Without going too far of a tangent, let me plug Storify for a moment as one of my favorite edtech tools. Basically, this free service allows you to easily curate and bring together various places from the Internet in a rearrangeable order, thereby creating a "Story" told by multimedia. (Places on the Web include Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, any Internet link, and several other web tools.) Teachers could use this as a way of bringing together resources in one page and place; students could use it as on the fly research, exploring a current event, or creating a narrative (non-fictional or fictional). Your finished Story is easy to share with a URL, or embedded as I did above.
And since we are tangenting anyway, let me also say it was a pleasure and a privilege to train with two of Shelby County's finest. I look forward to seeing Julie and Karen in my upcoming embedded tour.
But back to SMART Boards. We learned tons about the devices. I could write an entry just about maintenance alone (although I think I will handle that in a near-future video). But let me share five of the favorite things I learned about the Notebook Software.
- I always thought Notebook activities could only be accessed by a SMART Board in the classroom, which means parents or absent students would be unable to see them. Not so! Put the Notebook online and have the parents or students visit SMART Notebook Express to open it up for free. (Sometimes the service may be temporarily down for maintenance or capacity problems, so be patient.)
- Under the Object Menu, you can make an object an Infinite Cloner. This is great for making manipulatives in an interactive game with students.
- Under the Drawing Tools, you can hit the double arrow at the top right to move the toolbar down at the bottom of the screen; perfect for elementary students who may not be able to reach.
- "Order to Reveal" under the Object Menu is a particularly helpful tool. If you have several objects that initially are pulled apart but are supposed to be brought back together in a certain way (for example, bones, veins and skin), determining order can help. In addition, if you make white text on white background but make the order of an object one layer underneath it, you can magically reveal the words when moving the object over the text!
- You can easily embed a browser onto a Notebook page, and even pin a certain URL. Not only does this mean you can surf the web without leaving the Notebook, but you can quickly go to a certain URL automatically in real time. (Imagine setting up a saved Twitter hashtag search, which will obviously reveal new info every time you fire up the page.)
How do you feel about your SMART Board? Have a favorite strategy, Notebook, or tip you want to share? Please Comment below.