropriate plan for assessment.
Integrate the assessment into the activity in a way that reflects the real world. Low-level, summative
assessment is a particularly ineffective way to assess authentic learning tasks. Remember that authentic
tasks may not have correct solutions—your content should allow for a diverse range of open-ended
responses.
Blended Learning
You can utilize interactive whiteboard technology as part of a successful blended learning strategy in all
areas of the curriculum. Lessons don’t have to be conducted exclusively through the interactive whiteboard—what happens away from the whiteboard is equally important.
Sometimes the interactive whiteboard simply becomes a ‘hub’, or the glue that holds everything else together.
There is nothing to prevent you combining your interactive whiteboard content with other digital or
non-digital resources. You can also complement periods of whole-group instruction with self-paced
activity, which may or may not involve interaction with the interactive whiteboard.
Textbooks, reference books, printable activities, physical manipulatives, other technologies, or face-toface, peer-to-peer activity, and homework are all valuable complements to the interactive whiteboard
system.
You can use different methods of digital delivery to provide a wider variety of learning opportunities and
facilitate learning though different modes of teaching and learning preferences. There are a variety of
media formats and delivery options which you can exploit: online tools and databases, audio, video,
internet, animation, virtual manipulatives, simulations, organizers, role-play, experiments, quizzes and
assessments.
Whichever delivery mechanisms you employ should promote student-centered activity, a collaborative
environment, and the shift from passive to active learning.
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Bloom’s Taxonomy
Blooms Taxonomy is the popular classification of learning objectives which focuses on the cognitive
domain of learning. It describes the different levels of comprehension and critical-thinking which are
achieved at different stages of learning.
Blooms Taxonomy doesn’t only provide an
effective tool for teachers. It is a useful practical
tool for the structure, design and development of
any instructional materials to ensure that every
learner is helped to progress to the higher levels of
thinking. Each level and its associated verbs can
help you design effective instruction, activities and
assessments.
We have produced an A3 poster to show how you
can apply Bloom’s Taxonomy to interactive
whiteboard content design with suggestions for
effective IWB activities at each level of learning.
Click below to launch and print the poster.
Formative Assessment
The noted education researcher, author and thought-leader, Dr. Robert Marzano, recently studied LRS
and interactive whiteboard use, and demonstrated that when these technologies are used together, and
when they are supported by effective instructional strategies and good classroom practice, we see
significant learning gains.
Interactive whiteboard technologies can play a critical role in how students are reviewed and assessed.
They can enable learners to have active voice and influence the direction of their own learning.
Assessment should be considered an integral part of the learning design. It can and should take place at
any point in the learning, and for a variety of different purposes.
Formative assessment doesn’t just to take the form of questioning after an episode of learning. You can
introduce the learning with a question; you can prompt learners to demonstrate or apply what they
know; you can poll class opinion; or you can encourage collective reflection on how students have
performed, or on what they have learned.
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Giving learners the opportunity to apply knowledge in context is another valid mode of formative
assessment. Interactive sorting, sequencing, or creative tasks can all used to assess progress and
influence the direction of future learning.
The instantaneous response and feedback from teacher and peers during these and similar tasks helps
maintain interest and motivation in learners. It helps them develop concepts. Be wary of using software
features which trigger low-level surface interaction but deny the opportunity for deeper understanding.
Using ‘containers’ to make incorrect answers in a drag and drop activity ‘snap-back’ limits the potential for learning. It prevents the co-construction of knowledge between learners, and it removes the teacher
from the feedback loop.
Similarly, when LRS are used as an integrated part of the lesson, there is no gap between assessment
and the feedback to learners. The teacher responds in real time, at the point of need. If you can help
teachers gather frequent feedback when it matters most, they can use what they know as a bridge to
future learning and involvement. Learners benefit from being assessed not only the lesson objectives,
but also on their own progress and understanding.
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INTERACTIVITY
When we talk about interactivity, we are referring to two distinct but complementary concepts.
1. Deep interaction: This refers to the intellectual and emotional interaction in and between
students. It relates to learners interacting with other learners, and it relates to learners
interacting with concepts.
2. Surface interaction: This refers to learners interacting physically with the whiteboard to
physically manipulate or create content.
Deep Interaction
Real and meaningful interaction occurs when knowledge is built and transformed.
Interactive whiteboard content is a sensory focal point and scaffolds the learning process. It also
provides opportunities for learners to explore and transform the content. But, the most valuable
interaction takes place between learners, or between learners and the teacher. Interactive whiteboard
content is only truly valuable if it stimulates cognitive interaction. It isn’t the technology which enables true interactivity but effective pedagogies.
Ensure every aspect of your content has a purpose. If an activity contributes nothing to the learning
outcome then think about if it adds any value at all. Don’t feel obliged to use all the bells and whistles of the software if pedagogically there is a better way of achieving the outcome. Another route may be
simpler and use only the basic features of ActivInspire, but if it provides more scope for learning, it is the
right option.
Surface Interaction
You should avoid superfluous low-order physical interaction which does not contribute to the learning
outcome. Every time you ask a user to physically interact with your content, you should ensure there is
a purpose.
Employ physical interaction as a vehicle for conceptual development. Encourage learners to annotate,
modify or transform your content in order to construct knowledge. Meaningful forms of interaction
generally require some degree of learner evaluation or reflection and ideally trigger strategic thinking.
Present learners with choices as a route to cognition. Allow them to debate their options before
submitting a final response. Allow them to get things wrong and don’t deny valuable teaching or
learning opportunities by creating content which self-checks; for example, content which uses
containers where incorrect answers are returned. Encourage learners to think critically and to reflect on
their choices. This will enable them to process information at a higher level.
Also, present learners with opportunities to come to the whiteboard to show what they know. This will
also help weaker students understand concepts.
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Think about including activities where the whole group can participate, or where groups of learners can
complete or contribute to an activity simultaneously. You might provide different tasks or roles for
different groups of learners and then alternate these roles.
Consider advising teachers on how to use peripheral technology to stimulate whole-group interaction.
Use Learner Response Systems to complete sorting or sequencing activities, or to poll opinion. Pass
around the ActivSlate to increase the number of students who are able to control the whiteboard with
the minimal amount of disruption.
Also, remember that all physical interaction doesn’t have to take place between learners and the whiteboard. You can also use the technology to stimulate or facilitate learning away from the
whiteboard. For example, by providing discussion prompts, classroom activity outlines, printable
worksheets on games, and so on.
Adding Interactivity
The following physical interactions should be coupled with effective strategies for cognitive interaction
to positively affect learning:
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Hide and reveal
Matching (like-terms, equivalent fractions, vocabulary and pictures)
Movement (to demonstrate principles)
Highlight ideas on the whiteboard to ‘cement’ them (as opposed to note-taking)
Illustrate concepts and explain knowledge through annotation or movement (angles on line)
Games which support learning (Concentration)
Coloring and shading – text objects, fractions etc, label parts of diagram
Note-taking/summarizing
Annotating text
Using software tools like the Protractor and Ruler Tool to predict then measure
Use Camera and Sound Recorder Tool to create new components
Graphic organizers
Sorting activities (terms, images, numbers)
Sequencing
Matching activities (picture and text, picture and audio, term and definition)
Hiding and revealing objects to reveal information, stages in a process, or supplementary ideas
Timeline of events
Reconstruct the parts of an object to make the whole
Labeling
Providing audio annotation, narration, or retelling a story
Brainstorming/mind-mapping
Graphing
For more ideas refer to page 70 of the Guide: Interactivity Features in ActivInspire.
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ENGAGEMENT
Interactive whiteboard technology appeals to children because they have been raised as digital natives;
it is similar to everything they know. They know no real alternative to technology as a way of life and
have been brought up surrounded by iPods, laptops, gaming devices, cell phones, the internet, and
technology driven home environments. Interactive whiteboards present an opportunity to engage
children through a medium which is familiar to them.
Research studies suggest that interactive whiteboard technologies have a positive and significant effect
on student engagement in the learning process. We have seen that the technology promotes
engagement in students of all levels of ability. It motivates children who have become disengaged from
their learning and those who have previously shown a reluctance to actively engage in the learning
processes.
Research also shows that when learners become motivated their attention and commitment to future
learning is increased.
Just as television can engage the most unfocussed child, interactive whiteboards can be used in the
classroom to get children involved and keep them interested. Lessons can be presented in new engaging
ways allowing the whole class to collectively connect.
Interactive whiteboards support a variety of teaching styles and learning modalities. They support
authentic learning, the seamless integration of multiple educational resources, and various modes of
delivery. We see a higher retention rate because learners are helped to really connect with the
information—visuals and interactivity help concepts ‘stick’.
Stimulating Engagement
Content providers can do a number of things to stimulate engagement:
 Present opportunities for active learning at various stages in the lesson.
 Provide clear presentation and progressive sequencing with opportunities for learners to
demonstrate their knowledge. These ideas are key to engagement and maintaining children’s commitment to the lesson.
 Follow periods of presentation with a discussion or activity in order to break up the lesson and
give children time to process and reflect on ideas.
 Provide opportunities for learners to actively participate. This gives each learner increasingly
more ownership of the content and the lesson.
 Provide opportunities for learners to demonstrate their understanding. Help learners celebrate
their achievements.
 Present the same information in different ways. Make the most of the multi-modality of the
solution. You can engage learners by addressing different learning styles and accommodating
visual, auditory and tactile preferences.
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Personalized Feedback
Students become motivated and engaged with their learning when they are given personalized
feedback. With LRS the teacher can provide instantaneous feedback, when learners need it most.
 Prompt teachers to exploit LRS devices where immediate feedback is valuable or where multiple
learners could be given a ‘voice’.
 Help teachers extract meaningful feedback from learners. This will empower them to intervene
and identify what isn’t working, or who needs help, before it’s too late.
 Ensure your materials are editable so that teachers can adapt the content to address the needs
that their learners communicate to them.
 Employ effective questioning strategies as an integral part of the lesson. This includes prompting
teachers to encourage learners to ask effective questions—help construct an environment
where learners help themselves to build knowledge instead of trapping them in an environment
of didactic presentation. Give students some responsibility for their own learning.
By promoting engagement among learners you can help it become a more engaging process for the
teacher. By increasing variety, and by helping them adopt a role of facilitator, you can help teachers
spend less time thinking about the information they are presenting and more time evaluating and
responding to student needs. It is also rewarding and motivating for teachers to see their learners more
motivated and successful. If you can engage and motivate the teacher, it will have a positive effect in the
classroom.
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STRUCTURE
Storyboarding
The most effective way to ensure your content is robustly structured is to storyboard thoroughly before
development begins. We’ve supplied a storyboard template to assist content producers designing
ActivLessons in ActivInspire.
Double-click the link below to launch and save the storyboard template to your hard drive.
Some of the key questions you need to address during the storyboarding process are as follows:
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What are the aims and objectives of the content?
How will the teacher interact with the materials and with learners?
How will learners interact with the materials and each other?
What are the intended learning outcomes?
How will you communicate the success criteria?
What software features and functionality will be used?
How will each page be laid out for accessibility?
What system of navigation will you use?
What tools and buttons will you include on each page?
What supplementary materials will you embed?
What images, videos, audio files or other media will you use?
What methods of assessment and review will you include?
Will you integrate off-board activity into the lesson?
How will you achieve an effective blend of presentation and meaningful interaction?
Where you plan to outsource development to a third party, it’s absolutely fundamental that you think through every aspect of the design and don’t leave any decisions which may affect product usability or pedagogical value, to the developer. Because of the nature of interactive whiteboard technology, what
may seem like a minor design error or oversight can massively impact the suitability of your product for
your intended users.
We recommend that all developers familiarize themselves with at least the Accessibility section of the
Guide before beginning their first interactive whiteboard content project.
Some other points you should consider during the storyboarding and content structuring process are as
follows.
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 Users rely on a good system of navigation so they can access different sections of your materials
with ease.
 Only so much interactive whiteboard content can be taught in a single lesson. Think about how
long it takes to teach your materials in a whole-group context allowing time for student
response and personalized teaching. It is better to supply a number of smaller Flipcharts than
one Flipchart which is too long to teach in a single lesson—remember that whole-group
activities generally take longer to complete than self study materials because of increased
student interaction and participation. A single discussion or activity page may take in excess of
ten minutes to complete.
 Content should be structured into bite-size chunks to help users repurpose the materials if they
wish—cover no more than one concept per page. Organizing information into chunks helps
learners process and remember it, and also has the effect of simplifying your design.
 It is better to break information-heavy pages down into smaller discrete chunks of learning.
Learners will better engage with three spacious, well-balanced pages rather than a single
cluttered page.
 Don’t cover too many areas of new learning in a single Flipchart. This may result in a lack of clarity and focus. It is much better to break one long Flipchart down into three more concise
Flipcharts and focus on a single learning objective per Flipchart. This will help teachers
disaggregate and re-use individual Flipcharts to recap specific topics, or to re-purpose Flipcharts
within different topics if they feel this is appropriate.
 Disclose information progressively and move from the familiar to the unfamiliar in clear and
logical stages. Only display information which is immediately relevant. If users aren’t ready to process all of the information they are faced with, the excess will become ‘noise’. Designing to this principle will prevent information overload and will contribute to a clean user friendly
design. As long as users are presented with information at the point of need, they will perceive
it to be more relevant and will be able to process it more readily.
 Information presented at the beginning or the end of a section is statistically more likely to be
remembered than information presented in the middle.
 Aim for a good balance of background activities, knowledge presentation, practice activities, and
assessment and progress review activities.
o Include activities which introduce concepts and allow the evaluation or recall of prior
knowledge.
o Include activities which stimulate interest and provide a bridge to the main concepts.
o Include development activities which allow for demonstration, modeling, illustration,
presentation, prediction, explanation, error correction, application, synthesis,
evaluation, and practice.
o Include whole-group interactive activities, including those which promote effective
review of progress and learning.
o Include activities which may be completed by small groups or individuals at or away
from the interactive whiteboard.
o Alternate between periods of presentation and interaction; and include different media
types to accommodate a variety of learning preferences.
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 Interactive whiteboard content should offer flexibility in both the path through the content and
in how activities are delivered. Include a variety of different activity types that challenge
learners in different ways and involve various degrees of teacher support.
 Teachers should be able to assess progress and respond on-the-fly. They may need to revisit
previous areas of the lesson to recap key concepts. The lesson should provide ample
opportunities for teachers to elicit feedback and response from students.
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DEVELOPING WITH ACTIVINSPIRE FOR THE
ACTIVCLASSROOM
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ACTIONS
One of the most powerful features in ActivInspire is that which enables an author to assign actions, or
behaviors, to objects. When a user clicks on the object/s, the action or behavior that you have assigned
to that object will occur. For example, a sound will play, the user will be taken to a different Flipchart
page, or a hidden object will become visible. This enables you to create an extremely rich and interactive
learning environment.
The actions in ActivInspire are presented in five different categories:
Command Actions
Use Command Actions to enable a tool such as
the Clock; or to issue a command such as Close
Flipchart when you click on an action object.
Page Actions
Use Page Actions to insert or clear a page, change
the background, or help users quickly navigate
around the Flipchart.
Object Actions
Use Object Actions to change the size, alignment or
position of an object so that when you click on an
action object, either the target object or the action
object itself is changed.
Document/Media Actions
Use Document/Media Actions to launch a file,
document or sound from an object.
Voting Actions
Use Voting Actions to start or stop a vote, launch a quick poll, or export results to Excel.
All actions are assigned through the Action Browser.
