Hitachi’s Interactive Projectors

August 16, 2017

For an affordable interactive display, we love our Hitachi interactive projectors.  The images are crisp and the special pens powered by 2 AAA batteries are accurate and responsive.  I like the fact that this projector calibrates automatically and that software is included in the purchase.  Starboard software is fairly intuitive but if you wonder how to use it, there are lots of videos on Youtube.  One feature I love is that you can simply write a word in the interactive area of Starboard, click on the drop down menu and search for that word on internet.  There is no faster way of finding information!  The toolbox in the toolbar area contains a screen block, stopwatch, spotlight, some math tools and more!  You can write and quickly convert to text so that notes appear more professional.  Another feature of this projector is that it functions without a computer being attached.  Make notes and save these files so you can open them at a later date or save them to a usb and transfer them to a computer.  There are templates stored as well so when your computer is out for repair, use the Venn diagrams, the backgrounds for student writing and planning, do some brainstorming and much more.

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

SMART IQ

August 2, 2017

What a great name for a new product; SMART IQ.  Intelligent but simple to use, this is an appliance that can be purchased with many of the new SMART Boards.  Adding it means that you can access internet, load Notebook files, run SMART Lab activities, cast from a tablet or computer and use your SMART Board as a white board that allows you to save notes…  all WITHOUT a computer attached.  Think of these scenarios.  You planned a lesson but your computer has been sent in for service.  You can use SMART IQ!  A planning time teacher wants to use your SMART Board but you need to use your computer.  No problem!  You want your students to work on an AMP activity but you need to make computer notes about the small student group who are working with you.   Detach your computer from the SMART Board and using IQ access internet to start AMP.

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

Making things simple: SMART Notebook’s Welcome Page

July 19, 2017

When Notebook 17 opens you will see a Welcome Page that displays among other things, links to your most recent files.  There is also a shortcut to the SMART Exchange where you can find many Notebook files that have been created by educators and educational companies.  What many new SMART users explore first is the “Learn the Basics” button.  When you click on this, you will be presented with online instructions and two downloadable pdfs:  one is a user guide and the other compares Notebook on Macs and  Windows machines.  You might also appreciate the troubleshooting section found here.

If you click on Unlock all Features, you will be presented with an online screen that will help you calculate the cost of buying the product for yourself or your classroom.  You will find a link at the top of the page to help you locate an educational seller who can provide the license for SMART Notebook. Note that your district may be buying Notebook software and this could result in a lower overall cost, so my advice is to leave this process to them if possible.

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

Great News for SMART Response Users

July 5, 2017

Some of our teachers were reluctant to update to Notebook when they learned that it no longer supported SMART Response.   Now they can!  SMART has been busy ensuring that response quizzes and formative assessments made in the original Response will now convert to Response 2.

I tried it and here’s how it works.  Open Notebook 17.  In the main menu, click on File and Open.  Navigate to your original Response quiz/test/assessment and watch as the file is automatically converted to Response 2.  You will get a message that a new activity is being made from your file and all pages in the file that were not part of the question set will remain the same.   Next you will see your original file and this may confuse you at first!  Scroll to the end of your response questions and the quiz will automatically load in SMART Response 2!   Once I saw that the test was running in Response 2, I deleted the pages from the original file.

I found out that any pictures from my original test did not appear in the updated file so I edited the new test to insert them into each question.  Note that you will not be able to drag the pictures from the original file because they are not in the correct format.  Use the capture tool to save them as individual jpg files.  Then insert these newly created picture files into your Response 2 quiz.  Math question types are not supported and there is a limit of 150 characters for the question text.   Otherwise, I am a happy camper!

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

One Purposeful Assignment

June 21, 2017

Notebooks Activity Lab is great isn’t it? The games are colourful and easy to use.  Even better, from the teacher perspective, completion takes only a few minutes and the content can be geared to classroom curriculum and student abilities.

Have you thought about challenging your students to create games that address a particular subject and that will meet the needs of children in the lower grades?  How much fun would it be for a student to make the activity, push it out to the student’s devices and then watch as they play the games that they made.   Peer feedback about the activities would drive the student creators to improve the content and to be more specific about addressing needs.

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

Accessing Notebook 17

June 7, 2017

You have probably heard that Notebook 17 is out.  If you are presently using a version of Notebook, it will not update automatically.  You will have to go to the smarttech.com website to download it and you will have to have administration rights on your computer to install the program.  This may mean that your IT department will have to do it for you.  They probably have a plan for rolling out the new software and this means you may have to wait until the fall to try out the new features.  However, if you want to explore these at home, download the trial version of Notebook 17.  Here is the link to the download page… https://education.smarttech.com/en/products/notebook/download

In future blogs I will be talking about Notebook 17’s new features.

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

SMART Exchange for SMART lab activities

May 24, 2017

SMART Learning Suite is an integrated educational software platform designed to enable natural and collaborative learning experiences.

SMART lab gives teachers the means to quickly build game-based activities that amaze and engage students on their devices or front-of-room display.

Check out the SMART Exchange for the lab activities that people are uploading.  At the American site there are now 1,187 activities.  While they are very simple to create, this is a great place to get ideas or see how these activities work.  Don’t forget to upload your creations to the SMART Exchange by clicking on Share a Resource at the top of the screen.  While they can always adapt American or other countries’ resources, we are calling on Canadians to share more of their creations on this rich resource site.

Watch how easy it is

Create activities using your own lessons in a few minutes. It’s that simple and customizable, and will delight students.

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

101 Novel Ideas: Inspiration for the tired teacher

May 10, 2017

This just caught my eye… “101 Novel Ideas: Inspiration for the tired teacher” from the TES website (www.tes.com/teaching-resources). I was thinking about the use of technology in conjunction with reading and so combined the (mainly writing) activities with Notebook.

1. The students could illustrate a passage from their story and then have a sound button so that non-readers could hear the student’s description.  This would take planning and a script!

2. Use maps.google.com to find the area described in the book and then drop down to street level to drive around.  Use the screen capture tool to grab a picture of a school, church or store, place it on a Notebook page and then explain why (using text or a sound byte) the character might be there.

3. With permission, take pictures of classmates and add them to one Notebook page.  Label each as a character from a novel and then use the sound recorder to have the participants explain why they were chosen.  This will avoid any negative comments by the creator of the page.

 

Once complete, all of these would be great activities to share with others.

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

Game Show on Notebook 16.2

April 26, 2017

Notebook 16.2 is out!  Every time there is an update, I can’t wait to check it out and see what has changed.  Game Show is a new activity that has been added to SMART Lab.  It reminds me of Wheel of Fortune as there is a spinning wheel, a TV host and two teams.  You can add content to review subject matter, solve problems or just to play trivial pursuit on a rainy afternoon when recess outside is not possible.   Even better, get the kids to create the quiz.   Easy to edit and fun to play, your students will love competing to find out which team rules!  Keep a chart for champions on your wall.

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

Comment on: I Don’t have Time to Teach my Students how to Use the Program

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 pd@advanced-education.com

 

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature