Smart Notebook users should be aware of a new update that came out last week. Version 10.6 has a couple of very neat new features.
The most obvious feature is a new icon on your toolbar that gives you access to Measurement Tools. This is basically a ruler, protractor, compass and set square that may look familiar if you’ve ever used Promethean software All of these tools should prove very useful to maths teachers.
Clicking the ruler icon places an interactive ruler onto the page. You can make it bigger and smaller just like any other object. Grab it in just the right spot and you can rotate it around. A number in the corner shows the angle of rotation. If you use the pen very close to the edge of the ruler, it will let you draw a perfectly straight line, however wobbly your hand is! Useful for lines of best fit on graphs perhaps? The set square works in the same way but you can draw on all three sides.
Working in a similar way is the protractor tool. Use the pen near the edge to draw a perfect arc. You can toggle between 180 and 360 degree versions by clicking the blue circle near the base of the protractor. Dragging the green circle (and the grey circle) will let you move two lines. When you click the green arrow it will inject those lines onto the page, with the angle between them clearly marked.
The compass tool should also be familiar to Promethean users. Click and drag at the top of the pencil to move it in and out. Drag the green circle to move the compass around without drawing – and click on the point of the pencil to draw the circle.
Another very innovative feature is the totally transparent notebook. In the past you’ve been able to use pen tools over the live desktop, but it’s been a little fiddly. By clicking the Transparent Background icon your notebook page vanishes, leaving a small strip of icons that lets you annotate and use the measuring tools over any application, while at the same time still being able to click and manipulate the applications.
For example – here is a ruler and some annotations on top of a working version of Google Earth. I can move the ruler around and compare lengths, add a protractor and look at angles and at any time move the view in Google Earth and look at another part of the city.
Use the camera icon to take snapshots from here and put them back in your main notebook page
Both of these new features offer some very different ways that you could use Smart Notebook that you couldn’t do before. The transparent background is a very simple idea that is actually very powerful.
A minor change includes adding some new shapes to the shape tool : perfect circle, perfect square, isosceles triangle, equilateral triangle, scalene triangle, regular polygons, half-circle and rounded square.
In addition there is now a link to the Smart Exchange in the Gallery. Smart Learning Marketplace is also still there.
The other change with Notebook 10.6 is support for Windows 7. But annoyingly they are still not supporting 64-bit versions.. so I still can’t use my new laptop with Smart Response. Seems to work OK with the actual Smartboard though.
You can download Smart Notebook 10.6 from the Smart Downloads page as before. If you do use Smart Response, then you should download this version instead, which has Notebook 10.6 bundled with the latest Smart Response drivers and add-ins.
Smart Notebook 10.6 also comes with a 30 day trial of Smart Notebook Maths Tools, which has been in beta for a while and should hopefully be available for purchase soon.
On the whole, the new tools are a great addition to what is already a great piece of software. Nice one Smart!