Consider this: Advantages and limitations of Interactive Whiteboards

April 19, 2011

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

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Quick overview: An interactive white board (i.e. – SMARTBoard) can do wonders for your classroom but can be detrimental if used improperly. This post provides an overview of the advantages and limitations of this technology.

What is this post about? This post is a little different from what we normally post up on the blog. Instead of providing you with a new ICT suggestion this week, we’d like to step back and analyze an ICT tool that many of you may be already using in your classroom – the Interactive White Board. Do you have one in your classroom? Is your center or school considering acquiring one or several? It’s a wonderful tool, but like every tool it can be used poorly and hinder rather than help in what we’re trying to achieve. The following Sliderocket presentation is from our colleague Marc-André Lalande, who runs the RECIT FGA r.u.a.ware website, which you should definitely check out when you’re done reading this post. (Source: Marc-André Lalande, RECIT Provincial Service)

Feedback: Comments? Thoughts? We really want to hear what you have to say! Please feel free to leave your comments on our blog with the “leave a comment” link below this post.


SMARTBoard: Using the Magic Pen Tool with the SMART Notebook software

March 23, 2010

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

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Quick overview: An overview of the Magic Pen tool found in the SMART Notebook software. Basic technique.

How can it be used in the classroom: The Magic Pen tool can be used in three ways. If you draw a circle with the Magic Pen, it will create a “spotlight” effect to highlight information on the screen. If you draw a rectangular shape with the Magic Pen, it will magnify selected areas of the screen. Lastly, if you use the Magic Pen to draw freehand, the ink will act as “disappearing ink” and fade away after a few seconds.

Video Tutorial: To see an on-line video of how to use the Magic Pen Tool, please click the large play button below:


SMARTBoard: How to create “links” in your SMART Notebook presentations

March 10, 2010

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

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Quick overview: A step-by-step video tutorial on how to create links in a SMART Notebook presentation. Links can be to websites, external documents (i.e. – Word, Powerpoint, PDF) or other slides within the SMART Notebook presentation.

How can this be used in the classroom? If there are a number of interesting websites you plan on showcasing during class, you can setup a SMART Notebook presentation in advance so that if you tap on a particular image or piece of text in your Notebook presentation, a web browser will automatically open and go to the link.  In addition, if you are a teacher who likes to showcase Word, PDF, Excel, or PowerPoint documents to your class, linking to external documents from your Notebook presentation is a useful technique to help keep things organized and all in one place when you are presenting.  In other words, no longer would you have to stop what you’re doing and search for individual files on a USB drive or hard disk to show them to your class. Any relevant documents you need for your presentation can be permanently “embedded” into your SMART Notebook presentation.  After you create a link, you would simply need to tap on an image or text in your Notebook presentation to launch the external document!

Video Tutorial: To see an on-line video of how to create links on the SMART Notebook software, please click the large play button below:


SMARTBoard: Use the SMART Recorder to capture a live video recording of your SMARTBoard presenation and then share it with your students!

February 17, 2010

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

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Quick overview: The SMART Recorder is a “screen capture” tool that allows you to record yourself teaching on your SMARTBoard. For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, I use a similar a technique to create the step-by-step video tutorials you see each week. The best part (that I saved for last) is that the SMART Video recorder is really easy to use!

What is required? The SMART Notebook software and a microphone. A video camera is NOT required. A USB drive is recommended for storing the videos.

How can it be used in the classroom: Using the SMARTBoard, you would record yourself teaching a lesson. Anything you write (or say) while teaching on the SMARTBoard is captured by the computer and then automatically packaged into a single video file. You could then provide your students with the video file at the end of class. The students could take home this video file (on a USB drive or sent by e-mail) and watch it as many times as they would like. This approach may be useful for students who have difficulties taking notes and listening at the same time.

What about in an individualized classroom? If you often find yourself explaining the same concepts, why not create a small bank of video tutorials? If your students are receptive to learning with video, you could provide one of these videos to a student (explaining a particular concept) and then circulate around the class to help the others. Once your student is done watching the video file, you would come back and see if anything needs further clarifying.

What do the final videos look like? Here’s an example video (click here to see) that was created by Mark Frost, a math teacher in the Eastern Shores School Board. Mark has created a bank of math videos for students in his individualized classroom using the SMART Recorder. If you’d like to get in contact with Mark Frost and discuss using his videos in your own classroom, please let me know.

