SMART Notebook 17 – Math Equation Editor

May 9, 2018

Our math teachers were very happy to see that SMART Notebook 17 gives the user the abilities to insert and to edit equations.  The insertion tool allows them to handwrite the equation on a pop-up window and when completed, it converts to text and is placed on the present page. (Students love this!) The equation editor provides symbols such as square root and power functions.  Working with a keyboard they add numbers and letters.


We pull up the virtual keyboard in SMART Ink but you can access your regular keyboard as well.  Teachers are finding the equation editor helpful with the Notebook add-on, Geogebra which is found in the add-ons in the tabs’ panel.  Details for accessing these Notebook 17 math functions are found here.


Learn more about these math tools at the following links.

The Math Equation Editor:

Insert an Equation:


Happy Learning!


Girls and Beginning a 3D Printer Project

April 25, 2018

How can students conceptualize a design for a 3D printer? Cransbrook Middle School for Girls (Michigan) began with playdough.  For girls this is especially important.  According to Science:  Human Body and Mind, “Studies show that, on average, men are better than women at mentally rotating pictures of three dimensional objects (the 3D shapes task).”  The girls may have been better able to create their designs using playdough perhaps because their skills lean towards creating the initial objects physically rather than mentally.


Watch the students create, initiate and complete their 3D designs at

Read one study about the difference between girls and boys brains at


Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

How can we be inspired by 3D printing?

April 11, 2018

Some of our students wanted to see what other youth were creating on their 3D printers so they decided to make a presentation for the class.  Using SMART Notebook software, they showed how 3D printing is helping kids and what students are creating.  They embedded a video and showed part of it so that everyone could see how 3D printing could change a kid’s life.  This brought tears to my eyes!

Then they showed some innovative designs such as a dishwasher, and they linked to an article about a student who designed a test strip disposal unit for diabetics.  This boy who is only 12, won $1000 and now has sold 1000 3D printed units at $10 AUD each.  With our Dremel 3D printer, we all decided that we would like to design projects that fill a need or could potentially help others.


Check out the video & articles!

Changing a kid’s life:

3D Printed Dishwasher:

Test strip holder:


Happy Learning!

Our 3D Printer is Put to Use

March 28, 2018

We are just getting used to using our Dremel 3D printer.  At first we printed objects we found online but because they hoped to learn more, several students said that they wanted to create their own designs.  There are many 3D creation programs available such as Tinkercad, Vectory and Shapeways but we chose to buy a few copies of Sketchup for students which is only $49 (US/CAD)!

Try the free version of Sketchup first to see if it suits your needs.   Some of the students had previous experience with the program and others were real risk takers and figured things out.  Over the next few weeks, the more skilled students worked with those who were less knowledgeable so most people were able to design something.   It was great to see the students (and their teacher) so focused and excited!


find 3D files at Thingiverse:

free version of sketchup:  At the top of the page, click on Learn for the tutorials.

buy Sketchup for students:


Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

So… You are really sick and you can’t get into work!

January 31, 2018

You probably know what it is like when you are too sick to go to your classroom but you have to get a lesson plan into your supply teacher.  A fabulous new feature of the SMART Board (SB) with integrated IQ makes it possible for you to send your work from home directly to the SB.  When the supply teacher walks in, the students can make sure the board is on and the files will all be there ready to use.  This also works for you so that you can prepare ahead of time.  See the instructions here.

SMART Notebook Files and SMART Activities are all fully interactive in the Notebook player which is found in the IQ mode.  Here is a link to a ‘how to’ so that you can start using the feature right away.  In the next blog I will explain how to send and use non-SMART files.


Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

The SMART Learning Suite Online

January 17, 2018

SMART has responded to teachers’ requests to get Notebook online, and so this week I have been experimenting with  This site allows you to create quizzes and Lab activities and/or upload Notebook files from your computer, and share them all with students on internet-enabled devices such as iPads or Chromebooks.

Yes, you do need Notebook on your computer if you want to create new Notebook files or customize the ones you download from SMART Exchange.  However, you DO NOT need Notebook installed on the computer that is accessing The SMART Learning Suite online.    There is no ability to create Notebook files once you are in The SMART Learning Suite Online and editing them is limited to erasing pen marks and moving objects around the screen.   This is a positive aspect since it allows the interface to remain uncluttered and easy to learn.

I uploaded several files and was happy to see that the Activity Lab files that I made worked perfectly and that static pages looked the same as they did on my local computer.  Youtube videos that I had embedded loaded quickly and they filled my screen.  A minor downside is that 3D objects appeared but I could not manipulate them and while I have not tried all the widgets, I suspect that they will not work online because I tried the spinner, customizable dice and timer and a message appeared saying that they were not supported.  These are small niggles that SMART may address in the future.