Some actions require you to add Action Properties, which are shown when applicable at the bottom of
the Action Browser. For example, the Size Top Incrementally action allows you to provide a target
object and a Y property, which allows you to specify the amount of sizing that will occur on the target
object (in pixels).
If you select more than one object, you can use the Action Browser to apply the same action to all
objects in the selection at the same time.
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If part-way through development you forget what pages and objects you’ve assigned actions to, just
switch to Design Mode. This temporarily disables all actions and identifies your action objects with a red
outline.
Some legacy actions are no longer supported in ActivInspire. For a list of the actions no longer supported
refer to page 155 of the Guide.
A full list of the actions available in ActivInspire can be found on page 121.
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CUSTOMIZING THE DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT
When you launch ActivInspire, the tools you see are based on a profile file. As you are using ActivInspire,
your profile is updated based on your behaviors. For example, when you dock or roll in the Browser,
ActivInspire makes a note in the profile so next time you launch the application, it will remain docked.
You can continue to work with this profile, or select Edit > Profiles to create and save one or more
profiles of your own.
You can create different profiles for different projects and save your preferences in as many profiles as
you wish. You can also transfer you profiles to another computer. Your personal profiles are stored in
the My Profiles folder. You can easily switch between them by clicking the Switch Profiles button.
You can customize almost anything in ActivInspire. To make this a simple process, we’ve grouped
everything into four major categories—each category is represented by its own tab in the Edit Profiles
dialog box.
Layout
Choose the position, visibility and behavior of items such the Main Toolbox,
Menu bars and Document tabs.
Commands
Personalize the Main Toolbox and Marquee and Sizing Handles by adding or
removing items.
User Defined Buttons
Create your own shortcuts to actions of your choice.
Settings
Customize your Learner Response settings, math tools, multimedia objects,
and many other settings.
Along with a selection of profiles for teaching at the interactive whiteboard, ActivInspire also includes a
default ‘Authoring’ profile. You can select and use this profile or adapt it.
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DESIGNING WITH TEMPLATES
The best way to produce consistently high-quality content in the most efficient way is to create your
own project templates. By setting up standard pages in ActivInspire and saving them to the ActivInspire
Resource Browser, you will avoid having to create every subsequent new page from scratch.
Templates have two main benefits:
1. Frequently appearing page elements such as logos and buttons are positioned in the same place on
every page giving your product a professional and consistent feel.
2. You save time and effort—you have to create the basic content layout one time only, rather than
each and every time you create a new page.
Example Project
You might decide to set up three basic templates for use throughout your project.
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Text/Picture layout with header text
Graphic Organizer
Multiple-choice voting layout
Each page requires the same logo, the same user controls, and the same page background.
Let’s assume you also intend to give each page a title. Step 1
You should build the first page, ‘Text/Picture layout with header text’, and make sure you are happy
with the positioning of your logo, chosen background, buttons, header text and the text/picture boxes.
Remember to test how it looks when projected onto an interactive whiteboard before proceeding. At
this stage it’s vital to ensure your color schemes and text elements are legible in the classroom. If you
make mistakes in your templates, this will be difficult to correct later on.
Lock all of these standard elements in place.
Step 2
When you’ve created a basic page layout, you can save it to your Resource Browser. Select the folder in
the Resource Browser that you want to save your template to and then right-click on the Flipchart page.
Select from the popup menu Add to Resource Library > Add Page.
Step 3
To create your next page, ‘Graphic Organizer’, you should drag from the Resource Library the first page
you created.
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In Design Mode, you can delete the text and picture boxes and replace it with a graphic organizer
layout.
You can also edit your title text before locking the new page elements in place and saving your new page
to the Resource Library.
This will provide you with two pages featuring consistently positioned graphical elements, the second of
which will take much less time to create than the first page.
Step 4
Create your third page, ‘Multiple-choice voting layout’ in exactly the same way.
On this page, you might decide to include an icon to indicate that this is a voting page and a button to
enable the user to start/stop a voting session.
You can add these elements by dragging directly to the Flipchart Page from another application (e.g.,
Photoshop) or from a folder on your computer.
You can now create multiple pages containing a wide range of content from your three basic templates.
ActivInspire Page Browser
The ActivInspire Page Browser is a great tool for creating consistent content layouts rapidly.
By dragging elements from a Flipchart page to the thumbnail preview of another page in the Page
Browser, they will be copied to the new page in an identical position. You can select and copy multiple
objects at the same time using Ctrl + click.
Actions and properties that you assigned to the original object will also apply to any copies of that
object. So if your original object was locked, the new object will also be locked.
Just as you are able to select multiple objects on the Flipchart page using Ctrl + click, you can also select
multiple-pages in the Page Browser. This will enable you to quickly edit your Flipchart structure and reorder, delete, or copy and paste more than one Flipchart page at any one time.
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FILE-NAMING
If content is well named and well organized, teachers will find it easier to find relevant resources. A
teacher might for example need to rapidly access a particular Flipchart to recap a concept in the middle
of another lesson. Whether he/she can do this is dependent on how intuitive your system of
organization is.
If you are installing your content to the ActivInspire Resource Library, this should be well-organized and
it should reflect the structure of the whole product. Flipchart names should provide an accurate
description of each item. Good naming conventions will help teachers quickly access your content and it
will also assist you in the management and maintenance of your files.
Numbering
In the Resource Library, files are listed alphanumerically. Files beginning with numbers will appear in the
list before files beginning with letters. Files beginning with a low number will be listed before files
beginning with a higher number. This means that if you have a collection of ten files, and you intend to
use numbering to indicate order, you should ensure file names take the form ‘nn’ followed by a meaningful descriptor.
For example:
01 nouns introduction
02 verbs introduction
03 adjectives introduction
04 nouns practice
05 verbs practice
06 adjectives practice
07 nouns review
08 verbs review
09 adjectives review
10 nouns verbs adjectives summary
If you omit the initial zero in each file name, the files will be displayed to the user in a way that disrupted
the intended order, as follows:
1 nouns introduction
10 nouns verbs adjectives summary
2 verbs introduction
3 adjectives introduction
4 nouns practice
5 verbs practice
6 adjectives practice
7 nouns review
8 verbs review
9 adjectives review
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Special Characters
Special characters and spaces in filenames can cause a number of problems with sorting. Some
characters may also be interpreted as ‘illegal’ symbols by the operating system. It’s often better to use
an underscore in place of a special character or a space.
To avoid operating system or program conflicts during installation or use, you should follow some basic
file-naming conventions.
Use only numbers, letters and underscore in your file-names and do not use special characters—
the following characters may not display as intended:
. , ; : ! – — = [ ] { } ( ) < > & " / \ | ? *
You should also pay close attention to the length of your filenames. Windows, for example, imposes a
maximum path length of 255 characters. This limit includes the drive letter, directories, subdirectories,
filename, extension and any separating colons and slashes.
If your filenames are too long and result in the maximum path length being exceeded, they may be
truncated, or the files may be installed with the incorrect name. Aim for concise but descriptive filenames, which are no longer than absolutely necessary.
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INTERACTIVITY FEATURES IN ACTIVINSPIRE
There are many features in ActivInspire which are designed for to help developers make rich and
interactive content quickly. Here is a summary of some of the core features we use frequently in our
own content.
Action On/Off toggles
In ActivInspire, many of the actions are toggle on/off functions. In previous versions of the software you
had to assign two different actions to two different objects to make another object visible and then
invisible again. In ActivInspire, you can simply assign a single action: Hidden which makes it easy to
develop interactive elements quickly. You should assign the action to a button and then assign a target
for the action, that is, the object whose visibility you want to toggle. Alternatively, you can apply the
action to the object itself, as we have done in this example, below.
Note: it is good practice to manually assign a target even when the target is ‘self’.
In this activity, users are instructed to roll the dice and then click the corresponding box to reveal an
image for discussion. When this image has been discussed, users can click the image, hide it again, and
then roll the dice to determine the next image for discussion. A game of Concentration can be
developed in exactly the same way.
This toggle functionality works for a whole range of actions, not just show/hide; this makes it easy to
provide quick-links to tools which users might find useful for a particular activity. For example, in the
activity shown, we have provided a button which quickly shows and hides the ActivInspire Zoom Tool.
We have also provided a button to toggle Page Notes visibility. You can provide quick links to many
other tools and functions such as Snap to Grid, in the same way.
Remember to provide information about these functions in Page Notes. Don’t assume that users know
that the buttons toggle: as well as informing them that they can click the Zoom Tool button to launch
this tool, you should also tell them they can hide it again by clicking the button for a second time.
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Blockers
A Blocker is a special type of ActivInspire Restrictor, which does what it says; it blocks the movement of
other objects. You should simply create and select the object that you want to become a blocker and
then view the Restrictors section in the Property Browser. Change the Can Block property to True in
order to make your object block other objects. You could use the blocker property to prevent a sliding
box moving beyond a certain point.
In this example we have three statements and students must decide whether they are true or false.
They are currently all set to false; however two are in fact true. Students must slide the black rectangles
to indicate which statements they think are true.
Below is what the page looks like in Design Mode; the blockers become visible. We have added two
rectangle shapes to the page which we have made blockers by selecting both objects and choosing
Property Browser > Restrictors > Can Block = True. Both objects were then locked and made invisible by
selecting Property Browser > Appearance > Visible = False.
The black sliders are restricted to horizontal movement but not locked. The sliders can now only move
within the true/false boxes.
It is also very easy to create a simple maze using blockers. You can
create a maze graphic with transparent paths or you can simply use
the Line Tool to define your maze borders.
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Note: if you chose to use a graphic, you must select it and from Property Browser > Miscellaneous
ensure that both Transparent and Pick Through are set to True. If Pick Through is not set to True, users
will not be able to move their ActivPen or mouse cursor between the borders, and thus won’t be able to drag the object through the maze.
In the example here, we have used the Line Tool to create the maze; in this instance it is important to
not group the elements of the maze as this will create a master group border, effectively blocking the
shape from entering the maze.
Labels
In ActivInspire, new labeling functionality makes it
easy for you to provide labels for images and other
objects in your content. You can choose whether
the labels are permanently visible or whether you
want them to only appear on mouse over.
ActivInspire labels are great for revealing
information or further knowledge about an image,
or helping a teacher build the picture gradually.
To add a label to an object, launch the Property
Browser by clicking View > Browsers, select the
item on the Flipchart page that you
want to apply a label to and then
scroll down in the Property
Browser to the Label tab. Enter the
text for your label in the Caption
box and then customize the label’s properties, such as font, color, and
whether it has a background by
using the other drop-down options.
Change whether the label appears
constantly or on mouse-over only
by selecting Always on or Tooltip in
the Behavior drop-down. We
would recommend you select a
background color for labels as it can
be difficult to read the text if it is placed over an image containing different colors. Also, make sure the
label is legible and can be read by those it’s intended for. Also, remember the same rules apply about
font embedding and you should only select fonts which you know are present on all potential operating
systems, otherwise your selected font will be substituted by one present on the user’s computer; this
may have unexpected results for formatting, layout, and legibility. You can drag the caption to change its
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position within the bounds of the image. The image shows what users see when they hover their
ActivPen over the image on an ActivBoard.
Containers
As the name implies, containers are objects that can contain other objects. You would use this feature
to create activities that rely on objects being recognized and then accepted or rejected by another
object. Any object that does not match the container’s preferences is rejected whenever somebody
attempts to place it into the container.
Containers can be a useful development tool; they can help you create advanced interface elements and
objects in your content. However, if you plan to use a container as an integral feature of a lesson design,
you should exercise some caution; think very carefully about how and when containers add value to the
learning experience and when they might actually dilute it.
Consider the pedagogy of whole-group interactive learning and the benefits of the ActivClassroom.
Students are able to learn though higher levels of cognitive interaction with their peers; by being able to
discuss and justify their approach, and learn through the process of negotiation and reflection. The
automation of returning incorrect answers deflects students’ accountability for their own learning – no
thought is required in order to successfully complete an activity. Success can and will be achieved by
random clicking and dragging.
There are many pedagogical benefits to allowing learners to get things wrong. Students are able to learn
from their mistakes if they are given the chance to revaluate and reflect on their initial response; or if
they are able to discuss as a group why a particular answer was wrong and explain why they may have
been led to think otherwise; or if they are able to change their mind; or physically correct their mistakes.
When it prevents learners from making mistakes, self-correcting content can deny students a valuable
learning opportunity and it can deny teachers the chance to teach – the content holds all the cards
rather than teachers and learners. As such, we choose not to exploit the container property in any
activity where the objective is to assess progress or knowledge. We feel that used in this context, it is to
the detriment of learning and this is in direct conflict with effective interactive whole-group strategies.
The teachers’ role is crucial—they are there to steer this whole process and respond to their students in
real-time by correcting misconceptions, and prompting higher-level thinking and cognitive engagement.
Effective interactive whiteboard content will facilitate this and empower the teacher.
The following types of activity may add no value:


An activity where learners are asked to sort terms or statements into correct categories, and
terms placed in the wrong category then snap back—for example sorting statements into
True/False columns.
A cloze activity where learners are asked to fill the gaps in a passage of text using words that
have been provided.
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
A labeling activity where labels are provided and learners have to move them to the correct
placeholder on the diagram. Labels placed incorrectly will then snap back—for example labeling
the parts of a plant, or a life-cycle diagram.
The activity shown above does not in fact use containers; we allow learners to place labels in the wrong
position. The size of the boxes provides learners with some guidance. These activities have more scope
and potential in whole-group interactive whiteboard teaching if they do not self-correct—if we disregard
the container property, learners can be more effectively assessed by the teacher, who will better
understand where the gaps in knowledge exist. Teachers will then be able to exploit the opportunities
for further learning which may arise; this enables them to clarify concepts or re-teach the big ideas. The
process of automating a response in the content also denies learners the opportunity to share thinking,
rationalize and reflect on their response, and co-construct knowledge though discussion and
negotiation.
We may consider using containers in the following scenarios where we deem they have potential to add
value or help teach new concepts:
Example 1:
In a starter or plenary game – if learners are split into teams, individuals share accountability for the
performance of their team which encourages them to think through and justify their response and share
their thinking with the team. Teams can be awarded a point for every correct response and deducted a
point for incorrect responses; incorrect response can be discussed as a group. The objective will be to
introduce or reinforce big ideas.
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Example 2:
To help introduce or teach knowledge which learners have not already been taught and would not
already be expected to know. This can make new concepts more memorable and presents an alternative
method of presenting new information. Rather than being passive recipients of a didactic presentation,
students are prompted to actively acquire knowledge and physically engage with the learning process.
One example is an activity which introduces the topic of magnetism to young learners. One side of the
page features a large magnet which has been made into a container. The other side of the page contains
a collection of images of different objects, half of which are magnetic, half of which aren’t. The magnet graphic is set to contain only the magnetic objects, which have been assigned the keyword,
‘magnetic’. Through experimentation, learners can learn which objects ‘stick’ and start to draw conclusions about how the materials properties relate to magnetism.
Before the concept of magnetism is fully introduced, learners could not be expected to know which
objects will stick. Some learners, however, may have some prior knowledge or be in a position to make
predictions, so the benefits of this activity are two-fold—learners are introduced to new information in a
memorable format that requires active participation; plus, they are given a chance to demonstrate what
they currently know or how they think. Both of these factors inform subsequent teaching and help the
teacher move forwards.
