March 8, 2017
This is my personal observation and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of those with whom I work. I do invite debate and would love to hear from you about how much we need to demonstrate to our students. For me the teaching includes safety, ethics and consideration for others.
From time to time I talk to teachers who say that they like the games in SMART Lab and in the Table Activity Toolkit but they just do not have time to show the students how to play them. Let’s consider this. When was the last time an adult sat down with their child to show them how to use an electronic game? Often it is the other way round! The child shows the adult. I remember when an enthusiastic, 7 year old Minecraft player tried to teach me the ropes. It caused him to be more articulate and to slow down! I could almost see the wheels turning as he tried to figure out how to explain it all so that it made sense for someone else. As for me, I was blown away by his understanding of the intent, rules and strategies and he had learned either by himself or by soliciting advice from his brother or friends.
Chances are that when you put the students in front of any of the games, they will figure them out, or they will ask a friend and that friend just may learn how to teach others effectively. Additionally, if they do not play in the way it was intended, does that mean that they are not learning? Sometimes they use the game in a way that teaches them something they need to know. The fun and learning just may be in the challenge of figuring it all out.
What are your thoughts? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
February 22, 2017
A little while ago, I wrote about the Widgets on the SMART Exchange. Here is one that can be downloaded and there is a video that demonstrates creative uses.
Download the Random Words Slot Machine and see the video at http://tinyurl.com/randomwordsslotmachine.
You cannot add or change words but that did not matter to my students because we had fun using the ones that were available. Some of them tried to see how quickly they could draw the pictures of the words when the appeared. Two could work together on our flat panel SMART Board. Then they compared the ideas in their images. It was amazing how different they were. It shows that when people hear words, they can all picture them differently.
What do you picture when you think of a tree? What does your friend picture?
February 8, 2017
Have you checked out the Widgets on the SMART Exchange site?
Go to exchange.smarttech.com (Note: A shortcut can be found in Notebook.) Scroll down the column at the left on the search page. You will see 3D content, manipulatives, Gallery collections etc. Click on Widgets. Now to the right you will see all the widgets that are available.
Many teachers like the piano for the music curriculum, the math tool for practising coordinates or the six thinking hats. I like the trash can. When you download it, you are asked if you want to open or save it. I open it and soon a new Notebook file will open with the trash at the top left. Now if there is something on the page that you or the students don’t want, you can drag it into the trash. I save the page in My Content so that it is handy for other files that I build.
Questions? Please contact me at email@example.com
January 25, 2017
The other day, I was working with Erin who shared her idea for making simple SMART Table activities that help her special needs students learn. She wanted them to perform one to one matching, self-correcting activities. Her idea was to use one background and isolate the pictures from it to match to the background images and she created the activity in Hot Spots. See the instructions for her activity here and download the software at
The manual for the table can be found on the download page for the Table Activity Toolkit.
January 11, 2017
We have been excited about trying out our 3D printer but we were unsure how to involve students in using this new technology. Searching online we found some worthy projects for students. Future Engineers (http://www.futureengineers.org) has several challenges a year. The most recent is a challenge to “create a digital 3D model of an object that could be used by an astronaut to maintain physical health on a 3-year mission to Mars.” There is a description of the problem and a challenge to consider the design of the item. American students can enter their design in an online contest and you can see some of their submissions and winners in the Future Engineers gallery.
Stratasys offers a white paper that describes seven 3D printing challenges including designing a game controller and creating a source of hydro power. This paper also describes “managing 3d print projects for optimal learning”. Find this paper at http://tinyurl.com/stratasyswhitepaper
Let me know if you find other great sources for 3D printing ideas and I will credit your submission and share these resources with our readers.
December 7, 2016
We have some happy math teachers in our school! In the past it was not possible to write math functions with powers and symbols unless math tools were installed in Notebook. Now teachers can click on the Add ons (puzzle piece) in the top toolbar and activate Insert Equation icon which is an Epsilon and pen icon. A new windows opens on the page and you can handwrite the equation. Once you are finished, click the check mark to place the typed equation on the Notebook page. Note that at this time, this does not allow you to solve the equation. SMART is constantly evolving and maybe we will see this in the future?
If you have any questions about this SMART Math, do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
November 30, 2016
We are still busy learning about our 3D printer and because so many want to use it, we purchased a cart that will allow us to move the printer from class to class. The small cart has a footprint (24″D x 26 1/2″ W) but it contains 5 tubs for storage, an adjustable 4 spool holder, and a 6 outlet power bar. You can see the printer stand and watch a movie about it on our website at goo.gl/bd6xeN
For more information about 3D Printer carts, please contact us at email@example.com
November 23, 2016
We are so excited to learn about our new printer. It prints 3D objects! This is perfect when we cannot allow students to handle precious artifacts or perhaps we have only one unique object but we really need four. It also allows students to learn some programming. Software such as Sketchup, Tinkercad, Autocad etc. are used to design the object and then the printer builds up layers to create the item. You can download thousands of completed projects from Thingiverse.com as well. Check out their featured collections! Learning to use this printer will provide students with skills that can be used in the future!
I am getting trained next week so I will be getting back to this topic in the near future that details my experiences. Also watch for my blog about the special Copernicus cart that holds the printer.
For more information about 3D printers, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
November 9, 2016
We are so happy with the changes that SMART has made to Notebook. It is far more interactive and so much less teacher centred than it used to be. At first we didn’t notice that there was something new in the SMART Lab activities. However, finally we saw that we were able to share these activities with students via their internet enabled devices. The teacher makes the activities and then starts them the same way that they do with Shout it Out. The students can then work on the activities as individuals or with a partner.
For more information about this, see pages 130 and 131 in the SMART Notebook 16.1 user’s guide. Find it at http://tinyurl.com/mynb16-1.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com
October 27, 2016
We are having a lot of fun on our SMART Board this week as the board has been one of our activity centres in kindergarten. The students are painting Hallowe’en pictures on a black background… very spooky! When each student has made a picture, our educational assistant, Katie, is going to have them use the Notebook sound recorder to capture their voices reading the sentences. She will embed the sound so that when the students touch the sentence, they will hear the reading. For the next two weeks, we will listen to each student’s recording and then have the students read the sentences by themselves. This is a great choral reading activity.
To do this activity, create a black background in Notebook on the number of pages required for each child to have one. The students use the paintbrush tool to create a Hallowe’en “painting”. Use the Chiller font in orange to type their story. Note: Do not print this out as the black background consumes a lot of printer ink and you will not be able to hear the voices!
If you have any questions about this activity, do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org