Four Awesome Tools to Get Started with Your SMART Board

My district has brand new SMART Boards (model M600) this year. My principal asked me to show teachers what this hardware can do. Because SMART Boards can do so much, it can be overwhelming for teachers to know how to get started. Here are four tools I recommend to begin incorporating SMART Boards into instruction.

Let’s Start with that Floating Toolbar

Some teachers do not like having this constantly on their screen:

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That is the SMART Floating Toolbar which is actually very useful. First, you need to easily customize it to make it a great resource. Follow these three simple steps:

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Now you can start playing with some great SMART tools.

Tool 1: The Screen Shade

This tool essentially acts as a curtain to hide and unveil areas on the screen. It can cover any rectangular area on the screen.

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Tool 2: The Spotlight

Our second tool works like a spotlight does: it highlights one area on the screen and excludes everything else. You can manipulate its shape and size too.

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Tool 3: The Magic Pen

For this tool to work, you have to be working with a SMART Notebook file. PowerPoint presentations can easily be converted into SMART Notebook files by using File—>Upload in SMART Notebook. The magic pen has two uses. As a regular pen it works as disappearing ink. What you write disappears in about three seconds. If you draw a rectangle with it, the magic pen becomes a rectangular magnifying glass. I enjoy using it to highlight something and discuss it with students.

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Tool 4: Gallery Essentials

Here is a truly killer app from SMART: a database full of images and activities organized by subject area. To access gallery essentials while in SMART Notebook:

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Once inside take a look at your subject area. There are so many great resources. Many of them involve interactivity with the SMART Board which can make a great center activity.

Enjoy these four tools. I hope they make your instruction more engaging. Send me a tweet to let me know how it’s going or ask me a question.

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