In my new AST role, I've been working recently with schools who have Promethean boards over Smart boards in their classrooms.
Now I am a Smart user - I have always used their software, and choose their boards over Promethean when my school first got IWBs.
The main difference in the board itself is that Smart boards are touch sensitive, so you can use your hand to interact with it, and Promethean boards you need to use a pen. I prefer the Touch Sensitive board since it is much more versatile that the pen based systems.
So I have been working hard on learning how to use Activ Primary 3, the software that you use with a Promethean board.
My inital impressions, where that Activ Primary was a bit clunky compare to Smart Notebook. But on exploring further the two pieces of software are much closer in design that I had thought. (Just make sure you use design mode on Activ Primary)
Both have there good points.
Activ Primary has some very nice tools - that Smart Notebook does not, the ruler, protractor and dice tools are nice.
Smart Notebook - allows for a much nicer and cleaner interface and works alongside the windows (or mac) environment. I find text editing more fluid as well. The resource gallery is allow just easier to use and access.
Much of the other tools and options - though appearing slightly different work in the same or very similar ways.
Some negative points
Active Primary - awkward interface, the need to be in design mode to do certain things is confusing. My initial experiences with copy and pasting, from the Internet where frustrating.
Smart Notebook - more education specific tool set - this is improving though, the gallery has been updated in many positive ways. But there are more tools that should be developed.
What IWB to choose? Well for some school the choice has been made already. Keep doing what you are doing but, hope is not lost. Since both pieces of Software can be used on each others board.
Activ Primary does cost though where as far as i'm aware as Smart can be download and used for free.
The jury is still out, I know what I like and will be continuing to use Smart, though I will dabble in Activ Primary 3 for time to time.
Comments? Suggestions? What is best?
Take my vote.