SMART Boards are electronic interactive white boards that work in concert with computers featuring SMART Notebook software. The SMART corporation markets these products primarily to school districts. From my experience as a fifth-grade teacher, SMART Boards help make learning more fun and engage students in lessons, especially math lessons.
SMART Board 600 Series
The SMART Board in my classroom is a 600 series that does not feature a connected projector. Instead, my classroom projector is mounted separately onto the ceiling. The only problem with this setup is that my SMART Board cannot be moved to another location in the room without also moving and reinstalling the projector. Here is a picture of the SMART Board 600 series.
My SMART Board is connected to my tablet computer, supplied by my school district. Although I take my tablet home each night, classroom set up only takes about thirty seconds. Since my tablet is loaded with SMART Notebook software, I write my lessons using this software. Students can come up to the board to write answers, add slides, drag pictures, add data to data displays, locate cities on maps, and a thousand other reasons.
Every teacher has some students in the classroom who seldom volunteer answers. From my experience with the SMART Board, students are really drawn to the whiteboard and will seek any excuse for a chance to use it. My fifth-graders love writing answers on the board using the markers or just their own fingers. They like to “sign” their answers on the SMART Board and save the SMART Notebook slide after they finish. I encourage this practice because it provides me with authentic proof of student learning! I would suggest that teachers use these sorts of slides for parent-teacher conferences as well.
Focus Students on Important Information
The SMART Board has a feature called the “Magic Pen” that allows teachers and students to highlight vital information on the whiteboard. If a user draws a circle around part of a map, the circled portion will become highlighted, and the rest of the map will go dark. Another way to emphasize important information is to draw a rectangle on the SMART Board. The information inside the rectangle will increase in size.
Both the circle and rectangle functions allow the user to drag the shape around the screen or increase the size of the shape. My students love this feature and it really helps me to draw their attention to a major idea on the screen! The Longwood Central School District in New York published a SMART Board update that provides visuals of the “Magic Pen” functions. You can find it here.
Assist Visual Learners
Visual learners will love the SMART Board. The whiteboard helps teachers to incorporate visuals like maps, web pages, video clips, photographs and drawings to lessons to keep student interest. For example, I can show a map depicting a Civil War battle or show pictures representing data for a data display. My students also love Ten-Minute Math, a part of the Math Investigations 2.0 program. Some Ten-Minute Math lessons, such as Quick Images, provide visual representations for students to study for three seconds. Then I cover the visuals and have the students recreate the picture on their own notecards.
I love my SMART Board 600 series whiteboard, but more importantly, my students love it! It grabs their attention, encourages participation, and make it easier for me to present and use visuals.
SMART company,SMART Board 600 Series Interactive Whiteboard, smarttech.com
Longwood Central School District, Smartboard and Notebook 10 – What’s New, longwood.k12.ny.us
My own teaching experience using the SMART Board