A similar activity may involve learners sorting objects into different waste receptacles to introduce the
concept of recyclable materials. Learners would be able to drop recyclable items in a green recycle bin,
but any non-recyclable items would bounce back out. They can be asked to explain the criteria they are
using for sorting the items and predict why any unexpected results may have occurred; the teacher can
respond by steering further discussion about the process of recycling, the properties of materials, or
even issues relating to social responsibility.
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Example 3:
Finally, you could have a sequencing activity where four items should be sorted in order from one to
four. Each item in the sequence is placed inside a rectangular container leaving plenty of white space for
learners to write a summary of each the stage in the sequence by annotating the relevant box. The
annotations will be moved as each stage is repositioned, sticking in the correct box.
As well as having a range of valuable applications in lesson design, containers can also be used as a
handy development tool. For example, by using the container property instead of grouping, you can
provide users with drag-on boxes which might have a number of different functions; because they use
containers not grouping they remain easy to edit and can provide extra functionality.
Example 4:
You can provide a drag-on scratch pad where users can make notes and record ideas without this being
the main focus of the activity. By making the drag on boxes containers, users can drag them out and add
their own notes whenever they like.
The scratch pad could also contain a supplementary activity a T-Chart so learners can provide arguments
for and against a particular debate. This can be stored off the page and dragged on when the
appropriate.
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Example 5:
You can provide pre-made sliding storage boxes where
items which may be needed in an activity are stored off
the page until needed. In the example below, alien
pieces are stored in sliding menus and the alien body
parts can be dragged from the storage boxes when
needed to enable learners to create their own alien on
the page. Here, the storage boxes have been created
and then made Containers. They have also been
restricted to horizontal movement. We have assigned
the Drag a Copy property to each alien body part and
then dragged the body parts into the relevant
containers. The objects then ‘stick’, which means that
users can pull-out the sliding menus at any time and
then drag a copy of the item they want to use into the
activity area. All the menus are stored neatly off the
page when not in use and prevent cluttering up the page
and stealing activity real-estate.
Creating containers:
There are three types of containers:
1. Those that accept anything.
2. Those that accept specific objects.
3. Those that accept objects with specific keywords.
The rules applicable to both types of container are as follows:
o
o
o
o
Annotations can’t be made into containers.
Objects to be contained must be either…  On a higher layer than the container.
 Higher is the stacking order on the same layer as the container.
Containers can contain other containers enabling you to create nested containers.
Annotations that are drawn over a container object are automatically contained.
Creating your container is simple – decide what shape or graphic you want to make the container and go
to Property Browser > Container.
In the Can Contain drop-down, select Anything, Specific Object, or Keywords.
If you select Anything, the container will contain anything dragged into it.
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If you select Specific Object, you must nominate the object which it can contain—set this in the Contain
Object drop-down.
If you select Keywords, you must list the keywords that the container will accept. List these in the
Keyword Editor, which is launched when you click the button next to the Contain Keyword field. You
must make sure that you assign this keyword, or a set of keywords on the object or objects you want to
be contained. You can accomplish this by selecting the objects you want to be containers in Property
Browser > Container > Identification, enter the keywords using the Keyword Editor that appears when
you click the button by the Keywords field.
All specific objects which you want to return if they are dragged into any other object, which is not its
designated container, should also take the property return if not contained: Property Browser >
Container > Return if not Container = True.
Drag a Copy
Drag a Copy is a useful feature for when you want users to be
able to drag the same object repeatedly. Instead of duplicating
the source object and creating a stack, you can simply right-click
on the object you wish to be duplicated and select from the popup menu Drag a Copy. Note: Dragged copies will take the
properties of the source object so make sure you don’t lock or restrict your source object, or it will not be possible to drag
duplicates.
An example of Drag a Copy can be seen in the Alphabet Cubes activity here.
Each letter cube can be dragged an unlimited amount of times to enable learners to create words.
We have also used Drag a Copy in this Dual-User symmetry activity. User A can drag colored blocks of
their choice on to the grid to create a pattern of their choice. User B can create the reflection by
dragging the correct blocks to the other side of the line of symmetry.
Another example might be a Math activity where you
have a list of equations which are missing the
operands. By assigning the Drag a Copy property to
operand symbols on the page, learners can drag and
drop the symbols to complete the equations.
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Layers and Stacking
ActivInspire has four layers and each object type has its own default layer:
Top Layer
By default, this layer contains all annotation objects that are made using the
Pen, Highlighter and Magic Ink tools. Such objects display on top of any other
objects placed on the lower layers.
Middle Layer
By default, this layer contains images, shapes and text objects.
Recognized annotations are automatically converted to text objects and placed
on the middle layer.
These objects are displayed below (or underneath) any object placed on the top
layer but are displayed above (or over) the top of any object placed on the
bottom layer.
Bottom Layer
Initially empty, the bottom layer can contain connectors and any object which is
physically placed on it.
Background Layer
The background layer consists of three elements:

Background page color

Background image (optional)

Grid (optional)
In addition, you can place any other objects on the background layer, whereupon they will become
locked on the background and will appear below all objects on the other layers.
If the background layer contains a background image, the way the image fills the page is dictated by its
Background Fit property.
To change the layer of an object, select the object on the page and go to the Appearance section of the
Property Browser. Here you will find the Layer drop-down menu, from which you can nominate the
appropriate layer for your object.
Additionally, objects on each layer are allocated a position in the ‘stack’ according to the order in which they are added to the page. Each successive object is placed on top of the preceding one within its own
layer. Think of it as a pack of playing cards, where you must take a card out of the pack and place it on
top in order to view it. The most recently placed object on a page is on top of the stack. To change an
object’s position in a layer stack, select the object and right-click. You can then choose to Bring to Front
or Send to Back—there are also options to Move Backwards or Move Forwards, which moves the
object one place up or one place down in the stacking order.
You can make use of layers and stacking in many different ways when developing content.
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Example 1:
Magic Ink applies to objects on the Top Layer. You can move objects from the Middle Layer to the Top
Layer in order to make them transparent when Magic Ink is applied to them. This example allows
students to explore the Dinosaur’s stomach contents in order to draw conclusions about whether dinosaurs were carnivores or herbivores.
The stomach background and
the stomach contents have
been placed on the Middle
Layer while the Dinosaur
image has been placed on the
Top Layer. The Magnifying
glass, which is made from a
normal graphic grouped with a
Magic Ink object, also sits on
the Top Layer and has been
brought to the front so it sits
in the uppermost position on
the page.
Example 2:
In this example, we’ve placed a stack of jumbled up words on the Middle Layer. We have applied a Send
to Back action to each object in the stack, assigning a target one each to ‘self’. When the user clicks each
object, it is sent to the bottom of the stack. Each object remains on the Middle Layer but the user can
cycle infinitely through the jumbled up words. This can also be used with stacks of images, for example
to show the stages in a process such the four-stroke engine cycle. To replicate this, you should select the
top object in your stack and go to Action Browser > Object Actions > Send to Back. Assign the Target,
which is the object itself, and remember to Apply Changes or the action won’t ‘stick’.
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Example 3:
In this example, we’ve changed the stacking order of the objects on the page so that correct statements
are highlighted as students move them. Students should drag statements from behind the red panel into
the orange panel. After discussing whether they think each is true or false they can reveal the answer by
dragging the statement down to the green panel. Correct answers will remain visible and sit in the green
true box, false statements will disappear behind the green panel indicating that they are false.
Here the red panel is on the Top Layer, the orange panel is on the Bottom Layer and the green panel is
on the Middle Layer. Correct statements have been placed behind the red panel on the Middle Layer –
they have also then been brought to the front so they sit in front of the green panel which also occupies
the Middle Layer. Incorrect statements have been placed on the Bottom Layer – again they have been
brought to the front of this layer to ensure they sit in front of the orange box with which they share this
layer.
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Magic Ink
Magic Ink is a new feature in ActivInspire which makes any Top Layer object ‘invisible’ so that you can see what is underneath it. This can be used by content producers in two ways:
1. It can be used in development to ‘hide’ objects 2. You can assign the Magic Ink action to a button to
enable users to ‘erase’ objects and reveal another item
at run-time, for example an image, or text.
Example 1: hiding objects
You can use Magic Ink to create a scrolling text box.
Enter Design Mode and set up the elements of your
scrolling text box—the box area and the text; select
both objects and go to the Appearance section of the
Property Browser and change Layer to Top.
Lock the box in position: Property Browser > Position >
Locked = True.
Then select the text and restrict its movement to
vertical: Property Browser > Restrictors > Can Move =
Vertically.
You should then select the Magic Ink tool and use the
Width selector to change it to the maximum width –
100. To hide the overflowing text at the top of the
scrolling box, align the Magic Ink tool neatly with the
top border of the box and click once.
You will see that the text underneath the Magic Ink object is
no longer visible. You can then select the middle node on the
right side of the Magic Ink object and stretch it to the right
until all of the text is concealed.
You should also ensure you increase the height of the
Magic Ink object so that it covers the entire Flipchart
page area between the box and the top of the page.
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While the Magic Ink object is still selected, go to the Property Browser and Lock it in position.
Repeat to conceal the text at the bottom of the scrolling box. You can either define a new Magic Ink
object, or copy and paste the previous object. When not in Design Mode, you should now be able to
drag the text up and down without any text spilling out of the box.
Example 2: Magic Ink action
You can create activities in which you provide the Magic Ink tool to users to reveal hidden objects. In
this example, the ‘soil’ graphic has been placed on the Top Layer and we have provided users with an
Eraser button which has the Magic Ink action assigned to it, and an instruction in Page Notes about how
they can use the tool.
Underneath the soil, and placed on the Middle Layer, we have an image of a mole burrow. By selecting
the Magic Ink tool and ‘rubbing’ over the soil, young learners can dig under the soil and see what’s going on in the burrow.
Example 3: A Magic Tool
It’s also possible to provide users with a Magic Tool, such as a magnifying glass, which they can use to
view through the Top Layer, rather than having to click a button and ‘rub’ over the area. To create your tool you will need a graphic with a transparent center, so for example a magnifying glass which has
transparent ‘glass’. Use Magic Ink to totally cover the transparent area, making sure you leave no gaps.
You should then bring the magnifying glass graphic to the Top Layer and select Bring to Front. You
should finally Group the magnifying Glass graphic and the Magic Ink object. You should make sure that
this grouped object is always in front of the object that you want users to view through. Examples of
what you might use this tool for:
Top Layer
Middle Layer
Human body exterior
Human body organs
House exterior
House interior
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Unlabeled diagram
Diagram with labels
Human skin diagram
Human skin cells magnified
Human fingertip
Human finger prints magnified
Garden
Insects in the garden
Page Turn Effects
Another recent addition to ActivInspire is Page Turn Effects. You should use this with caution and where
they add value because it may be nothing more than a distraction in some lessons. But if your product is
a ‘big book’, why not apply a book turn effect to each page to mimic a real book and help reinforce the
book idea to small children?
To apply a Page Turn Effect to the entire Flipchart, start on page one of your Flipchart and select from
the ActivInspire Menu View > Page Turn Effects. You will then be presented with the options for Page
Effects. The most authentic Page Turn Effect for a big book is Page Curl, which is the third option on the
top row. Select this option and
click Done.
Repeat this process on the other
pages in the Flipchart in order to
apply an effect to each
subsequent page.
To remove page turn effects that
you’ve applied, select View >
Page Turn Effects, select None
from the list of Page Turn
options, and click Done. Again,
you need to complete this
process for each individual page
from which you are removing
the Page Turn effect.
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Restrictors
You can use Restrictors to control how objects can move on the page. Restrictors can be used to
illustrate a concept and reflect real life movement, or as a development tool to control how interface
elements can move within a page.
Example 1:
Use Restrictors to illustrate the movement of
the planets around and image of the Sun.
Example 2:
In the example shown, we have restricted the
movements of the beads on the abacus. Every
bead has been restricted to Horizontal
movement. The developer has also made each
bead a Blocker which prevents the beads
passing each other on the abacus rail.
Example 3:
The scrolling panel in this
example has been restricted to
horizontal movement so that the
text remains in position within
the viewer. When restricting
panels like this to horizontal
movement, you should
remember that if users can’t reach the panel, they won’t be able to use it so don’t place horizontally restricted objects
too far up the page. The same
applies to drag on tabs—when
creating a tab that is pulled vertically onto the Flipchart page, this must be placed along the bottom
edge of the page. Tabs placed along the top edge of the page results in an unfriendly interactive
whiteboard activity design.
Example 4:
The bars of the graph have been restricted to vertical
movement. This means users can drag each bar
upwards into position according to results of an
experiment or a poll.
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To restrict an object, select the object that you want to restrict, and go to Property Browser >
Restrictors.
If you want to restrict it vertically or horizontally, select Vertically or Horizontally from the Can Move
drop down menu.
If you want to restrict it along a path, you should first create you path, either draw your path with the
pen tool, or if it is a regular shape path, you can use a Pen Modifier: View > Pen Modifiers.
Note: To select a Pen Modifier, you must make sure you the Pen Tool is the currently selected tool.
When you have your path, select the object you want to move along the path and go Property Browser
> Restrictors and select Along Path from the Can Move drop-down menu. When you select restriction
along a path, you also need to set the path so click the button next to the Move Path field and select
your intended path in the Select Object dialog box. At this point, you can also make the path invisible if
you don’t want users to be able to see it. To do this, select the path and go Property Browser >
Appearance > Visible = False. Also remember to lock the path in position.
Two-Tone Text
A simple but effective design trick is to use
colored text boxes and panels to reveal text. For
example, in this activity we have assigned Drag a
Copy to the nouns in the Singular column. When
they are dragged through the red tunnel, the
Pluralizer, each noun is transformed to its plural
form. This is a result of making the singular form
green and the plural form black.
When the black text is on a
black background it is
invisible. When the text
object is dragged onto the
green background, the black
text becomes visible and the
green text becomes hidden, and vice versa.
The tunnel, and blue squares are on the top layer
and the blue squares have blockers on them so
the text objects can only go through the tunnel,
nowhere else. Everything else is on the middle
layer.
Make sure you stick to ‘safe’ and accessible color
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combinations. Consider user specific difficulties, i.e., colorblindness, and also projector limitations and
light shining on the whiteboard; both may affect color contrast and therefore text legibility. Choose
complementary and highly contrastive color combinations.
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LEARNER RESPONSE SYSTEMS
Promethean's Learner Response Systems (LRS) are creating a buzz in education because of the new
opportunities they offer for student involvement and assessment. Each Learner Response device
gives individual students a voice while equipping teachers with a revolutionary tool for delivering
dynamic lessons tailored to the immediate assessment of student performance. Promethean offers two
Learner Response Systems: ActiVote and ActivExpression.
ActiVote
With A–F voting
capability, ActiVote
makes 100% class
participation fast,
fun and easy.
Students build
confidence with
every vote and can
track their progress
through both instant feedback and scores
tallied over time. Teachers find that
spontaneity enters the classroom with
ActiVote—polling can be performed on
the fly, debate can be initiated at the
drop of a hat, and assessment guesswork
ends. Teachers can download student
results into spreadsheets or lesson plans
so they can see clear achievement
records over time. Students need not
worry about whether they’ll be called on in front of the class.
ActivExpression
ActivExpression turns
question and answer
into query,
communicate and check
comprehension. Full
text-capability enables
students to respond in
full sentences as well as
in other ways.
Response types: Multiple Choice, True/False,
Y/N, Multiple Response, Put in Order, Gap Fill
words, Likert scales, Confidence Checking &
Alphanumeric response.