Video Tutorial: To see an on-line video of to use the SMART Video Recorder, please click the large play button below:


SMARTBoard: Inserting YouTube and digital video files into your SMART Notebook presentations

January 19, 2010

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

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Quick overview: A step-by-step video tutorial on how to convert videos from YouTube or other digital video files (i.e – videos from a digital camera) so that they can be inserted into your SMART Notebook lessons.

How can it be used in the classroom? If you have access to a SMARTBoard in your classroom, you now have an alternative to dragging in a bulky TV with outdated VHS cassettes or DVDs to support your lesson. Instead, why not think about inserting pedagogically relevant digital videos from YouTube (or other sources) directly into your SMART Notebook presentations? These could be videos of current events or clips that best relate to your students’ interests.

What are the advantages to this approach? One of the advantages to embedding videos directly into a SMART Notebook presentation is that you can showcase videos from blocked sites, such as YouTube.  However, even if YouTube isn’t blocked in your centre, you won’t have to worry about finding the video at a later date or if you’ll have a fast enough Internet connection to play back it back smoothly. This is all possible because the embedded videos are stored locally (i.e – not on the Internet) within the Notebook presentation. In addition, digital videos have the potential to be more current that what you’d find on an older DVD or VHS cassette.

ICT Note: At this point in time, the SMART Notebook software only accepts Flash Video files (.FLV) and will not accept any other types of video files. This Blog posting focuses on how to convert video files into .FLV format with the Zamzar website.

Video Tutorial: This video demonstrates how to convert digital videos so that they can be embedded into presentations created with the SMART Notebook software:


SMARTBoard: How to calibrate your SMARTBoard

October 29, 2009

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

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Quick overview: How to ensure that the SMARTBoard accurately registers where you press with your finger or a pen. Beginner technique.

How can it be used in the classroom: As a rule of thumb, I highly recommend that you calibrate your SMARTboard before EACH class.  This quick and easy procedure (literally just a few seconds) will ensure that your SMARTBoard accurately registers where you press with your finger or pen during a presentation. An uncalibrated board will make it difficult for you to move around small objects or manipulate toolbars. A SMARTBoard will become uncalibrated if your digital projector or SMARTBoard is moved even a fraction of a inch!

Video Tutorial: To see a short on-line video of how to calibrate your board, please click the large play button below:

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SMARTBoard: Using the text tool with the SMART Notebook software

September 22, 2009

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

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Quick overview: An overview of the SMART Notebook text tool. Basic technique.

How can it be used in the classroom: If you prepare SMART Notebook lessons on a home or school computer without a SMARTBoard connected to it, you should familiarize yourself with the text tool. The text tool is needed when you are preparing your lessons in advance and don’t have access to the physical SMARTBoard pens to create handwritten text in your lessons. The following video also contains some useful tips for math and science teachers using the text tool.

Video Tutorial: To see an on-line video of how to use the text tool, please click the large play button below:

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SMARTBoard: How to group images or text in your SMART Notebook presentations

March 24, 2009

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

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Quick overview: How to group (i.e – combine together) multiple objects in your SMART Notebook presentations.  Intermediate technique.

How can it be used in the classroom? Let’s say you insert a picture of a house and then write the word “house” underneath it on the SMARTBoard. By default, the SMART Notebook software considers the word “house” and the image of a house as two separate objects. Why could this be problematic? Well, if you or a student tries to tap and move the image of the house on the SMARTBoard, the word “house” underneath it will NOT follow along. By grouping multiple objects together, you can move, resize or rotate them as one single object. (Note: Grouping is a little tricky to explain without actually seeing it in action. If you’re still not still not sure why you’d want to group objects, please watch my video tutorial below!)

Video Tutorial: How do you group objects? To see an on-line video overview of how to group objects in your SMART Notebook presentations, click the large play button below:

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SMARTBoard: Using Layers in your SMART Notebook presentations

February 25, 2009

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

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Quick overview: How to work with “layers” on the SMARTBoard. Intermediate technique.

How can it be used in the classroom? When dragging images or words on the SMARTBoard, you may notice that they do not behave the way you would expect them to. For example, the object you’re dragging may appear “underneath” or “on top” of another object. This may cause your object to either be hidden or cover another important element of your presentation. How do you control the “layering” of objects? Watch my video tutorial to find out..

Video Tutorial: To see an on-line video overview of how to work with layers in your SMART Notebook presentations, click the large play button below.

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Special note: In the video, I explain that you can “tap and hold” any object to make a context menu pop-up on the SMARTBoard to control your layering. However, if you are using a computer to prepare your SMART Notebook lessons, the same thing can be accomplished with a click of the “right mouse button” of your mouse.

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