Smart Notebook 15 is out. What’s New?
Apr24

Smart Notebook 15 is out. What’s New?

SMART have just released the latest version of SMART Notebook, their interactive whiteboard software. Version 15 does not look very different to version 11 or 14, but there are a few new features and updates to some tools that are worth taking a look at. If you haven’t upgraded to 14 yet, here’s what you’ve already missed! I’ve put together a short video which shows some of these features: Lesson Activity Builder The new Lesson Activity Builder in Notebook 15 makes it easy to create games on the fly with easy-to-use activity templates. The LAB makes it easy to create game-based activities. Scroll through the available activities and tap Add this activity. Select one of the activity options (if applicable) and tap Add this Activity. Add content to the content boxes, and then tap Next. Add a game component if desired, and then tap Finish to add the activity to your page. There’s only two different templates for now, but I would hope that more would appear in the future. Until then, there’s always the Lesson Activity Builder in the Gallery for more games and resources. Concept Mapping Tool Notebook 15 includes interactive concept-mapping within the Notebook application for the first time. Concept maps are a natural way to connect ideas and collaborate either on a laptop or multi-user SMART Board interactive display. To accessing concept mapping: Tap Add-ons Select Concept Mapping to create the first node.Creating a map To create a map: Tap + to add a node. Double-click inside a node to add details. Use ink or images when you add a node to your concept map. Write or draw on the page, circle the ink to create a node, and then connect it to another node. If you add an image to the page, you can circle the image to create a node, and then connect it to another node. New Maths tools Smart Notebook has always had tools to draw regular shapes. There is now a new tool that lets you draw irregular polygons. With the tool selected, keep clicking on the screen to draw each line. Once the shape is completed it can be be treated as any other shape object – filled, resized and moved as normal. You can also choose to have shapes labeled with side lengths and angle measurements to increase visualization of geometric concepts. Once drawn, all shapes can then be modified by showing their vertices and then moving them around.  As you move the vertices, the angles and lengths update automatically. This would definitely be a useful tool for maths teachers. There is also a new feature that lets...

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Word Wall – Interactive Activity Maker for your IWB
Mar11

Word Wall – Interactive Activity Maker for your IWB

Wordwall is an interactive activity maker which allows teachers to make resources to use with a whole class. You can use them on an interactive whiteboard, or just with a projector. Word Wall allows you to make dynamic interactive activities to use with a class. It would be ideal for users of some brands of whiteboard or interactive projectors where the software that comes bundled with the boards is not as user-friendly as the software that Smart or Promethean users gets. It would also be useful for Smart/Promethean users in need of additional resources and ways of interacting with their class. The Wordwall PC software allows you to freedom to create, play and edit resources. Teachers use it to make interactive games and educational activities. There are currently 33 templates and over 100 types of games and activities, with every one of them fully customisable with your own content. The software works with or without the Wordpad tablets and clickers. It’s optimised for use with touch screens and interactive whiteboards. Once the template has been chosen, the editor screen lets you add the questions or text. Images can be added as well. The finished activity can be previewed, and saved, before using it with a class. The same set of words can quickly be repurposed into other activities. There is also a library of WordWall resources available to access online. The community has made tens of thousands of bite-sized activities in Maths, English, Science and many other subjects. Each of these can be downloaded and customised without restriction. The activities can be accessed by the students in a variety of different ways. You can purchase their own WordPad tablets, or buy their RespondAnywhere software to use on your own set of devices. The Wordpad7 is an all-purpose Android 4 tablet that comes preloaded with the Wordwall audience response app. The tablets have a 7-inch 1024×600 pixel screen with an Cortex-A9 dual-core processor, 1GB memory and 8GB storage. The hardware specification has been specially chosen so that it is capable of comfortably running both the Wordwall audience response app and all other likely educational demands. RespondAnywhere allows you to run the Wordwall audience response app on any HTML5 compatible device. This includes Windows, Macs, Linux, iOS and Android; it works across desktops, tablets and phones. This product offers a way for schools whom have fixed PC computer rooms, iPad class sets or bring-your-own-device policies, to utilize that existing hardware. If you don’t have a Smart or Promethean board and are in the market for a piece of software to get the best from your board (or just from your projector)...

