Adding a PDF file to SMART Notebook 17

June 20, 2018

If you have a SMART Board in your classroom, you may already know that you can write on PDF files.  But, what if you want to highlight, spotlight, magnify, or use a screen shade?   Maybe you would like to add blank pages or games to the file.  Many of us are accommodating this by using the PDF files within Notebook.  It is easy!  Just follow these steps.

  1. Open the PDF file in Acrobat Reader or similar PDF program.
  2. Click on File in the top menu.
  3. Click on Print.
  4. Scroll until you see ‘SMART Notebook Document Writer’.
  5. Decide which pages you want printed.
  6. Click Print.
  7. You are presented with 3 options
  8. Choose a. We will discuss options b and c in a future blog.
  9. The file will open in Notebook. Each PDF page will appear in a new page in Notebook.

This is a flat file.  You will not be able to edit it although you can drag to make it larger or smaller.  One thing I have found is that it is best to move the resulting text/graphics up and then lock them down to make sure they remain in place.

The GREAT news is that you can print any page into Notebook… from internet web pages, to Outlook calendars.  Try it out and engage your students with additional tools.


Happy Learning!


Importing PowerPoint Files into SMART Notebook Software 17

June 6, 2018

Many teachers have created PowerPoint presentations to deliver the content of their lessons.  In the last blog, I mentioned the SMART Ink toolbar that is found in PowerPoint’s slideshow mode.  It adds more functionality but we can allow even more interactivity if we import the PowerPoint file into Notebook.  Here are the steps:

  1. Open Notebook.
  2. Click on File in the top menu.
  3. Click on Import.
  4. Navigate to the PowerPoint you want to use.
  5. Click Open.

Soon a new Notebook file will open.  If there were 5 pages in your PowerPoint, there will be 5 Notebook pages.  The backgrounds and all the text will there and you will be able to rearrange them as you wish.  Now you can add Youtube videos, graphics, links, and sound and you will be able to use the spotlight, screen shade, and magnifier.   You will also be able to add a game, access Shout it Out for instant student feedback, and deliver a quiz to gauge student understanding of your topic.  The good news is that you can do all this from one program… SMART Notebook (17).

In the next blog, find out how to add a PDF file to Notebook.


Happy Learning!

Using PowerPoint on the SMART Board

May 23, 2018

When I was in the local high school the other day, I noticed that a couple of teachers were using PowerPoint on their SMART interactive flat panels.  They were happy to tell me some good news.  They discovered that when they are in slideshow mode, there is a small toolbar that allows them to enhance their presentations. This permits them to ink their presentations, highlight important words, and add pages.  Adding pages to a PowerPoint presentation allows them to conduct a brainstorming session, make notes about a discussion or create quick illustrations or diagrams.  The art teacher was using a blank page to show perspective and the geography teacher’s students were brainstorming the influences of natural phenomena on their daily lives.

Find out more about the PowerPoint toolbar here.

For even more interactivity, see the next blog about importing PowerPoint presentations into SMART Notebook software.


Happy Learning!

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