Text Response: Words, phrases, numbers,
symbols and punctuation (up to 120
characters).
For both devices, you can use the ActivInspire Question Wizard to prepare questions and set
correct answers. Teachers can also display results in different formats. Younger children are
unlikely to have access to ActivExpression devices and voting activities for this category of
users should take the A-F response format.
When designing activities for LRS, make sure that you use ActivInspire Page Notes to their fullest effect.
Teachers shouldn’t have to go looking in the Voting Browser to check the question settings and find out
correct answers.
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Provide full answers to every question in Page Notes. Never assume that users know the answer to the
questions you’re asking.
Neither should you assume that all users have Learner Response systems to hand. It’s important to provide some instruction for differentiation, in particular, guidance on how teachers and students
should proceed if they don’t have access to the devices. You might suggest that teachers ask their students to vote by raising hands. They could also ask for
student volunteers to write answers on the whiteboard. Or they might even engage the class in a group
debate on the topic.
Remember that LRS isn’t all about summative testing. The most effective use of the devices is for
formative feedback. Don’t only use the devices to gather feedback at the end of a lesson—use them
throughout. At every stage of learning it’s beneficial for teachers to get a snapshot of their students’ progress and understanding.
Neither is LRS all about testing knowledge, the devices really can stimulate learning and interactivity by
providing all learners in the class with a voice:
 Use LRS to poll students’ confidence, to assess their own learning, or even to review their own
or their peers’ performance.  Alternatively use LRS as a vehicle for learners to convey their opinion – whether they agree or
disagree with a statement, whether they like or dislike a particular work of art, how a video
stimulus makes them feel: happy, sad, angry, worried, none of the above—there doesn’t have to be a correct answer.
 You can also suggest that LRS is used to collaboratively complete an activity such as a Venn
diagram; or a sorting activity where items should be organized into categories or a sequence.
Recognize that teachers may wish to divert the course of the lesson following a response from learners.
Make it easy for them to jump back to other points in the lesson to review concepts or re-teach.
Providing a good system of navigation and easy access to an interactive menu will cover this
requirement.
Prepared Questions - Using the
Question Wizard
You have two options when creating questions:
1. You can set-up your entire question page via the
Question Wizard and choose a template with which
to ‘skin’ the page.
2. If you want your question page to look and feel
like the rest of your product, you can complete the
design of the page and then add your question
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settings via the Question Wizard afterwards.
Assuming you have designed your questions page, including all of the necessary graphics, logos,
question text, and answers, you should launch the Question Wizard by choosing Insert > Question from
the ActivInspire Menu.
1. On the first screen of
the dialog box, if your
product is aimed at
young children, select
multiple-choice to
ensure the question
works with both
ActiVote and
ActivExpression. If it is
aimed at just
ActivExpression, you can
choose multiple-choice or any other question type. You should also set the number of answer options
on this screen, so if your question has four answer choices, choose 4 from the drop-down menu. Finally
ensure Add question to current page is also ticked.
2. On the second screen, un-tick the option Replace
the page content with a new design. Ticking this
would overwrite your design with one of the
designated templates.
3. On the third screen, simply click Next as you have already added all you question and answer content
to your page.
4. On the fourth screen, tick Assign
correct answers, and then put a tick in
the box next to the correct answer
option—if the correct answer is choice
B, put a tick in box B.
5. Click Finish to return to exit the Question Wizard and return to the Flipchart page.
To check or revise your question options you should select from the ActivInspire Menu Edit > Question
on Current Page.
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MEDIA EMBEDDING
When embedding multimedia, allow teachers to make choices. Give them all the tools they need to
control their experience and that of their learners. This includes providing Stop, Play and Repeat
buttons, and sliders in all embedded multimedia.
Give teachers enough information to make an informed decision before they click. Provide a description
of the multimedia and explain what its purpose is. Always ensure that embedded media has a point and
purpose. Avoid gratuitous multimedia which does not pedagogically enhance your materials or aid
learning.
Preparing Audio
When preparing audio files, take the time to get a decent recording. Any background sounds in the
recording will be difficult to remove later and they will be noticeable in the classroom. Any flaws will be
emphasized when the audio file is saved and compressed so don’t overly compress your files. Never compress audio files multiple times—this removes more data each time, further lowering the sound
quality.
Try to ensure that all audio files play at the same volume and that level differences are not noticeable. If
possible ensure that all audio files are ‘normalized’. It may help if you record all of your audio files in the same session or source sound effects from the same provider. Teachers shouldn’t have to adjust the volume control between sound clips. What may seem like minor differences in volume during
development will be much more noticeable when played through loudspeakers in a classroom.
Preparing Video
When shooting video, avoid excessive movement, zooming and panning. Try to shoot against the
plainest background possible to aid clarity, redrawing and compression. Also select hard cuts rather than
transitions between frames—this will aid general performance.
In addition to Play, Stop and Repeat buttons and volume controls, it’s good practice to include a slider to
enable users to move backwards and forwards through video clips.
Preparing Flash (SWF)
The same applies for SWF files. Always provide media controls in all embedded Flash. Give the teacher
full control of the playback environment and lesson pace. Also avoid prescriptive playback options that
take control away from the user—all interaction should be entirely user driven. This can be as simple as
having a start button on embedded Flash. Ideally nothing should happen until the teacher clicks Play.
Also remember that the experience of interacting with Flash is quite different on a whiteboard than on a
computer with a mouse. Most SWF files are developed for use on a computer and have actions which
are called on the ‘release’ of a button, or ‘mouse release’.
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When developing Flash for use on a whiteboard, call actions on ‘press’; this behavior feels more natural
when working at the interactive whiteboard with an ActivPen—an ‘on-contact response’ is what users
expect from interactive whiteboard content.
It’s a good idea to keep any Flipchart page containing embedded Flash animation or video as simple as
possible. The screen is redrawn on each frame so the more complex your page, the more Flash playback
will start to suffer. It’s better to use a plain page background and avoid including transparency, or
multiple objects on pages containing SWFs of FLVs.
Whichever media type you are using, don’t include automated sounds, such as background loops,
without giving users the option to reduce the volume or mute the sound.
Standardizing File-Formats for Different Operating Systems
Most operating systems support a wide range of different media types, however, when developing
content, you cannot know the precise details of a user’s operating system or what codecs are installed
on every computer.
ActivInspire is now a single piece of software designed to run on all three major platforms—Windows,
Mac and Linux. You should ensure that regardless of the media you are using in your content, the
experience is the same for users on all three platforms.
In ActivInspire, we have standardized the media types ActivInspire supports across all platforms. To
ensure a smooth experience for all users, you should ensure your media files take the following form:
Audio: .wav
Video: .flv
Animation: swf
Images: .jpg, .bmap, .tiff, .gif, .png
Other file formats are not supported in ActivInspire. Note that while most operating systems do support
other formats such as .mp3, .mp4, and .avi, not all of the required codes and installed on all operating
systems.
There are a number of free applications and online services available for converting video files to the
FLV format. You should find one that works for you and experiment with the settings to determine the
best quality/file size trade-off.
We recommend converting all of your images to 24-bit PNGs; we have found this format to provide the
best quality and it also supports transparency.
To prevent users copying your images to another application, drag them into the ActivInspire Resource
Library and then back out of the Resource Library onto the Flipchart Page. This will convert them to
Promethean’s proprietary .as4 format, which cannot be utilized outside of ActivInspire.
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Adding Images
Images can be added to your Flipcharts in a number of ways: via the resource library; by creating your
own snapshots with the camera tool; by selecting Insert > Media and selecting the file for insertion; or
by dragging and dropping the image
directly onto the Flipchart page.
Adding Video and Flash
Video and Flash files can also be added
through the Insert > Media menu, or
they can also be added by selecting
Insert > Link > File from the ActivInspire
menu; this method gives you more
options at the time of insertion such as
whether you want the file to autoplay,
or display the controller.
Typically, we would tick Add link as
Placeholder and Store file in Flipchart.
We would generally make sure
Autoplay remains un-ticked as the
teacher should be able to choose when
to start the video. The same applies for
Loop—it is better to give control of this
to the teacher and let her decide if and
when she wants to replay the video.
You can also choose what image appears in the
placeholder instead of the first frame of the
video, which is often a blank frame. To do this,
click Change Placeholder Image and from the
video preview box which appears, click Replace
Placeholder Image icon when the video reaches
the frame you want to display.
Embedding Flash with Linked Files
If you are inserting a Flash file which depends
on linked files at run-time, the whole directory
can be embedded in the Flipchart so that the
host file has access to all of the other files it needs. To do this, choose Store File + Directory in Flipchart.
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Media File Settings
You can change the settings for your
media files after they have been inserted
into the Flipchart. Select View > Browsers
from the Menu, select your media file on
the Flipchart page, and in the Property
Browser, scroll down to Multimedia.
If you have inserted a Flash animation file
or an FLV video file that you want users to
be able to annotate with the Pen Tool, you should change Force Overlay to False. Note: A Flash
animation file will however lose its interactivity if you elect to do this. A file cannot be annotated and
receive mouse actions simultaneously.
Adding Sound
Sound files can be added to the Flipchart using any of the above methods. Alternatively if you drag and
drop a supported sound file to the Flipchart page, a clickable sound file icon will be placed on
in the Flipchart page. When clicked it will launch the sound controller and play the sound.
Using Insert > Link to embed a sound will again give you more control at the point of
insertion, such as whether the sound controller is displayed or hidden.
We would recommend that if the sound file is a music or speech sample, you do not disable the sound
controller. Allow the teacher maximum control over the experience; she should be able to easily stop or
replay the file at her own discretion.
If the type of sound file is a sound effect such as a
barking dog or a beeping car, it may be more
appropriate to hide the sound controller.
Launching Sound with Actions
Sounds can also be launched from a button or an action.
In the case of the barking dog and the beeping car, it
would make more sense to attach these sounds to
graphics of a dog and a car.
To do this, add your graphic to the Flipchart in the
normal way. Select it, launch the Browser > Actions
Browser, and then select Document/Media Actions
from the drop-down menu. Then chose Open
Document, file or sound and navigate to the sound file
you want to attach to the graphic.
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Remember to Apply Changes to the action when you have chosen the file. After you click Apply
Changes, you will be presented with the Insert File dialog box giving you the change to customize the
settings for the action, including whether the Sound Controller is displayed when the sound begins to
play.
At this stage, select Store File in Flipchart or the file will not be embedded in the Flipchart.
Reward Sounds
ActivInspire also supports Reward Sounds. This refers to a sound which plays when an object is correctly
contained. When you’ve created a container in the usual way, you can assign the reward sound to the
container (not to the items to be contained) through the Container section of the Property Browser.
Embedding Files
When you are embedding a media file, it is very important that you select Store File in Flipchart. The
default state in ActivInspire is to store files externally; if you don’t change this setting when you import the file, it will not be embedded in the Flipchart. The file will remain on your local machine, accessed
during development via a link; it will not be included with the Flipchart when the Flipchart is distributed
to other computers.
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NAVIGATION
You can help your audience use your content by making sure you include an intuitive and accessible
system of navigation. If you get this wrong, it can become a major barrier to effective use. Users should
be able to find their way around your content without constant direction and they should be able to
quickly jump between different points in the lesson.
Menu Page
The first step in establishing a navigation system is to provide some sort of Menu page that contains
links to the main sections in your lesson.
Select each Menu link and go to Action Browser > Page Actions and select the Another Page action. In
the Action Properties > Page Number field, you should enter the page number of the page which you
want each Menu item to jump to when clicked.
Note: If during development you subsequently delete a target page, you will break the navigation. You
will have to assign a new target to your link—users will be returned to Page One of the Flipchart if the
target page can’t be found. For this reason, we recommend that you set up your navigation at the end of the development process, and that you thoroughly check all links while testing your product.
Standard Page Navigation
The second step is to ensure that every page in your Flipchart contains a link back to the menu page.
Along with this, each page should also include buttons which move users from the current page to the
next page and from the current page to the previous page.
When setting up the next and previous page actions, you don’t need to manually assign page numbers.
ActivInspire has two ready-made actions for this purpose.
For next page buttons you can simply assign the Next Page action; Action Browser > Page Actions >
Next Page.
For page back buttons, we would recommend using the Page History Back action rather than the
Previous Page action. While the Previous Page action will take users to the previous page in the
Flipchart’s chronological sequence, the Page History Back action will always take users back to the page
they came from—if they came from the previous page in the chronological sequence it will return them
to this page, but if they came from a quick link on the Menu page, this is the page they will be returned
to. Think of this as functioning in the same way as an internet browser back button.
Navigational Elements
All navigation buttons should be placed well in a user’s reach at the bottom of the page. Ideally, all
navigation devices will be placed in close proximity to each other, preventing the need for users to cross
the interactive whiteboard or stretch to access a particular function.
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When you have set up your buttons on the first page, you can group them and copy them to all
subsequent pages in your Flipchart. If you select Copy and then Paste the buttons onto the target page,
they will be copied to exactly the same page coordinates. The only adjustments you will need to make is
to the final page of your lesson where you should delete the next page button to indicate to users that
there are no further pages in the lesson.
Standalone Pages
Sometime you may want to set up an ‘island page’—this is a page which sits outside of the normal page
sequence and can be accessed at any point in the lesson. A glossary page for example. If this is the case,
remember to include a glossary button on every page of your Flipchart and place it close to the next
page and previous page buttons.
We recommend placing standalone pages of this nature at the end of the Flipchart. We also recommend
including a couple of blank pages between the last page of your Flipchart and any island pages.
Again, you should ensure you assign the Page History Back action to the back button of any island page.
It’s equally important to clearly signal to your users that they need to click this back button to return to
where they were in the lesson. You could also provide a separate clear link on the page for this purpose.
If users were to navigate via the ActivInspire Previous and Next buttons while viewing an island page,
they would be taken to a blank page and lose their orientation in the lesson.
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PRE-FLIGHT
Copyright
Use images from other sources with caution. The developer has a legal responsibility to guard against
breach of copyright. Never use images from an unknown source. Check that free images are free to use
in commercial products and not just for personal use.
Even if you plan to give your product away for free, you are likely to have major difficultly claiming ‘FairUse’, regardless of whether the images are cleared ‘For Educational Use Only’. If the content is distributed to your potential market (for other commercial products/revenue sources), there’s a very good chance that your use would be viewed as an infringement.
If you have any doubt in your mind about the terms under which you can use an image, use a different
one. Digital copyright can be a difficult area and you should ensure you understand this subject fully, or
take legal advice.
Please note, you are not permitted to use images from the ActivInspire Resource Library in your
products due to licensing restrictions.
You can use the Publishing feature of ActivInspire to include you own copyright or credit in your
Flipcharts. For more information on Publishing, refer to page 104 of this guide.
File Size
In general, ActivInspire software should be able to handle large file sizes. However, in order to make
downloading Flipcharts from Promethean Planet easier, we recommend that you do not exceed 100Mb
per Flipchart or Resource Pack.
You can minimize a Flipchart’s file size by ensuring you optimize embedded files, such as images, video,
PDFs, and audio before importing them into the Flipchart.
Resource Packs
Where a product contains multiple Flipcharts, or collections including images or other assets, you may
choose to package your content as a Resource Pack.
A Resource Pack is a self extracting file, proprietary to ActivInspire, which enables users to install your
content to a predefined Resource Library location of your choice, with a single click.
This is useful if you intend to develop multiple products; you can simply create a top-level folder taking
your company or product name, and then install each subsequent product into this folder. Using the
Resource Library you can easily create a tree structure which supports multiple products. Any folder of
resources can become a Resource Pack.