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Control a SMARTboard with an iPad and Notebook Maestro
Feb25

Control a SMARTboard with an iPad and Notebook Maestro

SMART Notebook Maestro will let you connect your iPad to your SMARTboard wirelessly, and let you interact with a SMART Notebook file. You can annotate, add images and move objects around from your iPad, anywhere in the classroom. This quick guide explains how to quickly get the app connected to SMART Notebook. Requirements. For this to work, you will need SMART Notebook 14, and a valid advantage licence. You will need the latest Notebook app. You will need the SMART Maestro Add-on. Both the PC and the iPad will need to be connected to the same network. Steps: 1. Download and Install the SMART Notebook Maestro add-on. 2. Click on the Jigsaw icon on the sidebar to open the Add-ons tab. 3. Click on Notebook Maestro 4. If this is the first time you have run Maestro, you might need to click on Enable Maestro, then restart SMART Notebook. 5. Once activated, Notebook will display a QR code. Keep this displayed on the screen whilst you set up the iPad to connect. 6. On the iPad, open up the SMART Notebook App. 7. Click on “Connect to SMART Notebook Software” 8. Point the iPad camera at the QR code, and give it a second to capture it. 9. Back in Notebook on the PC, it should now display the name of your iPad below the QR code under “Select a Device to Connect”. 10 . Choose your iPad and click Connect. 11. And that’s it. Your iPad should now show an identical copy of your SMART Notebook file. 12. Use the tools at the bottom of the app to interact – you can write, draw, add shapes and insert photographs. Writing on the screen of the iPad will automatically add the ink to the open Notebook file. Using this add-on you will be able to interact with your Notebook file from anywhere in the classroom. You no longer need to be tethered to the front of the class! You can download this guide here. Do note – this will only give you control of Smart Notebook. You can’t control anything else on your computer. There’s other methods for that. Here are some more options on how to connect an iPad to an interactive whiteboard you might like to try....

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Vernier Video Physics Analysis App for iPads
Feb23

Vernier Video Physics Analysis App for iPads

Video Physics from Vernier is a very handy app for the Secondary physics classroom. Running on all iOS devices it allows the students to analyse the motion of moving objects in videos. Using the app, students can capture video of an object in motion, then track it automatically by tapping on the object in the video, frame by frame. Video Physics can instantly create trajectory, position, and velocity graphs for the object. The processed video can be saved to the camera roll. With the app students can capture a new video using the built-in camera or choose a video from your Photo Library. There are some handy sample videos included with the app so that you can practise how to work the software. The software will track an object automatically or the students can manually add points to the video frame. The app will use an object of known size within the video to set the scale. It’s a good idea to include something like a metre stick in shot. Highlight this object in the app, and set the size, then the distances involved can be calculated automatically. It’s very clever! Once the data is collected, the app will produce graphs of trajectory, x/y position and velocity. Tips on using the Video Physics App: Try to use a blank wall or sheet of paper as a background. Objects that are very different than their background (black/white) work best for automated tracking. It is also helpful to use a background with uniform color and shading. If the background is too busy, there may be issues. Do not move the camera when filming. Analysis assumes the camera is fixed in position. Use a tripod or some other way to fix the camera in place. The object in motion should remain approximately in a plane perpendicular to the viewing direction. Place an object with known dimensions, such as a metre stick in shot, the same plane as the motion. Use this to scale the video. It’s a handy app, and if you teach High School Physics, then it’s highly recommended. The Video Physics app costs £4.99 and can be downloaded from the app store here.  ...

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8 Apps to turn your iPad into an Interactive Whiteboard
Feb17

8 Apps to turn your iPad into an Interactive Whiteboard

While I am a big fan of the Interactive Whiteboard, they can often to lead to situations where the teacher is firmly stuck at the front of the class to “deliver” content to the students. Some schools are looking to move away from this format, and use iPads as an IWB replacement, although I still think the best way forward should be an interactive screen at the front of the class, coupled with tablets. Anyway, if you do want to move away from the front of the class, then there are several options available to you. The iPad can be displayed wirelessly via Apple TV or software such as AirServer. Check this post for more on how to display an iPad to your  class. The newest version of Smart Notebook even allows for iPad connectivity to your classroom computer, giving proper two-way control. Apps such as Explain Everything and Doceri are essentially screencasting apps, but the drawing and annotation features make them very useful. Children can take photographs of their work, then annotate and highlight key features or important aspects. Here’s 8 ways that you turn your iPad into an interactive presentation tool: 1. SMART Notebook for iPad (£4.99) SMART Notebook for iPad is a light version of the SMART Notebook software you get with your SMARTboards. Using this app, you can both use and edit SMART Notebook lesson activities for individual and collaborative learning with an iPad. Files can be transferred to and from an iPad using cloud services such as Dropbox. Even better, with the new Notebook Maestro as part of Notebook 14 you can even connect to the Notebook file that is being displayed on your classroom computer and annotate/control the presentation. 2. Explain Everything (£2.29) Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets you annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere. Explain Everything allows you to create slides, draw in any color, add shapes, add text, and use a “laser pointer”. Rotate, move and arrange any object added to the stage. You can then record and playback your screencast. Read more about Explain Everything here. 3. Doceri (Free with in-app purchases) Doceri is a free screencasting app for the iPad. Doceri lets you create presentations, add handwritten annotations, insert images from the camera roll and record screencast videos you can easily save or share. Doceri for the iPad is a free download. Presentations display a watermark which can be removed with a £2.99 in-app purchase. Read more about Doceri here. 4. ScreenChomp (Free) Like Explain Everything and Doceri, Screen Chomp is a simple screencasting...

