Eric and I will be presenting today on the Smartboard. We both have had experience using Smartboards in a classroom setting. We had some basics down, but often felt stuck when it did not work how we expected. We also were not aware of the capabilities of the Smartboard beyond its use as an interactive screen. This research was a great opportunity for us to better understand how to use a Smartboard.
How to use the Smartboard:
One advantage of presenting only a week after learning how to use a Smartboard myself is that I know how it feels to be new to this device. The first thing we will show is how to plug in a Smartboard, which, with 3 plugs, could be overwhelming and confusing.
When using a Smartboard with a Mac, one must purchase a Video to USB adapter. These can be found on Amazon for as cheap as $5.
Later in our presentation, we provide a link explaining how to get information from an iPad or iPhone onto the Smartboard.
After showing how to connect the Smartboard to a computer, we show the basics of how to write on two different types of Smartboards we have run into with a marker.
An alternate Smartboard (note the 4 markers)
This is the type of Smartboard I have used when subbing, which differs from the type seen at Warner.
In our presentation we show how a Smartboard is just like a touch screen computer. We show a number of simple features of the Smartboard, such as how to show a website, how to use video, and how to cover up and then reveal answers or questions so that students do not become overwhelmed by too many words on the screen. We also show how to use some more complicated features which we thought may be useful. We attempt to focus on basics, but also on a few tricks that we could think of an immediate use for.
With only one Smartboard in the classroom and only 20 minutes to present, the options for allowing our learners to interact with the Smartboard are limited. We do allow about half of the students in the class to come up and try writing on the Smartboard during our presentation, two students doing it one way, and two doing it another way. The students who do not get a turn will see what the other students are doing, and where they may struggle.
The best way to learn how to use a Smartboard is to try it out. Our presentation gives the basics, and our classmates have access to Smartboards in their classrooms with which they could give using one a try. As we will show, there are many videos available on the internet which guide teachers in using a Smartboard.
The Smartboard is more than just a gimmicky touch screen. It is a tool that can truly aid in inquiry and in a constructivist setting. On account of the Smartboard coming with its own software, teachers have posted videos and sample lessons on YouTube, accommodating different levels of familiarity with the Smartboard. Teachers from all over really did model the social constructivist mode of thinking allowing all teachers to build on varying level of expertise in lesson planning and use.
Smartboards also allow for genuine inquiry. Because of its intractability, students can come up to the board and add their ideas in a variety of formats, whether it be adding to a list, solving an equation, or beinging a certain portion of an image into focus. It allows students to immediately tackle a question or create their own, while other students can add on to or challenge that idea. Rather than students trying to scribble down everything that the teacher is saying, the Smartboard centers the focus on the discussion because the Smartboard also allows any edit that is made via writing to be saved. This maximizes the time spent on learning. Students can continue their inquiry and debate from where they left off, building on the ideas from a previous point in time. They can review the day’s progress at home and come back with more questions and ideas to be discussed with their classmates and teacher.
Our own lesson aligns with constructivist pedagogy by considering who our learners are and by building on their prior knowledge. Because we know all of our learners, we know that they already know the basics of how to use a computer, so we do not teach these skills. In the beginning of our presentation, inspired by Loucks-Horsley (2010), we ask our classmates what experience they have with Smartboards so that we know our audience.
Throughout our presentation, we show benefits of the Smartboard by showing the potential it has to save time, money, and to do things that a Whiteboard or chalkboard did not allow. We show a video of secondary school teachers sharing how the Smartboard has changed their classrooms:
We also show some neat tricks that we learned from Youtube videos, and tried out ourselves using Smart Notebook, the software that is useful with the Smartboard.
One of the major disadvantages of a Smartboard is that it has the potential to not work. We will mention this, but we also know our learners, an important aspect of being an instructor. The majority of our learners, with the exception of the course instructors, took Integrating Science and Literacy with us last semester. They have seen a Smartboard not functioning.
Obviously, any piece of instructional material may not work, but the cure for a chalk board or Whiteboard is simpler, such as getting a new marker. It is important that teachers have a back-up plan in case the Smartboard malfunctions in a way that can not be easily and quickly remedied.
We show two videos of people who we believe are using the Smartboard ineffectively.
We thought that this use was tacky and distracting:
We thought that this one showed an unprepared instructor who was basically using the Smartboard as a chalkboard:
We show a number of ways a Smartboard could be used, and a number of features, allowing our learners to think up creative ways to use this technology in their classrooms. Using Smart Notebook, we show how to do some neat tricks that we learned while performing our research. One such trick allows learners to move words around inside a Metamap template while leaving the template in place. This way, students can work as a group on a single screen to add and move information around. A framing question can be moved to the parking lot and back based on the group’s decisions, or a data table can be created and once the group feels comfortable with it, can be grouped together, locked and moved around. Students can now pool their data and ideas and are free to manipulate them in any way they feel without the fear losing the organizational framework. Another tool is the magic pen, which allows the user to spotlight or zoom in on a portion of an image. In the context of camp, students can use this to create more meaning out of an image. One can spotlight a pin on a map or zoom in on a specific bacterial colony on a plate. These are just a few of the many capabilities the Smartboard and its software have to offer. We hope our presentation gives the cohort and any other readers/viewers a starting point in exploring the full potential of this technology rather than just using it as a projector screen when it can do much more.
Access to Smartboard/direction provided by Michael Occhino
Advanced Smartboard lesson creation. (2013). Retrieved from
Class Tools (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.classtools.net/random-name-picker/8_DBJTAj
Loucks-Horsley, S. (2010). Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics. Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Teaching Physics with a SMART board. (2008). Retrieved from
Oreo (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.oreo.com/default.aspx
Writing with Digital Ink on the SMARTboard (2013). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcx9j5y2BwQ
W.T.I.’s impact on Pulaski High School. Smartboards impacting learning. (2012). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=qxm4uFk7NBY#t=68