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To create a Resource Pack, first ensure that you are happy with the way the product is structured and
with its location in your own Resource Library (or the Resource Library you will be exporting the
Resource Pack from).
Then in the Resource Browser, simply select the folder of resources you want to export. Right-click and
select Export to Resource Pack, or from the popup menu, select Export to Resource Pack. When the
dialog box opens, browse to where you want to export the folder and type in a name; this will be the
name users see when they download your Resource Pack so make sure this is something meaningful.
You should then click Save. In addition to saving a new Resource Pack, you can also overwrite or extend
existing Resource Packs in this way.
Note: Promethean and its Publisher partners export Resource Packs from the Resource Packs folder on
the root of ActivInspire Shared Resources. Creating and exporting your products from within this folder
will make it easy for users to find and access your resources.
Publishing
When you have finished developing and testing your content, you have the option of protecting it by
using ActivInspire’s Flipchart Publisher feature. This is designed to protect your content and prevents the user editing your content in certain ways, such as prohibiting them from using the Camera Tool to
capture your images.
Be wary of publishing your content with too
much protection as this can easily dilute the
learning experience and limit the value of your
content. If you prevent users from re-saving
the content, this will mean they can’t customize the content to their suit own
requirements, or save and review learners’
work.
Publishing should be used to provide
information about the Publisher and protect
Publisher assets, such as those with copyright
or licensing restrictions, not to prevent users
effectively engaging or getting the full benefit
from your content.
Note: Before you publish your content,
remember to save an unpublished version as any restrictions you enable will also apply to you, the
publisher.
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To access the Flipchart Publisher dialog box, click File > Publish… or Main Menu > Publish…
Testing
When creating content for use on an interactive whiteboard, it’s imperative that testing is viewed as an ongoing process and not something you conduct after development is complete.
Colors, layout, and font legibility should all be tested on an interactive whiteboard at the earliest
possible opportunity. Stand up and move eight meters or more away from your whiteboard to get a true
sense of how users will see your content.
If your product is designed for Windows, Mac and Linux, make sure it is tested on Windows, Mac and
Linux. Pay attention to how your content appears visually, how text is rendered, whether the layout and
alignment is consistent between platforms, and if all links and actions work correctly.
All links should be tested in Presentation Mode on an interactive whiteboard. Any Flipchart which
launches embedded media should also be tested on another computer rather than the machine it was
developed on. This will highlight any files which haven’t been properly embedded.
If you’ve included voting activities with embedded voting settings, make sure you’ve tested your content with the actual devices.
Wherever possible, designate somebody who isn’t close to the product to the test of your Flipcharts. Ask
them to check the functionality, the system of navigation, the spelling and grammar, and the adequacy
of the Page Notes. Have you provided everything they need to work through the materials unaided? Are
any of the instructions ambiguous? Is there scope for misunderstanding? Does a Flipchart lesson achieve
its aim and can it be taught in good time?
Finally test with teachers and test with learners – testing with your intended audience is the only way
you will gain really valid feedback about your product.
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RESOURCE LIBRARY
ActivInspire and Promethean Planet Resources
ActivInspire includes a set of useful teaching resources within its Resource Library. The Resource Library
contains different types of resources, for example, activities, shapes, objects, backgrounds, grids,
graphic files, sounds, and templates.
Promethean Planet also houses a wide variety of resources submitted by various individuals and
organizations.
The media files and premade content (all graphics, backgrounds, activities and templates) included
within the Resource Library and those made available on Promethean Planet are not licensed for
commercial re-use.
Promethean resources—including those made available free of charge to the Promethean user
community—may only be used by teachers for the purpose of teaching. Promethean does not permit
third-parties to use these assets in their own Flipchart content or Resource Packs. Promethean
resources should not be re-uploaded to the Promethean Planet website in any form.
Content producers are free to re-use only the following Resource Library assets only to create new
Flipchart content.



Grids
Shapes
Lines
Promethean makes available a Developer’s Toolkit which includes a set of program icons and voting buttons; this may be used freely by Publishers and Developers to create Flipchart content, including that
which is for commercial resale—however these assets may not be redistributed as part of a new
collection for any purpose, including within a new Resource Pack.
To download the Developer’s Toolkit, you must be a registered member of the Promethean Developer
Network (PDN) http://community.prometheanplanet.com/PDN
Resource Browser as a Development Tool
In addition to offering teachers a wide variety of assets from which to develop their own lessons, the
ActivInspire Resource Library has a number of benefits for content producers as a development tool.
The Browser can be used to store your own assets; those which you intend to use repeatedly
throughout a development—this might include your buttons, logos, graphics and other media files.
Anything you save to the Resource Browser you can then drag into your Flipchart as you need it.
It’s easy to create your own folder structure in the Resource Brower simply by right-clicking. To create a
new folder called ‘Publishers Name’ on the root of the ActivInspire Resource Packs folder, right-click on
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the ActivInspire Resource Packs folder and select New Folder from the pop-up menu. If you intend to
package your product as a Resource Pack, you will be able to do this by creating the structure for the
product in the Resource Browser. You might also find it useful to set up a development folder in which
you can define a working folder of assets for each of your projects.
You can add assets to the folders you create by dragging them from the Flipchart page to the target
folder in the Resource Browser; this also has the effect of converting each asset to ActivInspire .as4 file
format. What this means is that those assets can then only be accessed via ActivInspire and users will be
unable to access you images or media files in their original format, thus preventing them from reusing,
sharing or redistributing your assets for use in other application, or on the web.
The ActivInspire Resource Browser sits in a physical location on your computer or network, which you
can easily access. If you have multiple developers working on your Flipchart projects at any one time,
you might find it useful to point your Resource Browser at a central shared network location so all your
developers can access the same project files and avoid problems with version control.
The default installation location for Shared Resources is…
WINDOWS: C:\Users\Public\Documents\Activ Software\ActivInspire
MAC: /Users/Shared/Promethean/ActivInspire Resources
LINUX: /Var/Promethean/Inspire/Shared Resources
The default installation location for My Resources is…
WINDOWS: C:\Users\YOUR NAME\Documents\Activ Software\ActivInspire
MAC: /Users/YOUR NAME/Documents/Activ Software/ActivInspire/My Resources
LINUX: /Home/YOUR NAME/Documents/Activ Software/ActivInspire/My Resources
You can easily set up an operating system shortcut to the physical location. For example, in Windows 7,
to create a shortcut to the default Shared Resources folder, navigate to
C:\Users\Public\Documents\Activ Software\ActivInspire, select the folder and drag and drop it onto the
Windows Start Menu; this will pin a shortcut to the folder in your Start Menu. Alternatively, you can
right-click on the folder, select Create Shortcut and then store the shortcut in a location of your own
choice.
Once you’ve set up a short-cut, it’s easy to bulk copy assets to the Resource Library through the operating system, for example, through Windows Explorer.
Note: Copying assets to the Resource Browser in this way doesn’t convert them to Promethean’s proprietary .as4 format so in order to protect them before you include them in a Flipchart or Resource
Pack, ensure you drag them into the Resource Browser to perform the file conversion, and then back out
of the Resource Browser when you wish to use them.
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Files dragged into to the Resource Browser will be given the default name Resource.as4. To rename the
file, right-click on its thumbnail in the Resource Browser Preview Window and select Rename Resource
File from the popup menu
Settings
You can customize ActivInspire in many different ways. To ensure that selected tools and features
always behave in a predefined way, you can set up and save your preferences in one or more profiles.
Note: Most ActivInspire settings are user-specific and will not be saved into the Flipchart.
Upgrading
Developers can check for updates to ActivInspire through the software. In the Menu, select Help >
Check for Updates. If your software or drivers are out of date, you will be prompted to upgrade. You can
also check for updates through the ActivInspire dashboard (Figure 1); in ActivInspire select View >
Dashboard > Configure > Check for Updates.
Promethean occasionally releases patches and other updates so we recommend you check for updates
periodically.
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THE ACTIVCLASSROOM, PROMETHEAN PLANET, PDN,
TRAINING AND SUPPORT
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THE ACTIVCLASSROOM
Here is an introduction to the ActivClassroom by Promethean and all of its components. As a content
producer who has elected to develop educational content with Promethean or for Promethean’s technologies, you can develop richer, more fit for purpose content by exploring all of the components of
the ActivClassroom and understanding how they work in unison.
Not all users of your content will have all of the components – you should assume that the basic set up
in any classroom includes and whiteboard, the ActivInspire software and nothing more. However, other
classrooms will have the full range of components, and other classrooms will have different
combinations of components. If you understand what these devices are and how they work, you can
provide suggestions for differentiation in your content for users with these enhancing devices.
ActivBoard
An interactive whiteboard or IWB is a large interactive display that
combines the simplicity of a whiteboard, with the power of a
computer and front projection.
The ActivBoard interactive whiteboard enables anything that can be
seen or done on a computer screen to be projected onto the large
display.
The ActivBoard picks up the wireless ActivPen and is fully integrated with the ActivInspire software and
all of Promethean’s other interactive tools. Unlike some other interactive whiteboards, the ActivBoard
detects a ‘hover state’ and not just a click. This enables users to hover over icons with the ActivPen to
reveal their function, or fully exploit drop-down Flash menus where the full menu expands on ‘mouse over’.
The ActivBoard comes in a number of different sizes and formats:
78 inches 4:3
87 inches 16:10
95 inches 16:9
The most common ActivBoard and that in the largest number of classrooms in the 78 inch ActivBoard;
however, most sales are now for the 87 and 95 inch wide format ActivBoards. This may inform the
decision of whether you want to develop at 4:3 resolution optimized for the 78 inch format, or at 16:9
for the 87 inch format, which is the largest selling of the two wide format interactive whiteboards.
Promethean still develops for the 78 inch ActivBoard at a resolution of 1024 x 768.
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Learner Response Systems (LRS)
Each Learner Response device gives individual students a voice while equipping teachers with a valuable
tool for evaluating student performance. Teachers can choose from three different systems, dependent
on the age of children in their class and the level of feedback required.
ActivExpression
ActivExpression is the world’s most versatile student response system with full sentence and character texting options, providing students with a
vast range of response types, and providing teachers and content
developers with opportunities to
evaluate student progress in
innovative new ways
ActiVote
ActiVote empowers younger students to take an active role in their
own learning and enables educators to connect with an entire class,
while teaching based on the needs of individuals. ActiVote has six
buttons, A-F, enabling content developers to provide questions or
activities with up to six response options. This might be a multiple
choice question, or a Likert scale, or a sorting activity.
ActivEngage
ActivEngage is a software-based Learner Response System. In
schools that have invested in 1:1 laptop initiatives, mobile laptop
carts, or computer labs for learners, ActivEngage extends the use of
these computers for whole-group instruction.
ActivSound
Without proper classroom acoustics, student attention, behavior,
speech perception, and comprehension all decline; the disconnection
is even worse for learners with reduced hearing.
If a student can’t hear, they can’t connect with the instructor, their
peers, or the knowledge being shared. ActivSound narrows the gap
between student and teacher, and student and lesson. Wireless
teacher microphones and classroom speakers remove barriers caused
by ambient noise and distance.
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Passing around the microphone encourages classroom conversation and helps everyone focus attention
on the current speaker. When integrated with ActivInspire, ActivSound can be used to record students’ audio contributions and save them into your ActivLesson; this may be a summary of a lesson, a debate,
key points, pronunciation, phonics, or narration.
Interactive Tools
Promethean offers a diverse family of interactive tools for teachers to use with their ActivBoard and
Learner Response Systems. To make the most of their ActivClassroom, teachers need to make sure they
provide their students with the best tools for the task in hand. The range of peripheral devices listed
below helps teachers tailor their classroom experience to the individual goals and needs of their class.
ActivArena
With ActivArena, two people can use the ActivBoard simultaneously.
The person with the ‘teacher pen’ has overall control. The upgrade
pack includes a set of pens and an update for the ActivInspire
software to make dual-functionality possible. The ActivArena pack is
available for most* existing ActivBoards (*ActivBoard 64, 78, 87, 95).
ActivPen
Teachers told us they found that touch-sensitive screens could be
temperamental. Educational specialists told us children’s writing is best developed by holding and using a pen from a young age. So
Promethean designed a unique battery-free, wire-free ActivPen.
The ActivPen behaves just like a pen and a mouse both at the same
time – the button on the pen gives quick access to menus and it behaves just like a right-mouse click.
The ActivPen integrates with ActivInspire: choose different pen color and widths using the ActivInspire
text options and switch quickly between them.
ActivPanel
ActivPanel is an ideal tool if the classroom or lecture hall is too large, or
just not suitable for an ActivBoard. The 15-inch LCD mini-board plugs
straight into a computer and whatever is on the computer’s screen shows up on the ActivPanel. Teachers can then use a pen-like stylus to control the
ActivInspire software and interact with your content, which can then be
projected onto any size screen in razor-sharp detail.
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ActivRemote
ActivRemote is designed to maximize teacher’s mobility in the classroom; it means they are able to move around the classroom while
wirelessly controlling applications on the computer. By selecting a
button on the device, from the back of the room, teachers can direct
ActiVote and ActivExpression voting, advance lesson slides, navigate web
browsers or even start a movie. They just need to set-up their
commands in advance.
ActivSlate
Movement is a natural component of interactive learning. ActivSlate—our
wireless, fully integrated, mini-board allows teachers to move about the
classroom while teaching. They can seamlessly interact with content on the
ActivBoard by using the ActivPen to operate the ActivSlate. Teachers can also
pass around the ActivSlate to get students involved and enable them to
interact with your content and contribute without having to leave their seat and disrupt the class.
ActivTablet
ActivTablet is a portable, pen-driven device that allows educators and developers to create with
ActivInspire in their office or at home, just as they would in front of the ActivBoard in a classroom. Plug
ActivTablet into a laptop or desktop computer running ActivInspire
software, and its surface will act just like the larger surface of an
ActivBoard. The wireless pen is used to perform ActivInspire’s many
functions.
ActivWand
ActivWand acts just like the ActivPen, but it provides three times
the reach to enable students and teachers of all heights to
interact fully and comfortably with the ActivBoard and the
content displayed on it.
ActiView
ActiView is a plug-and-play visualizer that brings real objects to
life on the ActivBoard. Teachers and content developers can use ActivInspire
to capture any object or document displayed via ActiView – the whole class
can then view and share in the finer details. Capture 3D objects, exemplar
work for review sessions, art, texts, flora, fauna, anything – captured images
or videos can then be annotated or drawn over.
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PROMETHEAN PLANET
Promethean Planet should be the first stop for any publisher developing with Promethean for the first
time. Sign up for free to Promethean Planet here www.prometheanplanet.com
What is Promethean Planet?
Community
Promethean Planet is a unique teaching, sharing and support
community; it was initially set up to help teachers connect, share
ideas and experiences and create interactive whiteboard materials.
In recent times, the award winning site* has evolved into so much
more than that.
The site is fast approaching 750,000 members, hailing from all
corners of the world. Educators are able to connect through
Promethean Planet’s incredibly active web forums and then share
their teaching resources with the whole community by uploading them to site. Every user is also able to
access further support materials specific to their own journey; developers are able to access training,
upgrades, technical support and a sales channel through the site.
