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Mar 14

Smartening up on the SMART Board

Posted by Dara Eisenstein in Council of Students Blog on Mar 14, 2012

COS on Smartboard

The Council of Students sponsored a workshop on using SMART Boards on February 25, part of a continuing series of workshops to help students integrate technology in their classrooms. The free workshop was open to all graduate students and provided an overview of the SMART Board and specific suggestions for using it to teach math, social studies, science, reading and writing.

SMART Boards are essentially interactive whiteboards, sort of like a big iPad in which you can use your fingers to move and manipulate text and images on a screen. Just like a whiteboard, you can write on it, using either a stylus or your finger. You can even transform writing into type, which works even when you don't have the neatest handwriting.

During the two-hour workshop, students were encouraged to re-create lessons on the SMART Board and also got the chance to explore the SMART Board Notebook software on laptop computers, giving each student a chance to explore the program on their own.

Besides basic tips, students came away with specific ways to use the SMART Board, as well as templates they could tweak for their own students. To help teach editing, graduate students learned how to use the SMART Board's infinite cloner to make a proofreading mark checklist. Because the infinite cloaner allows users to create copies of the editing marks without actually moving the original, children can move the editing marks to their proper place in an unedited piece of writing. The infinite cloner tool was also used to help children see the different combinations of change used to make specific amounts of money.

While many teachers use the SMART Board to show videos, accessing certain sites such as YouTube may be impossible because of school firewalls, but students at the workshop also learned how to get around this by downloading video clips and converting them to a file that is compatible with the SMART Board software. They also learned how to create original games by using the linking tool, which allows you to link to photos, audio, videos, files and other SMART Board files.

Many schools and classrooms are equipped with the technology but teachers don't always harness all of its capabilities. Some students who attended the workshop said they've seen teachers use it mostly as a projector or as simple whiteboard.

"I feel like I learned the secrets," said Charelyse Tomlinson. "My kids will love the games and activities."

Look out for future technology workshops and give the Council of Students feedback on what technology topics you'd like to learn about by filling out this short survey.

tagged council of students, smart boards, technology
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