Albany High Celebrates Stepping into the 21st Century


On Monday October 28th, Albany High held a Promethean Party in the library to celebrate the introduction of new Promethean Panels to classrooms all around the school, in addition to the panels that will be a part of the new wing when it is opened in the Spring.

At this party teachers were able to speak to representatives from the Promethean Company about the expansive learning opportunities provided for the students as well as an innovative and efficient way for teachers to improve their delivery of information.

At this celebration, my co- editor Hailey Krasnikov and I were able to question the various staff members present so we could have the opportunity to inform the student body of the great changes that lie ahead for the student body.

Q: What did the selection process for these new boards entail?

A: There was a panel created of students that volunteered in the student help desk, teachers, and administrators who provided input regarding a panel that would best suit the needs of all parties. No schools throughout the Capital Region have this cutting edge technology and the opportunity to provide students with the necessary tools to have their best quality of education was important to the school administration. Last spring there was a series of four panels that were debated upon to reach the final decision on the Promethean Panels. According to Kevin Rockwood, a CTE program teacher: “Before the teachers, the tech department narrowed the field down to four panels, and asked teachers what they wanted.” It was definitely a well thought, and efficient process that allowed the district to make a good decision.

Q: What are some of the differences between the Promethean Panels and the SmartBoard?

A: One major feature that is NOT a part of the Promethean Panels is the fact that there is no need for calibration of any kind. This is a major Godsend compared to countless class times when students had to watch as frustrated teachers calibrated the SmartBoard for the tenth time in a row. Additionally according to a Promethean technological representative, the durability of a Promethean Panel is up to seven years. Additionally the device is more flexible to software an educator may prefer to use, as well as having high quality speakers, with a built in sound system. They are also expected to be more user friendly, according to Mr. John Wyld.

Q: What will these new panels do to enhance the learning of students throughout the school?

A: In the words of APEX Coordinator, Tom Vacanti: “They are going to be fantastic tools that rock it! I am very excited that we are going to have the best devices in the Capital Region.” School Librarian, Kristen Majkut says: “It will provide me with the ability to play audio, hosts lessons and display documents.” It is obvious that educators around the building are pumped for what these panels can do to better engage students. Mr. Rockwood, previously mentioned says it will provide the students with the ability to use their smartphone as a tool, rather than a distraction. The panels can be linked up with phones to provide them with student response systems, and they can even manipulate the screen with a class tablet. Definitely something to anticipate!

Q: What was the criteria for picking the Promethean Panels?

A: There were many different factors considered when picking the technology that would replace Smart Boards in the new building. Prior to teacher involvement in the selection process, the technology department considered costs and what kind of board/panel would work best for our school’s environment. Once teachers became involved, 4 different panels were presented to them and they narrowed it down to the Promethean Panels by taking things like; teacher adaptability, durability, useful features and add-ons, and enhanced student interaction into account. It was very important that this new tool enhanced how students learned, and allowed them to use their phones as an educational tool

Q: What are costs like for making such a big purchase for the school?

A: According to Mr. John Wyld, the Technology Coordinator for the district, there will be a panel in every classroom and each panel costs about $3,000. So therefore, the district will spend ten-thousands of dollars just on these panels, but the learning advancements they will bring students is completely worth the price of these amazing tools.

Q: When and where will these panels be located?

A: As I said before, these panels will be located in every classroom in the new building. So that means if a part of the new building opens in January, as it’s supposed to, then these intriguing panels will be available for classroom use right away. There will not be any Smart Boards in new building if all goes as planned.

Q: Are there any concerns regarding how teachers and students will react to this change in technology?

A: Whenever there are changes in technology people have to adjust to using it. How does one do this? In order to adjust to these new panels students and teachers will have to practice using them, and although the transition is a concern of our technology department they have systems in place to ease this transition from Smart Boards to Promethean Panels. There will professional development meetings dedicated to learning how to use the panels, and Promethean will be working with the school to ensure a smooth transition as well as to provide assistance.

It is definitely encouraging that we are modernizing at the same pace the world is, better yet in hopes of allowing the next generation of world leaders to be educated to the best of their ability!