|ACD Home > For Faculty > Instructional Technology Support > Smartboard in the Classroom|
By: Slava Khaitov and Irina Berman, Instructional Technology Specialists
The large variety of new technologies that constantly emerge on the educational market often bring more questions than answers, as their purposes are not immediately clear and their effectiveness is not always obvious. Will a given technology benefit the learning process? Will it improve class communication and student engagement? Will it make knowledge delivery more effective? Is a product reliable enough? Is it easy to master? Unless these and other important questions are answered in a timely and satisfactory manner, new technology products are at risk of being rejected, ignored, or quickly forgotten after a short time. The Smartboard (available at several Touro locations) is one of these products, that can be put to good use in the classroom if its great potential for interactive learning is explained in simple terms and well-understood and mastered by faculty.
Simply put, a Smartboard is nothing more than a large-format touch-sensitive projection monitor that replaces a computer mouse with an instructor’s finger and digital pen. While the image from a computer monitor is displayed on a Smartboard screen, the instructor can touch the screen to open menus and windows, move and resize items, and manipulate objects in many different ways. The Smartboard software tracks these activities and interprets them into appropriate command and actions. The convenience of such instructor-system-student interaction is that the instructor does not have to stay at the computer. Instead, he or she can stand in front of the class, deliver the lecture in a more natural way and maintain proper eye contact with the audience.
The digital pen comes into play when the instructor wants to highlight, underline, circle or write on anything that is currently displayed on the screen, by drawing directly onto the Smartboard. It is very convenient, since it feels like writing on a traditional board with a chalk or marker. The instructor also has more control how the writing will look, with the ability to adjust line color, texture and thickness.
All the information projected on the Smartboard screen, including markings, notes, and changes in object locations, can be saved for immediate replay or future reference.
This feature, known as the “Smartboard Notebook,” is especially useful when an instructor demonstrates some complex process in a series of sequential steps, one screen at a time. The Smartboard allows recording these multiple screens and then replaying them in the proper order at a later time. In addition, the captured screens can be easily pasted in a Word document or PowerPoint presentation and even sent to students in one convenient package or uploaded to an online Learning Management System such as Blackboard for future review.
Finally, the software that comes with the Smartboard offers basic graphic editing capabilities. Presenters can select any area of the screen, and then duplicate the selection in another place on the same screen or paste it on the next screen. For example, an instructor can duplicate each screen’s heading, and then paste all of them onto the last screen of the presentation to summarize the topics covered.
There is little doubt that the best way to understand all the benefits of the technology is to use it. However, it is safe to say that the Smartboard is a reliable, trouble-free technology that is easy to learn, and provides virtually endless opportunities to enhance in-class instruction. Call us at the Faculty Support Hotline 12.463.0400 x 5467 to find out whether a Smartboard is available at the location where you teach and to get started with the technology!