What to Do with Your Smartboard, and How to
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What to Do with Your Smartboard and How to Do It A Tutorial and Resource Page Introduction: Many of you have seen the Smartboards around the high school and at other schools in the Johnstown-Monroe School District. These are tools that can significantly enhance the classroom experience for both students and teachers, and can serve in many different capacities. The purpose of these pages is to help you to use (or plan to use) a Smartboard in your classroom, either for an occasional lesson or as a regular part of your class planning. Please feel free to explore this site, and offer any feedback you might have for me through the Feedback/Contact link. My intention is to make this a site useful for all Smartboard users. General Uses for Smartboards (Things You Knew It Could Do) Your Smartboard has many functions built into it, just by virtue of it being a computer. As such, it can run many standard programs/functions: CD/DVD Player- Most computers can play CDs and/or DVDs in their CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drives, and as such they can be used to show movies or play music to your classes. The large screen size makes it easier for all students to see, and speakers can be added to enhance the sound. For those still showing the occasional VCR tape, the VCR can be hooked up through the projector to show those tapes on the larger screen, as well. PowerPoint- PowerPoint presentations are perfect for Smartboards, since they take advantage of all its major features. They are designed for computers to begin with, and Smartboards are (at heart) just computers with big screens. Word Processing- Any word processor can be displayed onscreen, allowing for notes to be easily projected and read by the students. Since many programs (such as Microsoft Word) can add hypertext links into their text, you can use these to add images, etc. to the notes. You never have to worry about bringing posters, pictures, diagrams, or maps to class, since all of those things can be linked to your notes, and can be shown with the touch of a finger. Web Browsing- Since the school computers are tied into the internet, any normally-accessible web content can be displayed for your classes. As such, you can instantly access things like Google Earth, UnitedStreaming content, or anything else you can find online. It’s also worth noting that you can do a lot of your preparation work at home, upload it to the school website, and then run it in class right from the web. This makes it both easy for you in class, and easy for students that may be absent to access from home. Video Conferencing- Through the fairly simple addition of a webcam, and some free software from Skype or Yahoo Instant Messaging, your classroom could be hooked up to any other location in the world. This could be useful for foreign language classes who wanted to link with classes in other countries, or perhaps to do projects involving other schools in the area. Other Programs- Any computer program can be run onscreen, allowing the use of computer games or other programs, which can allow some unusual and innovative classroom experiences. I have successfully run the Diplomacy game in my own classroom, but could also see using SimCity for a government class, or Rollercoaster Tycoon for Physics. Smartboard-Specific Applications (Bells and Whistles) Smart Notebook- The Smartboard comes with its own software, which can function as a whiteboard with the four included color “markers,” but also has many other uses. These applications include many graphics that can be marked on or over, such as blank maps, coordinate planes, even football field diagrams! Recorder- This can be a great function for Smartboard users, since it allows the user to record anything shown on the board. Combined with a microphone, an entire lesson can be recorded, then left for a substitute, who can essentially just push “play” then sit back and let the teacher teach the same class he or she would have done if he or she were there in person. Discipline-Specific Ideas Art- The ability to show any piece of art shown on the internet can turn the Smartboard into an amazing tool for art history classes, and the ability to manipulate photographs or other images with software such as Photoshop could lead to truly innovative lessons. Anything that can be done on a computer can be shown to a whole class, such as touring an Egyptian tomb and viewing the frescoes, or rendering a photo into a (simulated) chalk drawing. Language Arts- Speech classes could easily benefit from the use of PowerPoint, while any grammar class could benefit from the ability to move and rearrange text, which could be done on Word (or, indeed, any word processing program). Many classic works can be viewed online, making line-by-line analysis simple and easy to follow. Foreign Language- Obviously, a great deal of foreign language software exists, such as Babelfish and other translator programs, or tutorial programs and games. The ability to share one of these programs with students might be very useful as an in-class activity, and students would certainly benefit from real-time contacts with classrooms in other countries, if such could be arranged. Mathematics- There are many possibilities here, since the Smartboard can be used to show any mathematical concept, even those that are hard to demonstrate on calculators, such as 3D graphs. Even puzzles like the famous Rubik’s Cube can be manipulated on computer using Java applications, and thus can be brought into the classroom easily by the teacher. Physical Education- Diagrams of the body, some of which are interactive, could easily showcase lessons. Social Studies- The possibilities here are probably endless. I routinely use Google Earth, UnitedStreaming, and notes on Word for my classes, as well as games like Diplomacy. Other- There are probably thousands of uses out there that teachers are using, from showing blueprints of houses in an Industrial Technology class to diagramming plays for football. As I get other ideas of my own, or as I get good ideas submitted to me, you can expect to see this section (as well as the others, I’d wager) grow.