I have been using the SmartBoard for about five years in urban and suburban classrooms. The hardware provides an easy method for taking notes and inputting data into the computer. Smart Tech's new version of Notebook is incredible. The software is what helps to make the magic happen. For instance, the new software allows you to create quick Flash activities without any programming knowledge. I often use the Notebook to work on vocabulary, graphic organizers, and handwriting to text. The new SmartBoard even allows you to use the tools, including the shade, without having the Notebook software open. It does take a little bit of time and preparation to create lessons for the Smart Board, but it is well worth it!
PS - You can download a trial of the new software for 30 days; however, after that you will need a Smart Board serial number to activate the program on your computer.
I have a Promethean Board in my high school German classroom. One of my favorite things to do with it is to make a screen capture of whatever we are doing and pop it into a Moodle forum. If there are questions about the screen capture, we discuss it right there in Moodle. Nice. :-)
You can always skip over to the forums of SMART and Promethean to ask these questions too...
The Promethean forums (the one I know and write in) is free and very open and welcoming of people asking questions. It would be also good for those teacher to get questions from outside their large - but IWB focussed communities.
The 3rd-5th grade teachers at my school have had SmartBoards for one year. They have learned to use many of the tools including the Gallery. They often begin lessons with a piece of background information that they have gleaned from the Internet or from BrainPop. They have also accessed many of the learning websites on the Internet including memory-like games for antonyms, synonyms, etc. The math teachers are especially adept at using the Math tools like clocks, geometric concepts, etc.
The K - 2nd grade teachers just got their SmartBoards towards the end of the year. They are just beginning to get the hang of it.
We are planning some PD on SmartBoards prior to the opening of schools. I have found many SmartBoard instructional videos on TeacherTube and YouTube. It will take time for the SmartBoards to be used to their maximum potential.
The overall reaction from all of the teachers has been very positive. They are excited to have this new resource and they are taking advantage of all it has to offer.
Learning a lot here. 2200 NSW public schools will receive a connected classroom over the next 3 years or so. IWBs with video conferencing and ultra short throw projectors ceiling mounted 8cms from the board are a few of the features we have seen so far. Endless options can then be added to the package. $158million will be invested by the NSW government on the CCP so I hope they did their shop arounds carefully before deciding on the Promethean platform. Our school gets ours next term.
We have a Smartboard in our 4th grade classroom, and we love it! In addition to creating activities and lessons using the Notebook software (not to mention the Smartboard is a great visual tool in the middle of the classroom) I started taking screen captures of the slides we would create on the Smartboard throughout the day so I could later copy and paste them to our class website. Through the Web, my students would then have an instant review of what we learned on any given day, and they had a built-in study guide. It was great to have a record of what we produced as we studied different topics.
Right now I am in the process of writing 200 words or less to my principal about why I should be one of the first people to get a Smartboard in my room. I already house the portable one, but I have to share it . When no one else wants it, I use it all day long, for every subject. I love it, and the kids love it. We play educational games, create graphic organizers, edit work, search for answers spontaneously, travel using Google Earth, the list is endless! I am going to get that SmartBoard!:)
I think one of the arguments you can state is if you had a SmartBoard permanently installed, you would be able to do better lessons. It sounds right now that you are using it only as a glorified whiteboard when no one else has it checked out. If you knew it was yours all the time, you could really do a lot more with preparing your lessons so that students are more engaged. I personally can't use most of the fabulous items in the Activity Tool Kit on the fly.
There should also be evidence of how often you use it. I know when we were getting our first 2 SmartBoards, the tech guy put one in my room because 1) he knew I would use it and 2) he knew I would play with it until I figured out how to use it to it's full potential (I'm still learning) and 3) I would train others how to use it. Maybe these reasons are also arguments you can present.
Good luck. I hope you get one soon. I know that it has revolutionized the way I teach. I would not want to give it up.
Thanks Julie. :) At first, I felt offended when I read that you felt I was "using it as a glorified whiteboard." But you're right, I am. I am sure there is so much more I can do with it! What is an Activity Took Kit, is that the Gallery? So much to learn... Oh by the way, at our meeting today, another teacher told my principa; he should give it to me. :)
When I went back and reread my post, I can see how stating that you using it as a glorified whiteboard is insulting. I didn't mean it that way. Sorry for that. I think most teachers new to a SmartBoard use it that way until they get comfortable with that and then look to see what else it can do.
There is an Activity Tool Kit that you need to download from Smarttech. It has a lot of flash programs and cool stuff to liven up your lessons and make them more interactive for students.
There is a lot to learn with SmartBoards. When you get your own (not if) I recommend signing up for Smartboard blogs and podcasts. That's how I've learned most of what I know about the SmartBoard. Also check to see if there is any SmartBoard training in your area. Our state has regional educational service centers and they usually have several SmartBoard session throughout the year. At the session I attended there were some elementary teachers there who had a SmartBoard for about 8 months already. At the first break I asked them if they were bored since the rest of us were brand new to the SmartBoard. One of the teachers emphatically said, "Oh, no. I've learned a lot already. I didn't know I could do half of the things our presenter showed us."
I have a smartboard in my kindergarten class. I addition to the great lessons from smarttech I have made many interactive lessons. The board acts as a second teacher while I am working with small groups. Since my 5 year olds do not keyboard, it is the only tool they can use to publish their writing to our class website.