Although I have had the opportunity and pleasure of using a Smartboard for 12+ years, I continually am encouraged when colleagues ask me demonstrate how the smartboard tools work, what is found in the Gallery, etc.
Recently I spent half a day with some colleagues where they played and learned about the Smartboard, its tools, its resources, how to engage students, what kind of activities, assessments and demonstrations of learning can be used, etc.
These 5 tabs are important to understand. With the Page Sorter, one can see all the pages that you are developing, you can even put them in groups or move them around. The Gallery Tab holds all the smart-tech developed resources and it is one tab I spend the most time on with the Gallery Essentials and Lesson Activity Toolkit. The Attachment Tab allows me to attach any files while the Properties Tab can change the page background or begin a text or Page Recording session. Finally, the Add-ons Tab has the potential for personalization where I can upload third-party applications that work within the smartboard environment (a favorite is Smartboard Extreme Collaboration where mobile devices can interact with the smartboard!)
It’s also important to play with the Toolbar – different pens, magnification, highlights, integration of photos from a document camera, screen shade, handwriting recognition, shape tool, etc. make the smartboard multi-purposeful for both students and teachers.
Gallery Essentials contains 6650 items – that’s a lot of picture, interactives, files and themes! Take time to look at each folder found within this Gallery – you’ll be glad you did. Although not sorted out by grade level or Alberta curricular content there are many usuable resources available here.
The Lesson Activity Toolkit or LAT contains 760 items with pictures, interactives and files. The strength of this resource is the already-made structures that you can input images or text or video, etc. so that your students can interact and learn about a concept. Go carefully through each of these folders, paying close attention to the Examples as they give you great ideas on how you can use them in the classroom. Another resource of course is Smart Exchange (free to register), but I do like have teachers know how activities can be developed before searching out ready-made ones.
The important piece, is to speak with colleagues, have your students work constantly on the smartboard, don’t be afraid to try new things, learn from other smartboard blogs, tweets, etc. It’s a very robust tool and it takes some time to get to know all of its offerings.