How Smart Boards Improve the Learning Environment

Smart boards, also known as interactive whiteboards, have gained popularity in classrooms, meeting rooms, training, and conferences. With a smart board, you can effortlessly create interactive presentations, projects, lessons, and quizzes.

It transformed the way students learn and the presentation of data or information. In a way, the smart board has revolutionized the traditional whiteboard and learning environment today.

What is a Smart Board?

So, what is a smart board? Let’s talk a little bit about its history.

Canada-based company SMART Technologies, Inc. released the first and pioneering interactive whiteboard called “SMART Board” in 1991. With more competitors manufacturing the same technology, “smart board” was coined to all interactive whiteboards on the market.

Basically, a smart board is an interactive flat-screen TV or whiteboard with a projector. You can connect a smart board to a computer or laptop via Wifi, Bluetooth or wired connection. It is like a smartphone but with a much wider screen and more interactive features. A smart board projects or displays what is shown or opened in your PC or laptop. Its easy-to-use interface and features make it far more superior than the traditional whiteboard or blackboard.

One of its great features is the touchscreen display where you can write text and notes, make shapes, move objects, play videos, insert images, and manipulate anything you see in the screen using your hand, digital pen or any soft object. Plus, newer models let specific users access and collaborate with the projected file or presentation and make changes. In addition to that, you can save the file on your computer using a SMART notebook and share it with anyone.

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How Smart is a SMART Board?

SMART boards run through the SMART Board software which is compatible with both Mac, PC, IOS, Android or any Windows device.

It is connected to your laptop or desktop computer via Wifi, Bluetooth or cable. The smart board automatically turns on when the connected laptop or PC is switched on and automatically powers off once the computer is disconnected.

A smart board can be drawn or written on using a digital pen, fingers or through the connected laptop.

Children now use smart boards in school.

“Smart Board in action” Image CC by 2.0by Kevin Jarrett, via Flickr

5 Features of Smart Boards

Here are some of the cool features of the smart board.

1. Touch recognition

Smartboards use touch-recognition technology without a need for a mouse, pointer or app You can select, navigate, or scroll using your fingers as well as erase with your hand. For those that want to use a whiteboard pen, it has a digital pen or marker inside a tray or chalkboard, which are available in some models.

Its touchscreen feature enables multiple users to write, erase, draw, and design directly on the smart board using a stylus, digital marker, or by hand. Plus, it is dry erase compatible, which allows you to erase or delete any marks or errors easily.

The led smart panel also lets you move and drag objects and shapes around the screen, yet another one of the cool features smart boards offer.

Newer versions of smart boards allow multiple users to operate the touchscreen option all at once. Multiple users in a team can now work on the same presentation altogether since it can simultaneously respond to up to 16 touch inputs.

2. Present data in an interactive and creative manner

Smart boards present information in a visually-appealing manner by projecting the information onto a wide screen, flat LED smart panel.

You can directly write notes or markings on the Smart Board using your hand, digital marker or any soft object. Users can also record on their smart board which they can play to facilitate better comprehension among the audience. Lecturers can also highlight or block off certain text using the highlighter ink tool or SMART pen tools.

Plus, the smart board also lets you write text, doodles and mars on websites, videos, images text files, and PDF on the screen and also save your notes and share it online via email, Cloud, websites and social media apps.

You can also insert audio clips and video in your presentation to make it more lively and appealing. Additionally, you can also browse the World Wide Web using the smart board.

As such, these interactive whiteboards engage students and sustain their interest and focus in class.

3. Easy navigation

Furthermore, its simple interface makes it easy to use and navigate. It also enables users to move and manipulate data or files on the screen conveniently. It’s toolbar, which shows different options and icons, is also easy to use.

4. Shareable to anyone

Smart boards also have a screen sharing feature. Through this feature, a specific user can access and modify the smart board and collaborate in real time using any Android, IOS and Windows device.

With this, users can interact with the data presented in real-time. They can make changes on the screen using their computer, laptop, and smartphones. In this way, teachers or lecturers can engage their audience more.

5. Text recognition and shape recognition

Another great feature of the SMART board is its Text Recognition and Shape Recognition features. You can doodle words on the smart board and easily convert it to formatted text.

Another nice feature is the Shape Recognition wherein you can convert freehand shapes to perfect, built-in shapes.

Product info for smart boards.

Image CC by 2.0, by Wesley Fryer, via Flickr

SMART Board Notebook

Using SMART boards let you access SMART Notebook. Smart Notebook enables you to make presentations, organize files, and save notes either directly on the smart board or at your laptop, PC or workstation. It is also where you open or access your files, lessons, presentations, and programs.

The Smart Notebook is also where you can access the smart board toolbar and other programs and features. The smart board toolbar shows different icons and options like colored pens, eraser, and on-screen keyboard.

The toolbar shows various icons such as SMART document camera, text or font type, ruler, pens, table, eraser, show/hide screen/full screen, display, and screen capture.

With the Smart Notebook, you can make presentations and lessons. Here, you can insert links to websites, sources, documents, video, and images directly into the presentation. It also lets you embed audio and video clips.

Through the SMART notebook software, you can also convert any handwritten text, markings or notes to text. By right-clicking on the screen, the smart notebook lets you cut, copy, past, delete or clone the text. Screen captured images done on a smart board save in your SMART Notebook.

As you can see, these functions and features make it an excellent tool for a classroom teaching set up to facilitate learners.

Smart board exchange

SMART Board Exchange is an online resource and community platform to aid you with your presentation and other interactive activities.

Any material, lesson, modules, and presentations make sharing on the web or any IOS or Windows device convenient and accessible.

Uses of Smart Boards in Schools and Business

As you can see, there are a lot of uses for the smart board.

In schools, teachers can use it during their classes and allow students to interact with the lessons.

In a study conducted by Ariel University, smart boards were inferred to increase the level of interest and overall satisfaction of students in the classroom. Thereby, they create a suitable learning environment for both teachers and students.

Moreover, researchers showed that students’ achievements increased significantly with the use of smart boards in the classrooms. Students are more attentive, imaginative and creative in classes.

In addition, teachers who use smart boards were able to improve their quality of teaching. Teachers can show short video clips and films, insert sounds as well as show pictures, pages and screenshots from a textbook or website that illustrate the material to students.

It also makes the lessons more understandable by students since lessons are presented visually and interactively. Students were also seen to interact more during the lessons using a smart board.

In business, smart boards are also widely-used in boardroom meetings and conferences. The sleek features make it easy for team members to express and share their ideas and insights in projects.

This technology also enables users to work with large files, have a limitless workspace, and multi-display set-up. Remote participation can now be possible without interruption through conferencing.

Smart Boards Are Changing Education

So, there you have it!

Smart boards have improved the learning environment in schools and business and have revolutionized the traditional presentation.

With innovations underway, the smart boards are sure to have more features that will get more users excited about. And that is worth looking forward to.

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