Tuesday, May 1, 2012

SMART Notebook 11 - Implications for the Classroom

By now many people have downloaded SMART Notebook 11 and posted their personal reviews. I don't want to be redundant, so I am taking a different approach to my review of SMART Notebook 11. Let's take a look at how some of the new features can be applied to your teaching and your students' learning.

The Updated Toolbar

To me, this is the single best improvement in SMART Notebook 11. In previous versions, changing pen colors and line styles was cumbersome. With the new toolbar, all of your options are available when you need them and you don't have to click on another icon. This ease of use has great implications for students. Students will find it easier to create infographics, images, and diagrams on their own. SMART Notebook is such a versatile program to begin with and these ease of use improvements only makes it a better user experience. Even the youngest students should be able to change colors and line styles with ease. I expect to see better looking student products with SMART Notebook 11.

Audio Recorder

Being able to record directly in SMART Notebook takes care of a serious flaw in the previous versions of Notebook. Adding audio interactivity required another program and more file management since you were linking to audio files. In short, not many teachers used linked sound. Now, the ability to record is there and the possibilities for using audio in Notebook lessons can be fully utilized. Teachers could use sound in their SMART Notebook lessons to:
- give directions for a SMARTBoard center activity
- use to provide audio feedback when an answer is selected
- record student narrations for group projects using notebook
- create lessons for a substitute to use that includes your voice for directions and explanations of concepts

Download this example to see some of these examples in action.

Reset Page

I think this could be a forgotten feature of SMART Notebook 11 but it can make SMARTBoard centers work more efficiently. When students are doing a sorting activity with a variety of images or any activity that requires them to mark up pages, it becomes a bigger task to get it ready for the next center group. Now, the students could simply choose Edit and then Reset page. This could always be the last step before leaving a center. No matter how many pages the students have marked up, the lesson can be reset for next group with ease, saving you valuable transition time that can be used for instruction.

                                                 Before Page Reset                                  After Page Reset

By no means is this all that the new Notebook offers, but these features really stood out to me. These tools can be integrated into the classroom with ease and can make using Notebook and the SMARTBoard more efficient. I look forward to the great ideas my teachers will come up with for their classroom.

I am sure this is not the last post for me about SMART Notebook 11. But until then, this is technology that actually works!

Please comment below to share ideas and other uses of these features and many more.

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