Review of my online SMART Board Course: ‘Fall back in love with your SMART Board’

Ever had the sneaky suspicion there may be more to your Interactive White Board than meets the eye?

Six years together and we’d been through so much. Our relationship started well and even though we spent every day in each other’s company, it always felt fresh and interesting, but then the honeymoon period inevitably ended and the daily grind and boredom factor set in. The truth was, i’d fallen out of love with my Interactive Whiteboard… but don’t dismay as I have some great news! Our relationship is now back on track and stronger than ever, all thanks to Blossom Learning. Mrs. Blossom’s Online Applied SMART Board course has been an amazingly effective way to refresh key skills and open my eyes to all of the functionality an IWB has to offer. My lessons will come alive with all the visual and kinesthetic experiences I can now offer the children. With retrospect, I can see that although the IWB in my classroom is probably the most expensive and useful resource I have, it had somehow become the most under-utilized. Most of you will be using an Interactive Whiteboard in your classroom, probably every day of your working life, but are you using it to its full potential?

If you want to enhance the ‘awe and wonder’ factor within your planning and delivery of lessons, save time and enhance learning I can’t emphasise enough how much I have benefitted from Blossom Learning’s user friendly and engaging interface. The course I took consists of eight chapters that include an overview, using SMART Notebook Software, using objects and gallery essentials, adding multimedia and making lessons interactive. Each chapter starts with a useful overview of the previous chapter and then Blossom’s friendly and engaging avatar, who goes by the name of Mrs Blossom, guided me through each topic, starting from the very basics right through to more technical aspects. The content would appeal to complete newbies through to more experienced IWB users. A huge benefit to me as a busy teacher is that the course could be completed at my own pace, with the programme remembering where I had left off. I also loved the way that Mrs Blossom placed emphasis on how the skills learnt can ease workload and help you to use your time more effectively. As well as being incredibly user friendly, from the very start it is clear that this course has been designed for teachers by teachers.

I have been using an IWB for my entire career in teaching, so I was delighted to find that as well as refreshing my knowledge on how to use and apply the SMART Board and Notebook software, the course also provided many extremely useful tips and tricks that I didn’t know about before! I can already visualise how my new expertise will impact on learning in my classroom. For one thing, by using the functionality more effectively my lessons will ‘flow’ much better aiding concentration in the young children I teach. The new skills I have picked up will also help to increase the fun-factor and make learning so much more rewarding for the children e.g., the wondrous Magic Pen tool, which I’ve IGNORED up until now!!! It feels like I’ve only been using a quarter of the available functionality! Even simple things, like using a tennis ball instead of a pen and using the magnifying tool over creepy crawlies will invoke many ooooh’s and aaah’s! I also found the section of the course about making use of ‘My Content’ really handy, as it was something I had not considered before. I can see now how this will help me save time by organizing resources and aid the flow of my lessons.

My only criticism of the course is concerning the chapter review assessments. Whilst these are really important, I felt they required too many key presses which became a bit tiresome. I appreciate that although it’s important to integrate a pass or fail function within these reviews, I’d rather not have to answer all the questions again, as it makes more sense to just revisit the questions that were answered incorrectly.

Overall, I had an extremely positive experience with this course. I found it revitalizing and informative, certainly a big plus for my professional development. The course has obviously been thoughtfully designed and is educationally sound. Educators all over the world will be able to benefit greatly from what Mrs Blossom has to offer. With her informative and interactive approach, teachers will be able to enhance learning and progress in their classroom, using the fun and rewarding methods outlined. As a typical busy teacher, I also thoroughly appreciated the way that the course took every opportunity to provide ways in which we can reduce workload and increase efficiency. So, instead of falling out of love with your Whiteboard and letting the dust settle, let Mrs Blossom banish the boredom factor and put the oomph back into your daily teaching!

Thank you Blossom Learning!’

Laura Macnamara (Year 1 Teacher & ICT Co-Ordinator, Berrycoombe Primary School, Bodmin, Cornwall)

Thanks Laura! :)……… Mrs. Blossom

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