SMART Boards and interactive whiteboards open up a world of opportunity for teachers and educators.
These fantastic pieces of e-learning technology give you the opportunity to expand your classroom capabilities, develop multifaceted lesson plans and curriculums. You can leverage tech education tools that foster creativity and collaboration for a generation that will depend so much on the skills moving forward – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Unfortunately, the reality of introducing new SMART Board technology for some teachers and educators isn’t as seamless or as straightforward as they would have hoped for.
Some teachers receive only the bare bones training in how to use these tools, and inevitably revert to using them the way they use a standard non-tech whiteboard but in the digital landscape.
To help you make the most of everything that the best SMART Boards Australia has to offer, we’ve put together this list of tips, tricks and resources.
So, let’s jump right in!
Encourage your students to use your SMART Board.
One of the most important things you can do when you’re getting ready to use your SMART Board is to forget about using it as an educational tool that only teachers or educators are in control of. Instead start looking at it as a tech education solution designed for collaborative learning by encouraging your students to use it as much, if not more than you as the teacher does.
The old educational model of a teacher up in front of a class, usually standing in front of a whiteboard or a blackboard has proven to be a less efficient model of education in today’s fast-moving hyper-connected digital world.
You’ll always want to guide your students through a specific curriculum designed to help them best learn and digest the material you are teaching. The more you can do to encourage them to take responsibility for their education (collaboratively working on a SMART Board, for example) the more successful your lessons and student engagement are going to be.
Your SMART Board can do anything a tablet, smartphone or computer can
Even the most advanced software for interactive whiteboard solutions will inevitably put artificial limitations on what this piece of technology is capable of. You need to smash those limitations entirely by looking at your SMART Board as the “screen” of your tablets, computers, or smartphones.
Your SMART Board will allow you to bring Skype calls with outside experts into the classroom, help you create and share webinars like experiences, display online discussion boards throughout the classroom, and provide up-to-the-minute information and updates about any of the subjects you may be covering in class as well.
These solutions are amazing pieces of technology, but it’s up to teachers and educators to squeeze every last drop of utility out of them by thinking outside the box.
Try not to clutter your interactive whiteboard space.
However obvious this might seem, you want to be sure that you aren’t overloading the e-learning environment of your SMART Board with too much “clutter” just because your interactive whiteboard is capable of displaying all that information at the same time.
You’ll want to think about creating defined “workspaces” that are displayed at different times on your interactive whiteboard. This will give you a lot more space, freedom and clarity to every one of your lesson plans, but it will also help to focus the attention of your students rather than overwhelm them.
Integrate your SMART Board with digital classroom resources
Digital classroom resources (like Google Classroom, for example) can be a robust solution to expanding the utility and functionality teachers, and educators enjoy with SMART Board solutions.
The physical SMART Board will obviously need to remain in your classroom, but by tying it to digital classroom resources, file libraries, online forums and discussion boards, etc. you’ll be able to expand the utility, the functionality, and the accessibility of these SMART Boards. The benefit is that your students can continue to digest and learn the material you are teaching well after they leave the class for the day.
Yes, this kind of approach is going to require a little bit of set up on behalf of teachers and educators utilising SMART Board solutions. But once combined with one another; digital classroom resources and online tools truly create an “always accessible” classroom that can be updated at any point in time – maybe the most powerful resource for students today.
Integrate your SMART Board with the mobile devices your students already have
Even the largest format interactive whiteboards aren’t going to allow all of your students to collaborate with the material at the same time, which is why you want to work to integrate your SMART Board with the mobile devices that your students already have.
This may mean opening up digital applications that can be installed on their devices that can effortlessly integrate and interface with the classroom SMART Boards. Or it may involve leveraging the digital devices available from the school for use in specific classrooms. At the end of the day putting the learning material whilst having the ability to interface with the SMART Board in the hands of your students will make a world of difference.
Collaborate with fellow teachers and educators (in your building and online)
A SMART Board is going to foster creativity and collaboration just by the very nature of the tool and the technology. You’ll be able to get so much more out of this solution by collaborating creatively with your fellow teachers and educators than you ever would have been able to, on your own.
With fellow teachers and educators utilising this kind of technology, you will likely have found new and exciting ways to use it. There are entire online communities dedicated to sharing how teachers are using SMART Board solutions today.
Become a member of those communities, share openly and collaborate regularly, and you will be able to unlock all of the leverage, utility and all the educational benefits that this fantastic e-learning solution brings to the table, in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
If you would like to see how an interactive whiteboard might fit into your school call us on 1300 139 292