At the time of writing, Promethean Planet has just passed the 10,000,000 downloads
threshold! This is the number of user submitted resources, free partner resources, and
premium publisher created resources our users have downloaded from the website
since its launch. Promethean Planet data correct 06 October 2010
Promethean Planet offers product support by way of documentation and software/driver upgrades so
all users can make sure they are running the latest versions. Keep yourself up to date here:
http://www.prometheanplanet.com/en/support/
Content Store
Promethean Planet also includes a Store through which users can
purchase and download publisher created content. A number of
big names have developed content for exclusive sale through the
Promethean Planet Store; publishers include National Geographic,
Dorling Kindersley, Scholastic, Waterford, Ladybird and Collins.
If you aren’t already a member of the Promethean Planet Community, sign-up here for free:
http://www.prometheanplanet.com
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*For the second year running, Promethean Planet was recently handed the prestigious
World Didac Award for excellence in education. This year, ActivInspire software and
ActivExpression also joined Promethean Planet as award winners.
Training
Promethean Planet offers professional development and software training through its ActivLearning
portal. We recommend taking the Level One and Level Two courses before you begin developing
products in ActivInspire. Level One introduces core skills and Level Two provides additional guidance for
Curriculum Developers. We also offer a third course aimed at training and resource development. All
three courses, along with some free basic software training, can be found here:
http://www.prometheanplanet.com/en/professional-development/activlearning/
Promethean Planet provides
a Knowledgebase as a first
port of call for technical and
product assistance. The
Knowledgebase is an online
database of information
relating to all Promethean’s hardware and software products, including an FAQ, a troubleshooting guide, RSS feeds, and a form to contact Technical Support. To access the Knowledgebase, follow this link
and select your region and language: http://www.prometheankb.com/
Support
Promethean Planet offers forums where you can seek advice or guidance from our user base and
Promethean staff. All of our forums are busy places and if there’s something you want to discuss or get a
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second opinion on, you don’t often have to wait long for a response. There are a number of different
forums to explore, but perhaps one you should bookmark is the Promethean Technical Support forum.
This forum is manned by our technical support specialists who are always happy to help with any
problems you might experience when using Promethean’s hardware or software:
http://community.prometheanplanet.com/en/technical_support/default.aspx
Publisher Developer Network (PDN)
Promethean Planet also provides a dedicated support forum for developers.
The Promethean Developer Network is open to both community and
commercial developers; it provides an extra level for support aimed at
publishers and developers and includes specialist forums, documentation
and training options. The PDN is a great network to join for both content developers and application
developers; developers looking to use the ActivSDK to integrate Promethean’s LRS or dual ActivPens into their applications will find all the documentation and support they need on the PDN:
http://community.prometheanplanet.com/PDN
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REFERENCE
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ActivInspire Actions Reference
Command Actions
Action
Effect
1024 x 768 Flipchart
Creates a new 'Untitled' Flipchart of the specified size.
1152 x 864 Flipchart
1280 x 1280 Flipchart
About
Opens the 'About ActivInspire' Dialog Box.
Action Browser
Opens the Action Browser.
Area Snapshot
Starts an area snapshot; this enables the user to
define and capture a rectangular area of the page.
Calculator
Launches the Calculator.
Circular Spotlight
Places a circular spotlight on the current page; this
enables the user to focus attention on one circular
area of the screen while the remaining screen area is
blacked out.
Clock
Launches the Clock.
Close Flipchart
Closes the current Flipchart.
Compass
Launches the Compass.
Connector
Launches the Connector Tool; this enables the user to
connect screen objects. The connecting line adapts
automatically when either of the connected objects is
moved.
Custom Size Flipchart
Creates a custom new Flipchart of the size you
specify.
Dashboard
Opens the Dashboard.
Design Mode
Enables Design Mode.
Dice Roller
Opens the 'Dice Roller' Box. Enables the user to select
the number of dice (up to five dice), rolling speed and
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whether or not to put the result in the
Flipchart.
Dual User
Starts Dual User mode and enables the Dual Toolbox.
Edit Profiles
Opens the 'Edit Profiles' Dialog Box.
Eraser
Launches the Eraser.
Exit
Exits ActivInspire and prompts the user to save
changes if applicable.
Fill
Launches the Fill Tool.
Freehand Snapshot
Starts a freehand snapshot; this enables the user to
define by drawing, and then capture, an irregular
shaped area of the page.
Fullscreen Snapshot
Starts a full-screen snapshot; this enables the user to
take a snapshot of the whole screen.
Grid Designer
Opens the Grid Designer.
Handwriting Recognition
Enables Handwriting Recognition.
Help
Opens the help file.
Hide Grid
Hides the grid if there is currently a grid on the
Flipchart Page.
Highlighter
Launches the Highlighter.
Magic Ink
Enables Magic Ink.
New Flipchart
Creates a new 'Unnamed' Flipchart.
Notes Browser
Opens the Notes Browser.
Object Browser
Opens the Object Browser.
On-screen Keyboard
Displays the On-screen Keyboard.
Open From My Flipcharts
Opens the 'Select a Flipchart' Dialog Box, so the user
can browse to and select a Flipchart.
Page Browser
Opens the Page Browser.
Page Zoom
Launches Page Zoom; this enables the user to magnify
areas of the screen they want to see in closer detail.
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Pen
Launches the Pen.
Point to Point Snapshot
Starts a point-to-point snapshot; this enables the user
to define with the Point-to-Point Tool, and then
capture, a specific area of the page.
Print...
Opens the 'Flipchart Print' Dialog Box.
Property Browser
Opens the Property Browser.
Protractor
Launches the Protractor.
Redo
Redoes the previous command; useful if the previous
command was unintentionally undone.
Resource Browser
Opens the Resource Browser.
Revealer
Launches the Revealer; this places a black blind over
the entire page enabling the user to selectively reveal
parts of the Flipchart page, from top, bottom, left, or
right.
Ruler
Launches the Ruler.
Save to My Flipcharts
Opens the 'Save the Flipchart as...' Dialog Box, so the
user can save the Flipchart to your chosen location.
Screen Recorder
Launches the Screen Recorder; this enables the user
to take a recording of the actions on a Flipchart,
desktop, or another application—this will be saved as
an .avi file which the user can then play back as an
animation.
Screen Size Flipchart
Creates a new 'Untitled' screen size Flipchart.
Search Resources on Promethean Planet
Opens the Promethean Planet website in the user’s
internet browser.
Select
Launches the Select Tool.
Shape
Launches the Shape Tool and Menu bar.
Shape Recognition
Enables Shape Recognition.
Snap to Grid
Forces moved objects to snap to the grid, regardless
of whether the grid is visible.
Solid Circular Spotlight
Launches the spotlight of your choice. Places a
circular or square solid shape on the Flipchart page;
this enables the user to conceal one area of the
Solid Square Spotlight
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screen while the remaining screen area is fully visible.
Sound Controller
Launches the Sound Controller.
Sound Recorder
Launches the 'Sound Recorder' Popup Box; enables
the user to record sound through their internal or
external microphone and add it to the Flipchart page.
Spellcheck Flipchart
Enables the Flipchart Spellchecker.
Square Spotlight
Launches the square spotlight: this enables the user
to focus attention on one square area of the screen
while the remaining screen area is blacked out.
Teacher Lock
Opens the 'Enter Teacher Lock password' Dialog Box.
Text
Launches the Text tool.
Tickertape
Opens the 'Tickertape' Dialog Box; enables the user to
create messages which scroll continuously across the
screen.
Timestamp
Applies a timestamp to the current Flipchart page.
Toolbox Rollup
Rolls up the Main Toolbox.
Undo
Undoes the previous command or action.
Voting Browser
Opens the Voting Browser.
Web Browser
Opens the user’s web browser.
Window Snapshot
Places the Camera into 'Window snapshot' mode,
enabling the user to select one of the currently visible
windows to capture.
XY Origin
Turns on the XY Origin Tool, around which all selected
objects will be rotated.
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Page Actions
Action
Effect
Another Page
Goes to the page number you specify in Action
Properties in the Action Browser.
Clear Page
Clears the page and clears the action object itself.
Copy Page
Copies the current page, including the action object,
so that the user can paste it to a new page.
Cut Page
Cuts the current page from the Flipchart.
Duplicate Page After Current Page
Inserts a duplicate of the current page before or after
the current page.
Duplicate Page Before Current Page
Duplicate at End of Flipchart
Inserts a duplicate of the current page at the end of
the Flipchart.
First Page
Goes to the first page in the Flipchart.
Last Page
Goes to the last page in the Flipchart.
New Page After Current Page
Inserts a blank page before or after the current page.
New Page Before Current Page
Next Page
Goes to the next page.
Page History Back
Each time a user views a page in a Flipchart, the page
number is added to an internal Page History List. Use
the 'Page History Back' action to send users back
through the Page History. If they have visited a series
of pages and each page contains a 'Page History Back'
action object, clicking these objects will take them
back through the page history to each previously
viewed page.
Page History Forward
This action will take users forward through the pages
in the Page History. This action only works if you have
issued at least one 'Page History Back' action on one
or more pages.
Previous Page
Goes to the previous page.
Reset Page
Resets the page to the state it was in when it was last
saved.
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Set Background
Opens the 'Set Background' Dialog Box, which lets the
user set a background color or image.
Object Actions
Action
Effect
For each of the alignment actions, the alignment criteria for the whole group are always based on the first
object created in the group.
Align Angle
Aligns all selected objects so that their angles match
the first object created within the selected objects.
Align Bottom
Aligns all selected objects so that their bottom edges
are the same as the bottom-most object in the
selection.
Align Center X
Aligns all selected objects so that their centers match
horizontally (for X) or vertically (for Y), with
their center points being placed at the center of the
initial bounding rectangle.
Align Center Y
Align Complete
Aligns all selected objects to match the left, right,
bottom, top, width, height and angle properties of
the first object created within the selected objects.
Align Height
Aligns objects at the height of the first object created
in the group.
Align Left
Aligns all selected objects so that their left, right or
top edges are the same as the left, right or top-most
object in the selection.
Align Right
Align Top
Align Width
Stretches a group of objects to the same width as the
first object created in the group.
Angle
Rotates the objects to the angle specified in 'Action
Properties'.
Angle Incrementally
Incrementally rotates objects by the angle you specify
in 'Action Properties'. For example, if you specify 10
degrees, the angle of the target object changes by 10
degrees clockwise every time you click on the action
object. You can specify a minus value for the angle to
rotate the objects counter-clockwise.
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Append Text
Appends the text you typed in 'Action Properties' to
the target text object when you click on the action
object. TIP: Insert a space at the start of the text.
Best Fit to Height
Applies the best fit to page for the target objects.
Best Fit to Page
Best Fit to Width
Bring Forwards
Sends the object forwards by one position within the
stack on its current layer.
Bring to Front
Sends the object to the front of the stack on its
current layer.
Change Text Value
Increments or decrements the value of the target text
object by the value of the text specified in 'Action
Properties'. For example, if the target text object
contains ‘5’ and the Action property text is ‘-2’, the target object will reduce to ‘3’ when the action is applied.
Clear Annotations
Clears all annotations on the page.
Clear Background
Clears the background.
Clear Grid
Clears the grid.
Clear Objects
Clears all objects on the page.
Copy
Copies/Cuts/Deletes/Duplicates any of the following
objects: text, image, annotation objects, shape, action
and mixed groups of objects.
Cut
Delete
Duplicate
Edit Text
Selects the target text object and enables the Text
Tool.
Extract Text
Creates a new text object from each word you click
on in the target text object.
Flip in X Axis
Flips the target object in the X axis, towards the top of
the page.
Flip in Y Axis
Flips the target object in the Y axis, towards the left of
the page.
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Toggle Grouped
Groups or ungroups the currently selected objects.
Toggle Hidden
Shows or hides the currently selected objects.
Invert
Turns the target object upside down.
Less Translucent
Makes the target object incrementally less
translucent every time the user clicks on the action
object.
Toggle Locked
Locks or unlocks the currently selected objects.
Mirror in X Axis
Creates a mirror image of the object in the X axis,
towards the top of the page.
Mirror in Y Axis
Creates a mirror image of the object in the Y axis,
towards the left of the page.
More Translucent
Makes the target object incrementally more
translucent, every time the user clicks on the action
object.
New Text Object
Inserts a new text object containing the text you
assigned in 'Action Properties'.
Original Size
Resets the size of the object to its originally authored
size. For shapes, this is the size of the shape, when it
was originally added to the page.
Paste
Pastes the last copied object to the Flipchart page.
Position Bottom
Moves the bottom of the target object to the position
Y, as specified in 'Action Properties'.
Position Bottom Left
Moves the bottom left of the target object to position
X, Y, as specified in 'Action Properties'.
Position Bottom Right
Moves the bottom right of the target object to
position X, Y, as specified in 'Action Properties'.
Position Central
Moves the target object to position X, Y, as specified
in 'Action Properties'.
Position Incrementally
Moves the target object incrementally from its
original position by the number of pixels specified in
'Action Properties'.
Position Left
Moves the left edge of the target object to position X,
as specified in 'Action Properties'.
Position Right
Moves the right edge of the target object to position.
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X, as specified in 'Action Properties'.
Position Top
Moves the top edge of the target object to position Y,
as specified in 'Action Properties'.
Position Top Left
Moves the top left edge of the target object to
position X,Y, as specified in 'Action Properties'.
Position Top Right
Moves the top right edge of the target object to
position X,Y, as specified in 'Action Properties'.
Reflect
Flips the object over about its own central Y axis.
Select All
Selects everything on the page.
Send Backwards
Sends the target object backwards by one position
within the stack on its current layer.
Send to Back
Sends the target object to the back of the stack on its
current layer.
Size Bottom
Size actions set the overall size of the target object to
the value specified in the 'Action Properties'. The final
position of the object is dictated by the chosen size
action. For example if you choose 'Size Bottom 100',
the object will be sized such that it is 100 pixels in
width and height, whilst maintaining the position of
the top edge of the object.
Size Bottom Incrementally
Size Bottom Left
Size Bottom Left Incrementally
Size Bottom Right
Size Bottom Right Incrementally
Size Central
Size incrementally actions behave like size actions
with the exception that the target object is increased
or decreased by the number of pixels specified in
'Action Properties' while maintaining the original
position, for example bottom right.
Size actions maintain the aspect ratio of the target
object.
Size Central Incrementally
Size Left
Size Left Incrementally
Size Right
Size Right Incrementally
Size Top
Size Top Incrementally
Size Top Left
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Size Top Left Incrementally
Size Top Right
Size Top Right Incrementally
Stretch Bottom
Stretch Bottom Incrementally
Stretch Bottom Left
Stretch Bottom Left Incrementally
Stretch actions set the overall width or height of the
target object to the value specified in 'Action
Properties'. The final position of the object is dictated
by the chosen width action. For example, if you
choose 'Stretch Bottom 100', the object will be sized
so that it is 100 pixels in height, while maintaining the
position of the top edge of the object.
Stretch Central
Stretch incrementally actions behave similarly to
stretch actions with the exception that the target
object is increased or decreased by the number of
pixels specified in Action Properties, while
maintaining the original position, for example,
bottom right.
Stretch Central Incrementally
Stretch actions distort the aspect ratio of the target
object.
Stretch Bottom Right
Stretch Bottom Right Incrementally
Stretch Left
Stretch Left Incrementally
Stretch Right
Stretch Right Incrementally
Stretch Top
Stretch Top Incrementally
Stretch Top Left
Stretch Top Left Incrementally
Stretch Top Right
Stretch Top Right Incrementally
To Bottom Layer
Sends the target object to the bottom, middle or top
layer.