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Webwhiteboard – An Online Whiteboard in your Browser
Feb07

Webwhiteboard – An Online Whiteboard in your Browser

Webwhiteboard is a new website that provides users with interactive whiteboard software that runs in a web browser. It will run on any brand of interactive whiteboard, all you need is a web connection. There’s nothing to install, and your whiteboard files live in the cloud so you can access them anywhere. Having your files in the cloud also means you can easily access them on tablet devices such as iPads without having to install an app or juggle files via Dropbox. The Whiteboard tools provided are as you would expect for any whiteboard software. There are shapes, text and line tools. The line tools will let you draw polygons and closed shapes. There are some thickness tools, which are accessible via an advanced properties toolbar. Objects can be grouped together, cloned and there’s also an infinite cloner tool. The insert image tool allows you to upload files from your computer as well as provides an internet search feature to get images from other websites. The YouTube button allows for easy embedding of YouTube videos by copy/pasting the video URL. The makers of Webwhiteboard tell me that they are still developing features, so do expect the tools available to change as the site develops and matures. For example I’d like to see more colours, an easier way to change thicknesses of pens and lines, and an eraser that just erases pen rather than clears the whole screen. Like other whiteboard software you can choose different backgrounds for your pages, with several graph papers and lined papers available. Default page background colours can also be set. Webwhiteboard will import PowerPoint files as well as Smart Notebook files so if you already have resources in those formats you can easily get them into Webwhiteboard. It will also import the common whiteboard format (.iwb) files. Like many import tools the files will need a bit of work after importing to make them look exactly how you want them – regrouping graphics etc. Files are stored in the cloud, and can be cloned, tagged and shared with colleagues. It is also possible to get a link to share with students so they can access the resource for themselves. The admin area will allow for pupils and staff to be added as users, with CSV uploads for bulk uploads. Your whiteboard files can also be exported as .IWB files if you want to have a more permanent backup, or you want to use regular whiteboard software again in the future. After my first play with Webwhiteboard I have to say I quite like it. It’s not as fully featured as something like Smart Notebook...

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BETT 2015 Round Up
Jan26

BETT 2015 Round Up

So it was that time of year again. The annual trip to London to visit the BETT show. As I do every year I visit the show with a couple of different agendas – to meet up with colleagues on the various stands, to catch up with companies I’ve worked with in the past, and to see what’s new and exciting in the world of educational technology. And like last year, the overall feeling was that not a lot was really new. More iPads, more big screens, cheap Chinese whiteboards and a lot of learning platforms. I loved the 3D printers, but they’re still a little pricey for me just yet! Quite a few things that had been launched at previous shows, were being relaunched at this one with new features, or were coming out of Beta. Both Smart and Promethean were showing off the updated versions of their cloud offerings – Smart Amp and Class Flow. Both look quite interesting. I’ve written bout them both before, so go read those posts if you want to find out more. I’ll write some update blog posts soon. As an alternative whiteboard system, do also check out ProWise ProConnect. This is totally in the cloud and allows you to easily incorporate student iPads/tablets into the lesson. Again, read more in this blogpost. Tute is an interesting learning platform that provides videoconferenced lessons in what they call a social education network. Schools can connect to teachers online who can deliver lessons to classes or small groups of children. This could make it cost-effective to run certain topic areas where it might be difficult or impractical to employ a full-time teacher. Lessons can be recorded for playback and review later. Osmo is a really interesting add-on for the iPad that blurs the line between real world objects and the screen. Using the iPad camera, children can play three different games – they can move tiles to spell words, create tangrams to match those on the screen, or draw pictures to bounce balls around the screen. It’s definitely a novel way to use an iPad. Find out more at playosmo.com. Sphero were demonstrating their bluetooth controllable balls for iOS and Android. They’re great fun and I highly recommend getting hold of one! Also of interest was My Romo, a robotic telepresence buggy that is controlled by inserting an iPod Touch/iPhone. Find out more at myromo.co.uk I had a nice chat and a welcome coffee with the folks at Pearson, who had a much smaller stand this year and were focusing on talking to teachers rather than direct selling. It’s a good approach, often at...

