use a smartboard

Whiteboards are great teaching tools, but a smartboard can do so much more to engage students. A smartboard not only enhances the teacher’s teaching, but it also improves the student’s learning.  As an interactive whiteboard, a smartboard is easily adjustable to the teacher’s teaching techniques and lessons.

If you’ve never worked with a smartboard, here are tips to get you started and how to use a smartboard with your classroom projector effectively. You’d be surprised how easy it is to master and utilize. Be mindful, however, if used incorrectly, all the features may confuse students. Like all teaching tools, a smartboard is there to improve the student’s learning experience by enhancing the teaching techniques, not replacing it.

What Is A Smartboard?

A smart board is a touch-sensitive interactive whiteboard linked to a computer and projector but it’s more than the replacement of an overhead projector.

A smartboard functions like a computer mouse on steroids. Visually the teacher and students see a larger image of the computer screen. The touch screen of the smartboard allows the teacher and students to manipulate the image in the same way a mouse is used to manipulate computer screens.

Smartboards are very ‘smart boards’ that bring subjects to life in an easy, collaborative manner. Out-of-the-box thinking teachers will use smartboards to its full potential to help lessons come alive and creating enthusiasm in students to learn.

How Do I Start It Up?

There’s nothing so frustrating than possessing an awesome tool but having no idea how to start it up. Here are basic guidelines on how to get your smartboard working in no time.

Linking the smartboard to the laptop and projector

  • Make sure the Smartboard software is installed on the laptop.
  • The software that operates the Smartboard from your laptop is called Smartboard Notebook.
  • First, connect the projector to the laptop with a VGA cable before linking it to the smartboard.
  • Tighten the screws of the VGA cable head to fasten it to the laptop port.
  • Connect the USB cable of the smartboard to the laptop.
  • Find the smartboard faceplate to connect the necessary cables. Connect the VGA cable and tighten screws.
  • Plug in the audio cable from the projector to the Audio Out port on the laptop. When using a sound system, connect the headphone auxiliary port on the laptop with the smartboard faceplate.
  • Switch on the power of a laptop. The smartboard should automatically turn on when the laptop is powered on. You’ll notice the light turns green on the smartboard if everything is correctly hooked up.
  • If the VGA cable doesn’t have the right port on the laptop, connect it to a dongle first. Then connect the dongle to the laptop.
  • To link the projector to the smartboard, open Smart Notebook on your laptop and select the projector option.
  • Log into the smartboard from the Notebook login details on your laptop. Always log off when you’re finished using the smartboard.

Calibrating the Smartboard screen

Perfect alignment is necessary for the software to accurately detect your touch on the smartboard screen. You need to calibrate the Smartboard the first time you use it, when it’s transported to another location, or when the calibration isn’t in sync.

  • To activate the alignment tool, press the keyboard and right mouse button simultaneously at the bottom of the smartboard.
  • You’ll be prompted to tap on several targets displayed. Use a smartboard pen for this part of the calibration process.

Operate the smartboard from the laptop or with your fingers or pen on the smartboard touch screen.

Finger touch and pen use on the smartboard

Using your fingers is very similar to using your fingers on a computer mouse.

  • Touch the screen is left click with the mouse.
  • Touch and hold is right click.
  • Double tap is double click.
  • Drag and drop in the same way you would with a mouse; touch the object and drag it to the right spot.

Use the onscreen keyboard or laptop keyboard for typing.

The pen can do additional functions to the finger touching features.

  • The moment you lift a pen from the tray, the writing function is activated. You’ll notice a color frame on the workspace. Alternatively, tap the pen function on the toolbar.
  • When the writing feature is activated you don’t have to use the pen, you can write with your finger or the tennis ball. The tennis ball helps younger kids use the workspace if they struggle in separating their fingers.
  • The Smartboard remembers the last color you used.
  • Use the pen to write, annotate, and draw on the screen.
  • Note that you can’t scroll down when the pens are activated. Therefore, scroll to the right place before you pick up a pen.
  • Exit the writing mode by placing the pen back on the tray.

Cleaning, erasing, and saving the workspace

  • Use an alcohol-free window cleaner to clean the smartboard workspace weekly. Spray it on a cloth, not directly on the screen. Then wipe the smartboard.
  • To erase writing or drawings, simply pick up the erase. Use it like a normal board eraser. For a lot of writing and drawing, draw a lasso with the eraser around the data you want to erase. Then tap in the middle and notice how everything disappears at once.
  • For saving data, press the file icon to bring up the save menu on the laptop. Alternatively, tap with your finger and click on save ink.
  • To save a screenshot, simply tap the camera icon to automatically save the screenshot on your laptop.
  • Now you can attach the saved content and share or email it to parents, students, or peers.

Tips On Using It Effectively

Teachers may use a smartboard simply as a monitor showing videos, as a large computer screen or they can utilize it to its full potential. Everything on your computer, the internet, and software and apps provided by the school are available for use with a smartboard. The secret is to use it effectively as a tool that enhances the teaching not hindering or confusing it.

The key to using smartboards effectively is allowing students to use the boards; it’s not a teacher-only tool. Use the smartboard to engage students in problem solving, demonstrations, discussions, learning activities.

Students use smartboards

Kids are visual, and teachers teach predominately with what they say. Smartboards can visually present to students what the teacher is explaining. Search online for the right video, image, or visual tour that will help explain the lesson better. You’ll find great quality on the internet for free.

  • Copy and paste web content (with creative commons license). Use the smartboard tools to draw, color, create battle lines, etc. to draw students’ attention to specific aspects.
  • Allow students to draw and write on the pasted content.
  • Help students improve their language and writing skills by using the whiteboard workspace for interactive sequencing, notetaking, coding, sentence sequencing, and readability.
  • Record the lesson and activities to review and assess.
  • Have students solve math problems on the smartboard workspace. Save and export all the students’ efforts as a pdf document. Publish it on the website or use it the help students learn from their mistakes.

How teachers use a smartboard

Planning and preparation of lessons are made easier by downloading, labeling, and adding notes beforehand. Use images, videos, virtual tours, sounds, music, and other online content to enhance and explain lessons in a way that weren’t possible with traditional teaching.

  • Help students relate to the history topics and understand the impact on today. E.g. play the music of a famous composer or drawing the battle lines on a map of a famous battle.
  • Explain concepts that are foreign to the students or abstract to the younger generation with images and movies, for example, the Great Depression, cultures of other countries, or climbing Mount Everest.
  • To prevent students from jumping ahead and not focusing on each step, use the shade-the-screen tool to cover part of the board. Reveal the content as the lesson proceeds.
  • Create excitement with the rub and reveal feature. Write the answer in a text box. The text should be the same color as the background. Now conceal the answer by scribbling over it. Entice students to answer a question and then have them reveal the answer by using the smartboard eraser on that area. The scribble is erased, and the answer revealed.
  • Recreate historical, plays, incidents in a story or an event by using the drag and drop feature. Supply all the images necessary for the scene. Then have students drag and drop the material to recreate the scene.
  • There are, however, moments in class that an unexpected question or remark leads to a discussion or explanation that would’ve been easier if the teacher had a readily available image or sound. With the electronic smartboard, the teacher can quickly search online for the appropriate image, video or music that will enhance the explanation. For example, showing a picture of a behemoth instead of trying to describe the animal.
  • Video conferencing allows for e-learning where students can’t attend class. Conference call collaborates participants outside the classroom as part of the lesson, e.g. a conference call interview with an astronaut during a space lesson.

Tips and shortcuts to use a smartboard

Save time and effort by learning about shortcuts.

  • Keyboard shortcuts are often faster than moving the mouse and clicking on the right icon.
  • Draw a circle with the eraser around the content you want to erase. Then tap in the middle and everything erases at once.
  • Record procedural steps or assignment instructions. Publish the instructions on the website for parents and students to peruse.
  • Integrate Google Earth to travel around the world or use Google Maps Street View to virtual stroll around the town.
  • Duplicate objects and shapes for reuse.
  • Use a wireless mouse for students to interact without them needing to get out of their seat.
  • Download the software on your home computer to prepare a lesson and save the lesson on a USB stick to transport to school or email the content.
  • Use the smartboard as a backdrop for a play.
  • Move an object by simply tapping and holding a finger on the object. Place the finger of the other hand to the place you want to move the object. The object moves and when you release the first finger it jumps to the other finger.
  • Save frequently by simply tapping save ink. Create folders on your laptop to organize the saved files.

These basic instructions should help a novice startup and use their smartboard without delay. We suggest a teacher takes the time to learn and use smartboard tools in the toolbar.

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