Smart Board Tips and Tricks

Almost every general-use classroom on our campus has an interactive Smart Board installed, which means we have a remarkably versatile technological tool at our fingertips (literally!) when we teach. These devices are touch-sensitive, interactive whiteboards that can act as both a screen for projected images and an extension of a computer’s monitor. Combined with the Smart Notebook software, which is installed on the instructor workstation computers in all of our smart board classrooms, you can create documents, templates, and interactive presentations. You can also use the software to import other files–like a PowerPoint presentation, for example–and convert them into Smart Notebook files for classroom display. 

The digital pens that are in the Smart Board tray allow you to annotate and write notes on an image, document, or Smart Notebook page. If you want to capture notes from a class discussion, for example, you can use the Smart Notebook software, pull up a notebook page (or pages), take notes with the digital pens, and then save the file as a PDF to post on Blackboard or email to your students. If you have a set of PowerPoint slides, and you want to break in the middle of the presentation to have a discussion and capture the class notes from it, you can import your slides into Smart Notebook, insert some blank notebook pages into the appropriate point in your presentation, and after the class notes are entered, save the entire presentation–slides and text–as a PDF.

This type of annotation and saving/exporting is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the things you can do with a Smart Board. Want to pull up a webpage within a Smart Notebook presentation? Embed a YouTube video? Have text that doesn’t reveal itself until you want it to? Insert animations or combine images and text? You can do all of that. You can transform handwriting into typeface, you can manipulate the position of items on the page simply by touching and dragging, and you can highlight or mark up text documents interactively.

If you’re intrigued, but aren’t sure where to begin, the best place to start is this quick overview from Smart Technologies. If you want to see a basic overview, rather than just read one, this video is a nice introduction to the Smart Board and Smart Notebook software:

You can also look at some Smart Technologies tutorial videos for both a basic overview of the Notebook software and how to use the digital pens and eraser to write text (and save it as a variety of file types).

If you’re already familiar with the Smart Board and its basic functions, and you’re ready to start exploring some of the more advanced features and capabilities, you can start at this Google site, which has aggregated a bunch of tips and tricks for Smart Board users; you can also use the “Training Session” links on the left-hand menu to find some really good materials on various aspects of the Smart tools. The Computing and Information Technology division at Clemson University also maintains a helpful Smart Board page, which has a set of handy 2-minute tutorials.

Finally, Daniel Rufer, a high school mathematics teacher, has put together a great 2-part video of “27 Smart Board Tips and Tricks” that contains a bunch of really cool demonstrations of techniques and tools:

Part 1:

and Part 2:

If you’re intrigued by any or all of these tips and tricks, the CETL staff is happy to help you implement them in your own classes. Just come by the CETL, or make an appointment, and we’ll get started!

The CETL Blog will be off on Spring Break next week, just like our students. We’ll resume our weekly updates on March 20. Until then, one more week of hard work, just like this pup:



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