With this suite, you can easily give students access to your content and then see the students who are online with you.  You can even disconnect them if you wish! If you suddenly decide you need a page for brainstorming or illustrating a point, one click gives you a blank canvas.  A huge bonus is the ability to press one button and start a Shout it Out session with the participating students.  Both these aspects make the whole experience dynamic!

What do I love about The SMART Learning Suite online?  It is simple, effective, all-inclusive and teachers can learn to use it in ten minutes.  That is my idea of SMART!


Start your own experiment today by accessing the following links.

SMART Learning Suite Online

Access the site:

Sign in instructions:

Quick Start Guide:

Watch the video:


Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

Google Expeditions – VR in the Classroom

November 8, 2017

At work, I was detailing my experience with virtual reality using a Play Station 4 virtual reality system when a colleague asked if I had looked at Google Expeditions.  No I had not!  That night I did some research and found out that a Google Expeditions app had to be download on my Android phone (Samsung A5).    I made sure I was using my WiFi so that I would not incur data charges.  After the app was loaded, I was not finished because this app requires an appliance to hold the phone and view in 3D.  Searching on the Net, I found that Google Cardboard was required.  There are many different models available and yes, some are cardboard, but I purchased a plastic device that had mostly 5 star reviews.   It was under $8!   The next day it arrived and I found it easy to set up.  After loading the app on my phone, I had to scan the QR code on the side of the viewer to let my phone know which ‘cardboard’ viewer I was using. I placed my phone into the device and very soon, a series of scenes loaded and I could see children in a classroom, view the planets, look around Paris and more.   In one expedition, I had a 360◦ expedition to the Taj Mahal, which described its history through audio and visual text.

The Google ‘Cardboard’ experience differs from the 1850s to the 1930s stereoscope or the View-Master, which was introduced in 1939 in that they produced static images.  With Cardboard, moving the head left, right, up or down, reveals different parts of the image as if you are standing in the middle of the scene.  I did find the image to be pixelated and thought it might be my phone. However, further experimentation with an iPhone 5S resulted in a similar appearance.  This is not close to the interactive experience I had with PlayStation 4 VR but for an $8 device I was more than satisfied,

I am not recommending a particular Cardboard device as I have only had experience with one model.  However, if you go to YouTube and type in Google Cardboard VR, you will find many videos that describe different viewers and explain how they work.  Google states that as of May 2017, there were over 600 expeditions and about 2 million students have had the Cardboard experience.  This technology could increase understanding of topics that in the past were difficult to describe.  There are exciting times ahead for our students!


Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

Future Possibilities with VR

October 25, 2017

My nephew saved his money for many months so that he could buy a virtual reality (VR) system and the other day I had the opportunity to try it out.  I am blown away.  I put on a helmet and headphones and then he gave me two wands.

With the system fired up, I saw that I was in a room with a 360◦ view and I had in front of me, a computer, desk, coffee machine and donuts.  My hands no longer resembled my own but I was able to control the ‘new’ hands with the wands.    First, I tried making coffee but because I was clumsy, I dropped the mug.  It would take some practice to become dexterous.  When I brought the donut to my mouth and then pulled it away, only half the snack remained.  A computer voice continually gave me tasks to perform.  As instructed, I deleted virtual email and hired workers for my business.  My nephew filmed my progress and it was funny to see my image moving about the space, carrying out the tasks when in reality there was NOTHING there.

This is only the beginning.  In the future, with the ability to perform in virtual reality, students could be transported to other countries, places of work, space and more, all in the safety of the classroom.   What impact will VR have on our youth as this technology becomes more widespread and affordable?

Check out this video to see how it works.  At approximately three quarters of the way through the video, you can see the wand system I was using.


Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

A Fun Attendance Activity for your SMART Board

October 11, 2017

Our teachers love to start the day with an attendance activity.  This routine ensures that the students know what to expect when they enter the classroom and for younger students, it is a simple way to have them review the spelling of their name.  James Hollis of Teachers Love SMART Boards has created a Halloween attendance activity that is easy to edit so that your students’ names are displayed.  It also greets them with `hello` in several different languages.  The downloaded SMART Notebook file includes instructions for editing.

To get to the page with the download, copy and paste the following url into your browser.


Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature

I Be Jammin’

September 27, 2017

Yesterday, as part of my professional development, I had the opportunity to play with a Jamboard.  What is that, you ask?  It is a classy looking whiteboard with a difference… or two.  Made by Google (and globally distributed by BenQ), it integrates with G-Suite (Google Suite).


Here are a couple of You Tube videos that illustrate the features… a picture is worth a thousand words after all!


You can see that the videos show the Jamboard in a business environment but when I think of coaching, math, science and more, there are many reasons I would like one of these in my classroom.  The words that come to mind are EASY, COLLABORATIVE and ENGAGING.  Why wouldn’t I want one?  Check it out!


Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature