Dan Gallagher, a SMART Exemplary Educator from West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District in New Jersey, recently attended one of the SMART New Collaboration Solutions Showcase events in New York City. He kindly shared what it’s like to attend one of those sessions from the educator’s point of view. Remember you can also register for these events here. Over to Dan!
By Dan Gallagher
Time can be a precious commodity for educators. Creating lesson plans for missing a day at school can be an arduous task. But going to a SMART Showcase Event is a must-do experience. I went to New York City and was able to be hands-on with a variety of new and updated products. Here are the top seven things that stood out to me and why.
LightRaise 60wi interactive projector
This wall-mounted projector will display from 64 inches to 100 inches. It has a built- in speaker and microphone for recording and playing back your lessons. You can use the rechargeable pens or your finger with up to two users at the same time. This is so cool to operate, just as long as your wall is flat. It has a laser scanning just above the surface of the wall to detect your activity. One part you need to get use to, as it took me a couple of reminders, unlike the other SMART Boards where you pick up the pen to write and then use your finger to select — you must identify each time you switch to a different task. At the event we were told the LightRaise is a perfect secondary display in a classroom or collaborative learning space.
SMART Board 8055i interactive flat panel
This option comes in two sizes, a 55 inch or 70 inch display. No longer will the teacher have to worry about casting a shadow over the image. It is an LED-backlit LCD screen, which two users can operate together. Now schools don’t have to worry about bulb burnout. Another nice feature is it automatically detects a person’s presence. When you are not near the device for a period of time it will power down, saving on electricity and then when your proximity comes closer, it will power on.
SMART Table 442i collaborative learning center
Coming from a district that had the first version of SMART Tables, this update takes every concern we had and improves upon the original design. Just like the original, the Table can manage eight users. But better than before, this Table can allow students to sit around it comfortably. It is scratch proof, liquid resistant, and instead of displaying by a projector it is a 42 inch LCD. They made a point to focus on how to make this accessible for children with special needs. There are four headphone jacks with individual volume controls, plenty of room for a wheelchair to access it, and five USB ports for a variety of devices like a student’s joystick or integrate a SMART Document Camera. On the teacher end of operations, you can now access activity packs from a USB, those saved to the Table (which can be deleted easily) or from the SMART Exchange directly.
These next few items aren’t devices but great collaboration tools!
XC Add-on Beta for Notebook software: This add-on to Notebook allowed us to submit comments to the SMART Board at the start to our lesson. We were shown an object and had to submit what we thought it was. It engaged our learning while also kick starting instruction.
Bridgit for iPad app: I tried this on my iPad. It was a free app,* which allowed me to join a SMART Notebook activity. I was able to interact without having to touch the board. This could be extremely helpful in classrooms that have SMART Notebook or if you want more than one user actively engaged at the same time.
SMART Notebook app for iPad (available on the iTunes App store) and Dropbox: Like a previous post I wrote, we were able to open a Notebook file, which was shared to us through a Dropbox folder. In this activity, we were split into groups, each received a page in the file to work on collaboratively on our iPads with the SMART Notebook app and then upload back into the Dropbox folder.
SMART Response VE interactive response system: Our lesson concluded with a short virtual quiz. Our devices were able to access it by going online to SMART Response and entering the class through a code. The questions and answer choices or space to type a response was displayed on our device and we could answer them at our own pace.
This event provided an opportunity to be hands-on with each of these tools. We were able to have all of our questions answered and were shown where we could reference follow-up information. Our day ended with a give-away SMART Slate.
Shout out to Tara Mattingly, our Educational Consultant and facilitator of fun!
Cross-posted at EdCompass Blog: http://edcompassblog.smarttech.com/archives/12121