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The Promethean board: Teacher’s perspectives on Foothill Tech’s latest technological upgrade

Kalea Eggertsen
The arrival of the Promethean boards has affected staff and students of Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) in many different ways, whether that be positively, negatively or a little bit of both. Essentially bulky TV screens on wheels with many features allowing users to draw, annotate and share their screens, these boards have often been seen as a replacement for projectors as well as whiteboards. Is this a good or bad thing? How will it influence the learning experience of students? Stay tuned to learn more about how this new technological upgrade will forever alter the future of education.
Ben Venti ’26 and his friends enjoy using the drawing feature on Claire Adams’ Promethean board during FIRE. (Kalea Eggertsen)

On Feb. 29, 2024, teachers at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) received the latest technological upgrade. As the hybrid between Hitachi overhead projectors and whiteboards topped with an interactive pen, Promethean boards have made their way onto the Foothill Tech campus, altering the way students and teachers work and learn overall. 

A mobile TV screen on a stand with wheels, the Promethean board provides an interactive touch screen, accompanied with a pen and remote controller. Although teaching and learning have become easier in the way that teachers and students are able to connect their devices to the Promethean board, students and teachers have not yet seemed to have figured them out completely. Some have even been asked if they would like their overhead projectors to be removed, solidifying the presence and influence of the boards. Inevitably, these boards will have a lasting effect on the way teachers go about teaching their lessons. 

The real question is: is this for better or for worse? When the boards first made their arrival, teachers seemed to have very mixed first impressions.

“When they came for the demonstration, I was mildly impressed … it seems a little clunky, but … it seems like it does some okay stuff,” Francis Frazier, art teacher, comments.

At first glance, many students and teachers believe the size of the Promethean boards are a bit of an issue. It has a large stand and a relatively thick screen, making  people more prone to trip when walking by and making walking around the board much harder, which increases the difficulty of teaching lessons. 

“It’s too big, yet it’s too small. Since I teach in a lab, in a way it’s too big, because I have no place to put it. And in some ways it’s too small, because the screen is like a TV and I usually teach off more boards than a TV-sized screen,” Mika Anderson, life science teacher, explains, “I can’t access any of my lab supplies because I’ve got a big gigantic piece in front of my board. … I don’t have the flexibility that most classrooms have, where I can put the Promethean board somewhere else, and I just have limited space. So I’m constantly tripping over it.”

“I think it’s [going to] get better, and I think the staff is really good at embracing technology and figuring out how to make it better.”

— Cherie Eulau

On the other hand, Cherie Eulau, history teacher, believes the Promethean boards are a little too small. “When I do walk to the back of the room … if I’m splitting the screen, it can be a little bit too small — they [students] can read it — but just the fact that it’s much smaller than our [projectors] is a little bit of an issue.” 

The technology, brand new to Ventura Unified School District (Ventura Unified) schools, has been known to frustrate teachers on the amount of lag during lessons and presentations. 

Claire Adams, history and ethnic studies teacher, attests to this by saying, “I try and use it in every single class, but sometimes the Wi-Fi goes out and it disconnects me. So then I have to get the HDMI cord and connect it that way which is a bit frustrating in the middle of class, or sometimes I just have to go completely old school back to using the overhead, so I’m glad I didn’t get rid of [the overhead projector].” 

On a more positive note, students and teachers are enjoying the various interactive aspects on the boards. Students come into teachers’ classrooms during lunch to play around with the Promethean board and experiment with its drawing and annotation options with the touch screen feature and stylus pen.

A possible point of improvement both Eulau and Anderson mentioned includes the option to allow students to connect their devices to the Promethean boards to share their work during a lesson. It will serve as a good way to share all viewpoints on a topic, as well as increase the immersiveness of the educational experience for their peers.

“Everything I’ve done on the promethean board so far has been things I’ve been able to do with the projector, with the exception of possibly projecting what the students are doing and working on. But once I do that, then there might be a little more interactiveness.” Anderson said. 

Overall, the staff opinions on this new update in technology seems to be mixed. From the frustrations due to weak connection to the positives of the board providing enhanced learning experiences for students, the Promethean boards seem to be something that will only improve with time, once students and staff get more familiar with its workings and features.

“I think it’s [going to] get better,” Eulau concludes, “and I think the staff is really good at embracing technology and figuring out how to make it better.” 

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About the Contributor
Kalea Eggertsen
Kalea Eggertsen, Writer
Aspiring fiction author and first-year writer who has been at it ever since she could hold a pencil.

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