To Middle Layer
To Top Layer
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Translucency
Changes the translucency of the target object to a
fixed value, where:
0 = solid
255 = clear
Document/Media Actions
Action
Effect
Open Document, File or Sound
Opens the document or file, or plays the sound that
you assigned to the object in 'Action Properties'.
Open Website
Opens the URL you assigned to the object in
'Action Properties'.
Voting Actions
Action
Effect
Assign Students to Devices
Opens the 'Assign students to devices' Dialog Box.
Device Registration
Export Results To Excel®
Express Poll
Insert Question
Starts Device Registration.
Opens the 'Export Results To Excel®' Dialog Box, if
there are voting results on the current page. Instruct
the user to choose a folder and enter a file name –
voting results are saved as a .xls file and automatically
opened in Excel, provided it is installed on their
computer. Users can choose to export current or any
previous results displayed in the Results Browser.
Launches the voting Wonder-Wheel. Use it as a
shortcut instead of the ExpressPoll button, for
example, when the Main Toolbox is unavailable.
Launches the Insert Question Wizard. When users
complete the wizard, the question is displayed on the
current (or new) page.
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Pause Vote
Start/Stop Flipchart Vote
Student Database
Toggle switch. Pauses voting, when a timeout has
been set. Press again to restart.
Use as a shortcut instead of the Start Flipchart Vote
button, for example, when the Main Toolbox is
unavailable. Starts or stops a voting session if there is
a question on the current page.
Opens the 'Edit Student Database' Dialog Box. Users
can use this as a shortcut, if they often assign voting
devices to student names and their class changes
frequently.
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ActivInspire Keyboard Shortcuts Reference
Most of ActivInspire’s functions and actions can be accessed with keyboard shortcuts; these are listed in full below.
Function
Windows
Linux
Mac
Help
Toggle Design Mode
Express Poll
Dual User
Toggle Full Screen
Desktop Tools
Flipchart Spellchecker
Page Browser
Property Browser
Action Browser
Dashboard
Promethean Planet
Select All
Toggle Browsers
Copy
Duplicate
Eraser
Fill
Toggle Grouped
Highlighters
Insert Blank Page after current
Edit Profiles
On-screen Keyboard
Insert Link to File
Insert Media
Open a new Flipchart
Open an Existing Flipchart
Pen
Insert Question
Revealer
Save a Flipchart
Text
View Customize
Paste
Close
Cut
Redo Last Action
Undo Last Action
Increase Object Size
Decrease Object Size
Desktop Annotate
Send to Back
Connectors
Desktop Snapshot
Export Page
Bring to Front
Grid Designer
Handwriting Recognition
Toggle Hidden
Toggle Drag a Copy
Camera – Area
Toggle Locked
Magic Ink
Notes Browser
Circular Spotlight
Print
Edit Question on Page
Sound Recorder
Shapes
Tickertape
Clock
Bring Forwards
F1
F2
F3
F4
F5
F6
F7
F8
F9
F10
F11
F12
Ctrl+A
Ctrl+B
Ctrl+C
Ctrl+D
Ctrl+E
Ctrl+F
Ctrl+G
Ctrl+H
Ctrl+I
Ctrl+J
Ctrl+K
Ctrl+L
Ctrl+M
Ctrl+N
Ctrl+O
Ctrl+P
Ctrl+Q
Ctrl+R
Ctrl+S
Ctrl+T
Ctrl+U
Ctrl+V
Ctrl+W
Ctrl+X
Ctrl+Y
Ctrl+Z
Ctrl++
Ctrl+Ctrl+Shift+A
Ctrl+Shift+B
Ctrl+Shift+C
Ctrl+Shift+D
Ctrl+Shift+E
Ctrl+Shift+F
Ctrl+Shift+G
Ctrl+Shift+H
Ctrl+Shift+I
Ctrl+Shift+J
Ctrl+Shift+K
Ctrl+Shift+L
Ctrl+Shift+M
Ctrl+Shift+N
Ctrl+Shift+O
Ctrl+Shift+P
Ctrl+Shift+Q
Ctrl+Shift+R
Ctrl+Shift+S
Ctrl+Shift+T
Ctrl+Shift+U
Ctrl+Shift+V
F1
F2
F3
F4
F5
F6
F7
F8
F9
F10
F11
F12
Ctrl+A
Ctrl+B
Ctrl+C
Ctrl+D
Ctrl+E
Ctrl+F
Ctrl+G
Ctrl+H
Ctrl+I
Ctrl+J
Ctrl+K
Ctrl+L
Ctrl+M
Ctrl+N
Ctrl+O
Ctrl+P
Ctrl+Q
Ctrl+R
Ctrl+S
Ctrl+T
Ctrl+U
Ctrl+V
Ctrl+W
Ctrl+X
Ctrl+Y
Ctrl+Z
Ctrl++
Ctrl+Ctrl+Shift+A
Ctrl+Shift+B
Ctrl+Shift+C
Ctrl+Shift+D
Ctrl+Shift+E
Ctrl+Shift+F
Ctrl+Shift+G
Ctrl+Shift+H
Ctrl+Shift+I
Ctrl+Shift+J
Ctrl+Shift+K
Ctrl+Shift+L
Ctrl+Shift+M
Ctrl+Shift+N
Ctrl+Shift+O
Ctrl+Shift+P
Ctrl+Shift+Q
Ctrl+Shift+R
Ctrl+Shift+S
Ctrl+Shift+T
Ctrl+Shift+U
Ctrl+Shift+V
F1
F2
F3
F4
F5
F6
F7
F8
F9
F10
F11
F12
Cmd+A
Cmd+B
Cmd+C
Cmd+D
Cmd+E
Cmd+F
Cmd+G
Cmd+H
Cmd+I
Cmd+J
Cmd+K
Cmd+L
Cmd+M
Cmd+N
Cmd+O
Cmd+P
Cmd+Q
Cmd+R
Cmd+S
Cmd+T
Cmd+U
Cmd+V
Cmd+W
Cmd+X
Cmd+Y
Cmd+Z
Cmd++
Cmd+Cmd+Shift+A
Cmd+Shift+B
Cmd+Shift+C
Cmd+Shift+D
Cmd+Shift+E
Cmd+Shift+F
Cmd+Shift+G
Cmd+Shift+H
Cmd+Shift+I
Cmd+Shift+J
Cmd+Shift+K
Cmd+Shift+L
Cmd+Shift+M
Cmd+Shift+N
Cmd+Shift+O
Cmd+Shift+P
Cmd+Shift+Q
Cmd+Shift+R
Cmd+Shift+S
Cmd+Shift+T
Cmd+Shift+U
Cmd+Shift+V
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Send Backwards
Flip X
Flip Y
Page Zoom
Select
Go to Next Page
Go to Previous Page
Ctrl+Shift+W
Ctrl+Shift+X
Ctrl+Shift+Y
Ctrl+Shift+Z
Esc
PgDown
PgUp
Ctrl+Shift+W
Ctrl+Shift+X
Ctrl+Shift+Y
Ctrl+Shift+Z
Esc
PgDown
PgUp
Promethean Interactive Whiteboard Guidelines: Best Practice for Publishers and Producers 1.1
Cmd+Shift+W
Cmd+Shift+X
Cmd+Shift+Y
Cmd+Shift+Z
Esc
Down
Up
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ActivInspire Personal and Professional Edition Compatibility
Reference
ActivInspire enables the creation and delivery of innovative classroom experiences; it is designed
specifically for use with interactive whiteboards in education. It is a single-software solution, combining
the functionality of our previous award-winning software packages, ActivPrimary and ActivStudio. Users
can now switch easily between Primary for young learners and Studio for older students.
ActivInspire Personal Edition is the free version available for students and teachers to use on their
personal computer. Users can upgrade to ActivInspire Professional Edition; the fully-featured version
available for purchase and also included with most ActivClassroom products. Some features of the fullyfeatured version are restricted in ActivInspire Professional Edition; the comparison matrix below
indicates these specific features.
It’s useful to understand how the versions vary as it’s impossible to know when developing your product which version your end-users will be running. Having an awareness of which features aren’t available to users of the Personal Edition will help you ensure that your content remains functional and offers an
adequate teaching and learning experience for users in both demographics.
Note: The matrix shows that Actions are available in Professional Edition and not Personal Edition; this
doesn’t mean that the action you have authored into your content won’t work for Personal Edition users: actions authored into Flipchart content will be respected at run-time regardless of the software version.
The matrix refers to the fact that Professional Edition users can also author actions into their content,
but actions are not ‘exposed’ to users of the Personal Edition to do the same.
ActivInspire Personal Edition should not be used for content authoring. Developers should make sure
they install the fully-featured ActivInspire Professional Edition.
Comparison
PREPARATION
Local Resource Search
Object Layering and Reordering
Grid Mask
Text Editing
Actions Authoring
Design Mode
Themed Templates
Object Align
Rubber Stamp
Drag a Copy
Grid Designer
Uniquely Label Objects
Page Notes
Shapes Library
MULTIMEDIA
Integrated ActiView Visual Presenter
Play Flash Objects
Supports .FLV files
Link Documents in Flipchart
Graphics/Image Support
Screen Recorder
Sound Recorder
IMPORT FORMATS
ActivInspire Professional Edition
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ActivInspire Personal Edition
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Import SMART Notebook™
Import SMART Gallery™
Import PowerPoint™ (Windows)
Import QTI XML
Import PDF
LEARNER RESPONSE
Integrated ActiVote and ActivExpression
Import ExamView© and XML Files
Export LRS Questions and Answers to Excel™
Self-Paced Learning
AT THE BOARD
Fill Tool
Page Scale
New Browsers
(Actions, Page, Resource,
Object, Property, Voting)
Right Click/Context Menu
Pen Tool & Pen Width Indicator
Duplicate
Reset Page Tool
Page Zoom Tool
XY Origin
Teacher Lock
Desktop Annotation
Dual-User Mode
INTERACTVITY AND ENGAGEMENT
Assign Actions to Objects and Pages
Promethean Planet Viewer
Search for Resources on Promethean Planet
and Download to ActivInspire
Magic Ink & Destructive Eraser
Application Settings
Keyboard Shortcuts
Dotted and Dashed Lines
Localized Versions
Objects with actions can be dragged
Customized Profiles
Resize Icons
User Defined Buttons
Drag-on Buttons
Handwriting Recognition Tool
Convert to Text Tool
Shape Recognition Tool
Convert to Shape Tool
RICH POWER TOOLS
Clock
Snap Object to Grid
Spotlight
Time Stamping
Color Picker
Tickertape
Compass Tool
Revealer Tool
Calculator
On-screen Keyboard
Dice Tool
Spellcheck reviews entire flipchart
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Languages: ActivInspire is available in English and the following languages: Arabic, German,
Spanish, French, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Turkish, Swedish,
Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Kazakh, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Hebrew, Traditional Chinese,
Vietnamese, Czech, Thai, Hungarian, Malaysian and Japanese.
Operating System: ActivInspire is fully compatible with all major operating systems (Windows,
Mac and Linux) and can be used with or without other interactive whiteboards – allowing for
maximum flexibility and leverage of existing technologies. ActivInspire 1.4 is now supported on
Windows 7 and Snow Leopard.
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ActivInspire Properties Reference
Use the Property Browser to view, change and apply a range of powerful properties to your Flipchart
page or objects. The options are displayed in the Browser and depend on whether you have selected a
page, single object or multiple objects. Different types of objects have different types of properties. Find
below a summary of the different types of properties.
Identification Properties
Property
Name
Option
Description
ActivInspire allocates default names to Flipchart objects, for example,
Shape1, Shape2.
You can select and change the default name.
One or more words that identify the object.
Two ways to enter keywords:
Keywords

Click on the Keywords box and begin typing. Separate individual
keywords by a space.

Click on the Keywords Editor icon [...], click on Add and begin typing.
Use the Keywords Editor to add, move and remove keywords.
Use keywords with containers. If you set a container so that it can contain an
object with a particular keyword, for example, 'animal', any object with the
keyword 'animal' can be contained by that container.
Only applies to pages.
Description
Allows you to include instructions or comments about a specific page in the
description area. This can be used to describe how the page has been set up,
for example, if you share pages with fellow teachers and you have created
some complex object properties or actions.
A multi-answer question produced by the Question Wizard or ExpressPoll has
three types of text objects:
Question Tag

With Question

Option

Label tags
The tag numbers let you see the answer/option pairings – this can be useful
when you edit and reformat the text, or move answers around.
If you nominated a correct answer with the Question Wizard, this
information is contained within the 'Label' tag. When the corresponding
answer is returned by voters, it’s highlighted green in the results display.
Nominate a new correct answer by placing it next to the object with the
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appropriate 'Label' number.
You cannot generate a question and start a vote by applying tags to text
entered outside of the Question Wizard or ExpressPoll.
None
Question
Option1
Option2
Option3
Option4
Option5
Option6
Label1
Label2
Label3
Label4
Label5
Label6
Default
Allocated to your Question Text.
Associated with text tagged Label 1 (displayed as answer A or 1).
Associated with text tagged Label 2 (displayed as answer B or 2).
Associated with text tagged Label 3 (displayed as answer C or 3).
Associated with text tagged Label 4 (displayed as answer D or 4).
Associated with text tagged Label 5 (displayed as answer E or 5).
Associated with text tagged Label 6 (displayed as answer F or 6).
Option numbers and labels must match for answers to be correctly
interpreted.
If you move any options or labels, make a note of the change.
Appearance Properties
Property
Layer
Option
Description
Top
Default
Middle
Specify on which layer the object is placed.
Bottom
Background
Read only indicator. Shows the position of the object in the stacking
order.
Depth
Grids and objects have a higher number in the stacking order if
placed in front.
This value can range from fully translucent (visible) to no
translucency (solid).
Translucency
Use the slider to change the translucency.
Visible
Ink Type
True
Default
False
Set to 'False' to make the object invisible.
Pen
Default
Highlighter
Annotations can be one of three types:
Magic Ink

Pen annotations are solid.
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
Highlighter annotations are partially translucent.
Magic Ink annotations allow you to see through objects on the top
layer.
Outline Properties
Property
Option
Description
Outline style
Solid
Default
None
Style
Dashed Dot
Dash-Dot
Dash-Dot-Dot
Outline color
Color
Black
Default
Outline width in pixels. Range = Finest possible, 1 - 100.
Width
4
Default
Applies caps of the selected type to the beginnings and
ends of annotations or lines when 'Style' is set to one of
the dashed options.
Cap Style
Default
Round
Flat
Square
Applies to the outside corners of shape objects.
Join Style
Round
Default
Mitre
Bevel
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Fill Properties
Property
Option
Description
Style
None
Default
Set to another option to apply
the style of your choice.
Solid
Apply a solid fill effect.
Dense1
Select from matrix patterns of
different densities.
Dense2
Dense3
Dense4
Dense5
Dense6
Dense7
Horizontal
Vertical
Select from a range of hatched
fill patterns.
Cross
Backward Diagonal
Forward Diagonal
Cross Diagonal
Gradient
Gradient
Select to enable a two-color
graduated fill.
None
Default
Vertical
Set to another option to apply
the graduated coloring of your
choice.
Horizontal
Diagonal1
Diagonal2
Radial
Color
Black
Default
Set to another color to apply
the shading of your choice.
Only enabled when the fill
‘Style’ is set to ‘Gradient’ (see above).
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Background Properties
Property
Option
Description
Color
Black
Default
Set to another color to change
the background.
Mode
Transparent
Default
Opaque
Set to 'Opaque' to make the
background color appear solid.
