This post is in response to a question raised on the Whiteboard Blog Facebook Page. Stephen Taylor wanted to know what his options were when moving away from a SMART school to a school that uses other boards. There are a few options open to teachers in that position. And also for those teachers heading the other way, away from Promethean boards.
Moving away from SMART
1. Import into ActivInspire
If you are currently using SMARTboards in your current school, you’ll probably have a lot of SMART notebook files. If your new school is using Promethean ActivInspire then you should be able to import these notebook files straight into the new software. Activ Inspire will do a little converting, but you should be able to retain most of the formatting, with only a little touching up needed.
This may not always work, depending on file versions and versions of ActivInspire/Smart Notebook used to save/open the files.
Look under File -> Import -> Smart Notebook File
2. Export as PowerPoint
In SMART Notebook, you can export your files as PowerPoint format. This will allow them to be used on any IWB or even just a projector. You can find this feature under File -> Export -> PowerPoint
3. Save into the Common .IWB format
SMART Notebook 10.7 and higher will let you export as a CFF – Common File Format – file. This has the extension .iwb and should in theory let you transfer your files to other IWB software such as Easiteach which also supports this format. At present ActivInspire does not use these files. Use the same menu as above, and select CFF instead.
4. Use Smart Notebook Express
Smart Notebook Express (http://express.smarttech.com/) lets you open Notebook files via your web browser. This won’t let you legally run Notebook content on another board, but it will give you access to your resources once you’ve moved schools.
Moving away from Promethean
Your options are a little more limited moving this way. ActivInspire no longer allows export in PowerPoint format like the very early versions (and ActivStudio) did. Which is a shame. Likewise it does not (yet) support the common .iwb file format. If your files are in their .flipchart format, you’re pretty much tied to Promethean software I’m afraid.
1. Import into Smart Notebook
Smart Notebook does allow you to import from Promethean, but only the older .flp file format and not the newer .flipchart that ActivInspire uses. It’s a little flakey even then, and may not always work. But it is worth a try.
Look under File then Import. Make sure to select the file format to “All Promethean Files”
2. Import from PowerPoint
The same feature will also allow you to import PowerPoint files into SMART Notebook. Change the file type to “PowerPoint” and open. Again this may be a little flakey and need some work once converted. Of course, you can’t get your ActivInspire files into PowerPoint format, so this option is limited. Also if you do have PowerPoint resources you’ve been using at your old school they will work in PowerPoint at your new school. Import them into SMART notebook if you want to jazz them up a little.
3. Use ActivInspire Personal version
You can get hold of ActivInspire on a personal licence which will at least allow you to access your files and explore them from your computer. You could also purchase a full licence which you can legally use on other brands of interactive whiteboard
Other workarounds might be possible. If you know of any please let me know via the comments, or via email and I’ll add them to the blog post.