Promethean have just released ActivEngage, which will be of interest to schools that have started to roll out iPads and other mobile solutions in the classroom. Or for schools that are looking at a “Bring Your Own Device” approach. ActivEngage is a software-based learner response system for use in schools that have invested in 1:1 laptop initiatives, computer labs and mobile handheld devices for learners. It allows students to use these devices to take part in quizzes or tests without having to purchase additional voting handsets such as ActiVote or ActivExpression.

There’s two parts to the system. First the teacher needs to download the ActivEngage Server software to their computer. The students can then download the ActivEngage client software to their laptop, iPad/iPod, Android device or other mobile solution. Both downloads are free.

If all you want to do is try it out, then ActivEngage allows for three clients to participate in an ActivInspire response session without the need for any serial numbers to be entered. So try it out and see if it works on your school network. If you do want to purchase it, then you’ll receive a key to unlock the software which will allow class sets of student devices to be connected.

I had a little play with it this morning and had it working on my laptop pretty quickly. I found I had to update my ActivDriver to be able to connect to the Engage Server. You can get the most recent version of ActivDriver for your computer from Promethean Planet here (on the right of the page).

Once the server was running on my laptop,it acted as a virtual ActivHub. When I went into device registration I was then able to add my iPhone and iPad, after installing the client software from the App Store. On registering I was able to enter a name for each device. It was pretty painless.

When I started a polling session in ActivInspire, the screens immediately showed the buttons for answering the question. This will change depending on the question style. You can choose from multiple choice, text entry, number entry, sort order, likert scales and more.

Student responses and answers are collected in exactly the same way as any other ActiVote or ActivExpression session.

If you are looking at ways of incorporating learner response systems, but don’t want the expense of a class set of handsets, then this could be an interesting option. Especially if you have already purchased iPads or iPod Touches for student use. I have no idea how much the system costs, you’d have to get in touch with Promethean or a reseller to find out. If anyone knows a rough price, please put it in the comments below.

To download, and access user guides on ActivEngage, go here. A login for Promethean Planet will be needed to get the software, but it’s free to do so.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

And for Promethean ActivInspire Training and ActivExpression Training, please get in touch.