We’re just finishing up a major SMART Board installation in our district. In the last 15 months, we’ve installed more than 180 boards in our district. So far, the reception has been nothing less than astounding. These boards have had a transformational effect on how instruction is delivered in the classroom. Teachers who were fighting against them a year ago have now threatened to quit if we take them away.
From a professional development standpoint, it’s difficult to provide the right training at the right level at the right time. We’ve offered 3-4 quick introductory sessions this fall. A group of teachers are providing a graduate workshop on using the boards effectively, and we had more than 80 teachers voluntarily attend the first of these sessions before school started in August. But it’s still no surprise that I’ve been getting some emails like this one recently:
I don’t suppose that something already exists in writing that might help those of us using the Smartboard? I did attend a session and am using the board now, but I have a hard time understanding my notes and being a visual person, I really need something in front of me. I have been successful in what I’ve used it for, but I know there’s so much more I could be doing.
There are lots of resources online for teachers who want to use SMART Boards in their classrooms. Here are a few:
- SMART Board Lessons Podcast: Canadian teachers Ben Hazzard and Joan Badger produce a weekly podcast on using the SMART Board in the classroom. They cover a wide range of topics in their show, and the archives are organized by subject area. Since these are audio shows, busy teachers can listen in the car or on their ipods while doing other things.
- Teacher LED: This site provides teaching resources for interactive whiteboards. According to the site, these resources “allow the teacher to explain, demonstrate and provide examples to further the students’ understanding of the lesson. By not circumventing the teacher’s role… they allow the teacher to provide as much instruction and examples as he/she deems necessary at an appropriate pace.” Most of the resources are math-related, but there are also some English and geography resources.
- Using the SMART Board to Teach Engaging Lessons: This video podcast covers many of the SMART Board tools, including Smart Notebook 10. While it has a math emphasis, there are useful resources for all teachers.
- Great K-3 Sites for Using the SMART Board: This is a collection of SMART Board resources from Julie Thompson for teachers of early elementary students.
- Engaging Learners the SMART Board Way: This workshop takes learners through interactive SMARTboard activities, an overview of the Notebook software, 12 ideas for using the boards in class, and various curricular resources for the core content areas.
- SMART Board, AirLiner, and Senteo Activities: This site has a number of activities that you can download and use in your classroom. They also accept submissions, so you can contribute your ideas, too.
- Lee’s Summit Resources: This is a good collection of SMART Board resources collected by Lee’s Summit R-7 School District in Missouri.
- Smart Technologies Training Center: The makers of the SMART Boards have a number of great resources online. This is a series of videos on using the SMART Notebook software.
- :60 Sec Tech: Despite the name, this video podcast is actually a couple minutes long. Various SMARTBoard concepts are covered in small, easy-to-digest pieces.
- SMART Exchange: Again, from SMART Technologies. This is the place to go to meet other teachers and exchange SMARTBoard tips and resources.
- TeacherTube Videos: These videos run the gamut from explaining what a SMART Board is to showing how it can be used to teach advanced concepts in chemistry.
- SmartBees: Teachers Mike Bradac, Kelly Fisher, and Elana Acciardo provide ongoing SMART Board workshops in our district. This is a portal with links to the multitiude of resources they’ve collected for using these devices in the classroom.