Option
Description
Position Properties
Property
Left
Distance of object to left margin
in pixels. Accurate to three
decimal points.
Top
Distance of object to top
margin in pixels. Accurate to
three decimal points.
Width
Width of object in pixels.
Accurate to three decimal
points.
Height
Height of object in pixels.
Accurate to three decimal
points.
Scale Factor x
1
Default.
Change the number to scale the
object by the new factor along
the x axis. For example, set the
scale factor to 2 to double the
size.
Scale Factor Y
1
Default.
Change the number to scale the
object by the new factor along
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the y axis
Inverted
False
Default.
Change to 'True' to flip the
object by 180 degrees along the
vertical.
Angle
0
Default.
Change this to any value
between 1 and 360 to pivot the
object by the specified number
of degrees around the top right
Marquee Handle.
Reflected
False
Default.
Change to 'True' to flip the
object by 180 degrees along the
horizontal.
Locked
False
Default.
Change to ‘True’ to lock the object in place so that it cannot
be selected and moved except
with the Freely Move Object
handle.
To unlock it again, set back to
‘False', or double-click the lock
icon on the Object Browser.
Label Properties
Property
Option
Caption
Font Name
Description
Lets you add a one-line caption
to an object.
Arial
Default
Click the drop-down box to
change the font.
Font Size
12
Default
Click the up or down arrow to
increase or decrease the font
size, or select the size digits and
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type in the new size.
Font Color
Black
Default
Click on the color box to select
another font color.
Outline Style
None
Default
Solid
Click the drop-down arrow to
select an outline style for your
label.
Dashed
Dot
Dash-Dot
Dash-Dot-Dot
Background Mode
Opaque
Default
Transparent
Select to make the label
background transparent.
Background Color
Behavior
Click the box to select a
background color.
Always On
Default
Tooltip
Select to make the label visible
only when the cursor moves
across the object.
Property
Option
Description
Can Contain
Nothing
Default
Anything
No container setting is applied.
Specific Object
Any object placed on top
is recognized.
Container Properties
Keywords
Choose one specific object for
the container to recognize.
The container recognizes any
resource which has the
keywords you specify.
Contain Object
Only enabled if 'Can Contain' is
set to 'Specific Object' (see
above).
Select the object from the
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'Select Object' Dialog Box.
Contain Rule
Only enabled if 'Can Contain' is
set to 'Keywords' (see above).
Centers Must Match
Completely Contained
Type the keywords the
container can recognize.
The content's center must be
placed on the
container's center for the
contents to be recognized.
Useful when the 'contents' are
bigger than their containers.
The contents must fit inside the
container.
Reward Sound
False
Default
Set to 'True' to play a sound
when an object is correctly
contained.
Reward Sound Location
Only enabled if 'Reward Sound'
is set to 'True' (see above).
Opens the 'Select a sound'
Dialog Box to let you browse to
and select a sound file.
Return if not Contained
False
Default
Returns the object to its original
position on the Flipchart page if
set to 'True'.
Rotate Properties
Property
Option
Description
Can Rotate
Freely
Default
Clockwise
Object can rotate without any
restrictions
Anticlockwise
No
Object can only rotate in a
clockwise direction.
Object can only rotate in an
anticlockwise direction.
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Object cannot rotate.
Rotate Step
Rotate About
Object rotates a step at a time.
Center
Default
Other Place
Object can only rotate around
its own center.
Other Object
First Text Line
Specific Point
Top Left
Top
Top Right
Left
Right
Bottom Left
Object can rotate around
another place which you can
define.
Object can rotate around
another object.
Object can rotate around the
first line of text.
Object can rotate around a
specific point.
Object can rotate around the
top left.
Object can rotate around the
top.
Object can rotate around the
top right.
Object can rotate around the
left.
Object can rotate around the
right.
Object can rotate around the
bottom left.
Rotate Object
Only enabled if 'Rotate About' is
set to 'Other Object' (see
above).
Select the object from the
'Select Object' Dialog Box.
Rotate Point x
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Object can rotate around the x
coordinate.
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Rotate Point y
Object can rotate around the y
coordinate.
Restrictors Properties
Property
Option
Description
Can Block
False
Default
True
Object can block.
False
Default
True
Object can snap to.
Can Snap
Snap Point x
Point on the x axis to which the
object can snap.
Snap Point y
Point on the y axis to which the
object can snap.
Snap To
Center
Other Place
Other Object
First Text Line
Specific Point
Top Left
Top
Top Right
Left
Right
Bottom Left
Default. Object snaps to
the center.
Object snaps to another place
which you can define.
Object can snap to another
object.
Object can snap to the first line
of text.
Object can snap to a specific
point.
Object can snap to the top left.
Object can snap to the top.
Bottom
Object can snap to the top
right.
Bottom Right
Object can snap to the left.
Object can snap to the right.
Object can snap to the bottom
left.
Object can snap to the bottom.
Object can snap to the bottom
right.
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Can Move
Freely
Vertically
Horizontally
Along path
No
Default. Object can move
anywhere on the Flipchart
page.
Object can only move vertically.
Object can only move
horizontally.
Object can only move along the
defined path.
Object cannot move.
Move Path
Only enabled if 'Can Move' is
set to 'Along path' (see above).
Select the path from the 'Select
Object' Dialog Box.
Can Size
Freely
Default
None
Object cannot be resized.
Property
Option
Description
End Cap A
None
Default
Radius
Apply an end cap to the lefthand edge of open shapes, lines
and connectors.
Miscellaneous Properties
Arrow
End Cap B
None
Default
Radius
Apply an end cap to the righthand edge of open shapes, lines
and connectors.
Arrow
Pick Through
Transparent Color
True
Default
False
If an object's 'Transparent'
property is set to 'True', this
allows you to click on the
transparent area of an object to
select another one beneath it.
Blue
Default
Only enabled if the object's
'Transparent' property is set to
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'True'.
Click the color box to enable
the Color Picker and choose
a color from anywhere on the
display, then apply it to the
object.
Transparent
True
Default
False
Select to make the object
opaque.
Fill Mode
None
Default
Drag a Copy
False
Default
True
Set to 'True' to be able to
create copies of the object by
clicking and dragging it.
Property
Option
Description
Force Overlay
False
(SWF and FLV objects only)
True
Multimedia object is not forced
on top of annotations.
Tiled
Multimedia Properties
Multimedia object is forced on
top of annotations.
Autoplay
False
True
Playback starts automatically
when page is displayed.
Playback does not start
automatically when page is
displayed.
Loop
False
True
Single autoplay or controlled
playback of multimedia file.
Playback is repeated until
stopped.
Hide Controls
Force Aspect
False
Controller is displayed.
True
Controller is hidden.
False
Resizing will keep the aspect
ratio.
True
Resizing distortions are
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possible.
Transparent Background
False
(SWF objects only)
True
When embedded objects are
not set to 'Force Overlay' they
will be transparent.
Page Properties
Property
Option
Description
Width
Page width in pixels.
Height
Page height in pixels.
Frames Across
Default = 0
Allows you divide the page into
frames and specify the number
of horizontal frames.
Frames Down
Default = 0
Allows you divide the page into
frames and specify the number
of vertical frames.
Background
Fill
Default = White
Image
Desktop Overlay
Allows you to use an image,
Desktop Snapshot or Desktop
Overlay as the background of
your Flipchart page.
Property
Option
Description
Page Tools
As before
Default for all pages.
Desktop Snapshot
Tools Properties
Maintains the current state of
the Spotlight or Revealer when
you turn to the selected page.
For example, if the Revealer is
switched on for page 1 of your
Flipchart, it will automatically
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be switched on when you turn
to page 2 if page 2 contains the
'As before' tool state. However,
if the Revealer is switched off
on page 1, it will also be
switched off on page 2.
False
Set the Spotlight or Revealer to
revert to their default settings.
Property
Option
Description
Mode
Off
Default.
Revealer Properties
Switches the Revealer off.
Top
Bottom
Left
Switches the Revealer on and
off lets you reveal the display
from the top, bottom, left or
right; or sets the Revealer to
'Full' so that you can reveal the
Flipchart page from any side.
Right
Full
Distance
0
Default.
Only enabled if 'Mode' is set to
something other than 'Off'. Sets
the starting distance in pixels of
the Revealer from the top,
bottom, left or right edge of the
Flipchart edge.
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Spotlight Properties
Property
Option
Description
Mode
Off
Switches the Spotlight off.
Circular Spotlight
Hides the screen except for a
circular or square spotlight.
Square Spotlight
Solid Circular Spotlight
Solid Square Spotlight
Left
The entire screen is visible
except for a solid circle or solid
square.
Aligns the Spotlight at the
specified number of pixels
distance from the left or top of
the display.
Top
Width
Sets the width or height of the
Spotlight.
Height
Grid Properties
Property
Option
Visible
Description
Default: False.
False
Hides the grid.
True
Shows the grid.
Thumbnail Scale
Defines the scale at which the
thumbnail representation of
the grid will be drawn in the
Resource Library when
browsing for resources.
Default Scale
Defines a scale factor which is
applied to the grid's defined
start and step values. For
example, if the grid has an X
Step of 50 pixels and a Default
Scale property of 2.0, the grid
will be drawn every 100 pixels
across the display.
Scale Step
Defines the amount by which
the Grid Default Scale will alter
each time you click on the + or -
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buttons to enlarge or reduce
the grid on the page. The value
is added or subtracted from the
Default Scale depending on the
button clicked.
Allow Snap
On Top
False
Default: False.
True
Enables or disables Snap to
Grid.
False
Default: False.
True
Places grid in front of or behind
objects.
Grid Designer
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Opens the Grid Designer.
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Migrating From ActivStudio/ActivPrimary Version 3
Developers who aren’t new to Promethean may have already authored content in the previous software
versions: ActivStudio and ActivPrimary. While every effort has been made to fully-support version 3created content, you may notice a small number of differences.
The most pertinent action you can take to ensure your content is fully compatible with ActivInspire is to
develop in ActivInspire rather than ActivStudio or ActivPrimary. Promethean cannot guarantee support
for users who continue to develop in any software release pre-dating ActivInspire.
It’s also essential to make sure you are up-to-date and running the most recent version of ActivInspire.
Promethean regularly releases improvements to the software. Information on how to upgrade can be
found on page 105 of this Guide.
ActivInspire has been streamlined and content created in ActivStudio and ActivPrimary version 3 will
open in ActivInspire on computers running WindowsTM, Mac® and LinuxTM. Furthermore, ActivInspire
now offers integrated support for devices which previously needed separate software. However, as a
result of the streamlining, some Flipchart objects with previously associated actions may lose their
action when a user opens the Flipchart in ActivInspire. In this instance, you can assign another
appropriate action or delete the object.
There are three ways in which actions may vary between ActivStudio and ActivPrimary 3, and
ActivInspire.
1. Some actions are no longer supported.
2. Some actions have been superseded.
3. Some actions are supported with differences.
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Not supported These actions do not work in ActivInspire.
ActivCataloger
ActivMarker
Activity Wizard
Annotation Upgrader
Clipboard Tickertape
Export Page
Export to AppleScript (Mac)
Export to DOC
Export to HTML
Export to PDF
Export to Picture Slides (Mac)
Export to PPT
Export to PPT object
Export to QuickTime (Mac
Export Results to Text
Export to SWF
Export Wizard
Fraction Creator
Link Library
Open My Notes and Pointers
Open My Tickertapes
Open Other Notes and Pointers
Open Other Tickertapes
Open Shared Notes and Pointers
Open Shared Tickertapes
PowerPoint converter
Power Tools
Resource Library Small Thumbnails
Resource Library Large Thumbnails
Page Select Large
Page Select Medium
Page Select Small
Superseded These actions do not work in ActivInspire because they have been superseded by other
actions. We recommend you map new actions to your objects in place of the previous actions. See
the ActivInspire column for suggestions.
ActivStudio & ActivPrimary
ActivInspire
Embed File Actions
Choose between Insert Link to File and Insert
Media from File.
In ActivInspire, you build flipcharts with the Page
Browser and Resource Browser
Flipchart Builder
Flipchart Recorder
Keyword Editor
Launch/Quit Application (Mac)
Recognition Toolbox
Resource Manager
Consider using the Screen Recorder.
In ActivInspire, you access the Keywords Editor
from the Property Browser
Consider using Insert Link to File. You can launch
an application, but you cannot quit.
Choose between Handwriting Recognition
and Shape Recognition.
In ActivInspire, you manage resources with the
Resource Browser.
Promethean Interactive Whiteboard Guidelines: Best Practice for Publishers and Producers 1.1
Document owner & author: Sarah Aspden
154
Update Thumbnails
Thumbnails are automatically updated in the
Browser.
Superseded These actions work but they may behave differently in ActivInspire. We recommend
that you read the notes and save your Flipcharts to the new .flipchart format. See the Notes column
for a brief description of the differences.
ActivStudio & ActivPrimary
ActivInspire
Notes
ActiVote Question Settings
Question on Current Page
Launches the Insert Question
Wizard. When you complete
the wizard, the question is
displayed on the current page.
ActiVote Results
Voting Browser
Shows voting results in
the Voting Browser.
ActiVote Session
Voting Browser
Opens the Voting
Browser
and displays
information about the current
session.
Cut Page
Cut Page
Copy Annotation
Copy
Paste Annotation
Paste
Deconstruct Text
Extract Text
Edit Text
Text
Cuts, copies or pastes the
designated target object.
If there is no designated target
object, applies the action to the
currently selected object. If no
object is selected, applies the
action to the action object
itself.
New name, same functionality.
Starts the Text
tool.
Individual Resource Folder
Actions
Resource Library
Opens Shared Resources.
Print to pdf (Mac)
Print Dialogue Box
Opens the Print Dialog Box,
where you can select options to
Promethean Interactive Whiteboard Guidelines: Best Practice for Publishers and Producers 1.1
Document owner & author: Sarah Aspden
155
print to PDF.
Question Master
Question Wizard
Launches the Insert Question
Wizard. When you complete
the wizard, the question is
displayed on the current page.
Recorder Menu
Screen Recorder
Displays the Screen
Recorder.
Area Screen Recorder
There is no Area Screen
Recorder in ActivInspire.
Set Grid (Mac)
Grid Designer
Opens the Grid Designer.
Set Page Color (Mac)
Show Page Selector
Set Background
Opens the ‘Set Background’ Dialog Box, where you can set a
background color or image.
Page Browser
Opens the Page Browser.
Slate Control
Device Registration
Device Register
Starts Device
Registration.
ActiVote Users
Slate XR (Mac)
Device Registration
Starts Device Registration .
Slate IR (Mac)
Start/Stop ActiVote
Enables Start Flipchart
Start Flipchart Vote
Vote
if there is a
question on the current
Flipchart page.
Straight Line
Shape
Enables the Shape
Tool.
Horizontal Line
Vertical Line
Square Tool
Promethean Interactive Whiteboard Guidelines: Best Practice for Publishers and Producers 1.1
Document owner & author: Sarah Aspden
156
Circle Tool
Semi Arc
Rectangle
Ellipse
Corner Arc
Callout
Arrow
Point to Point
Various Show Clock actions
Clock
Promethean Interactive Whiteboard Guidelines: Best Practice for Publishers and Producers 1.1
Displays the Clock
according to the settings in the
'Edit Profiles Settings' Tab.
Document owner & author: Sarah Aspden
157
Promethean Interactive Whiteboard Guidelines: Best Practice for Publishers and Producers 1.1
Document owner & author: Sarah Aspden
158
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