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Appvent Day 24 : Code with Kodable
Dec24

Appvent Day 24 : Code with Kodable

Kodable offers a kid-friendly introduction to programming concepts and problem solving. It is a beautifully designed app with younger children in mind, incorporating fun cartoon characters. Kodable comes free with 45 levels of programmable fun. You can unlock additional worlds with in-app purchases. A free Teacher Account gives access to education features and 25 student profiles. More are available on subscription.  Download Kodable here. That’s it for Appvent for this year. I hope you found all 24 apps useful. You can see the full list of appvent apps here. Merry Christmas!  ...

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App-vent Day 16 : Explore physics with Algodoo
Dec16

App-vent Day 16 : Explore physics with Algodoo

Algodoo is a brilliant 2D physics sandbox game. It’s a totally open creative platform. Children can draw shapes, which become real objects which interact with each other. They can be pinned in place, or connected together via springs and chains. Objects can be transformed into liquids which behave exactly like a liquid would. Gravity can be altered, and switched on or off. Algodoo is designed in an engaging, cartoon-like manner, making it a perfect tool for creating interactive scenes. Algodoo encourages students and children’s own creativity, ability and motivation to construct knowledge while having fun. Algodoo is also a perfect aid for children to learn and practice physics at home. It’s simple to pick up, and there’s a lot of depth to it for more advanced users. Your creations can be shared via the Algobox, which also lets you download the creations of others. It’s well worth taking a look to see what other people have created – some are mindblowing. There is an Algodoo iPad app (£2.99) as well as a free desktop version. It works brilliantly on an interactive whiteboard, where it is easier to draw shapes and explore – likewise it works really well on an iPad. I highly recommend it for Science and Design & Technology teachers. It’s well worth getting hold of a copy and having a play. You can learn more about Algodoo, and download a copy here....

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App-vent Day 2 : Learn Coordinates with Billy Bug
Dec02

App-vent Day 2 : Learn Coordinates with Billy Bug

Billy Bug and his Quest for Grub is designed to help children learn how to use coordinates in a fun and engaging way. Make short swipes on the screen to move Billy to the given coordinates. Billy is a greedy little bug and will need to be fed ten times! How quickly can you feed Billy? This was always one of my favourite games from the Primary Games suite of resources, and it’s great to see it as an iPad app....

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iVisualiser Lets You Use your iPad as a Wireless Visualiser
Nov11

iVisualiser Lets You Use your iPad as a Wireless Visualiser

iVisualiser is a brand-new app that lets turns your iPad into a wireless visualiser. iVisualiser uses the iPads camera to grab images which you can then annotate and display on a large screen such as a whiteboard. If you have Apple TV or software such as AirServer then you can do this wirelessly. If not, then this will still work via a VGA cable. Use it to give the children a close up view of objects such as flowers or seeds without crowding around a table. Show examples of children’s work or documents such as exam papers. The App has two modes : Visualiser and Annotator VISUALISER MODE: In Visualiser mode you are able to use a live video feed of your document or image. The tools let you annotate anywhere on the screen with a variety of colours and line thicknesses. You can record a video of the screen as you annotate and can even record a live commentary at the same time – this will automatically save to the camera roll for playback or review later. There is also a LASER POINTER tool to highlight anything without drawing! The FREEZE tool to pause the screen at any point. This is useful if you are trying to hold the iPad yourself, rather than use a stand! You can also zoom in or out plus take screenshots of your annotations which then automatically save to the camera roll. ANNOTATOR MODE: In annotator mode you can annotate on any an image. This can come from your camera roll or taken in-app using your device’s camera. Take a screenshot of your annotations, clear them OR pass them to someone else to add their ideas. Original photos taken within the app are automatically saved to your camera roll for use again later.   It’s a really useful little app which would definitely have a place in my toolkit of useful classroom apps. It would best be used with some kind of stand for holding the iPad still – but you could use the freeze option to cut down on the wobbling around while you are annotating. With wireless options like Apple TV this app would allow the teacher to move around the classroom and display any piece of work on the whiteboard for the rest of the class to see. For more ideas on how to use a visualiser in the classroom, take a look at this post. The iVisualiser app costs £1.99 and you can get it in the app store here. Let me know what you think of the iVisualiser app in the comments below.  ...

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Control your Smartboard from your iPad with Smart Maestro
Nov06

Control your Smartboard from your iPad with Smart Maestro

SMART have just announced the release of a much-needed add-on that will let you control content on your SMARTboard via your iPad. Better late than never. There are some caveats here. You need to have a full licence for Notebook 2014 and have purchased the Notebook iPad app.  The SMART Notebook Maestro add-on lets you interact with content and conduct collaborative two-way SMART Notebook lessons from a single iPad anywhere in the classroom. Write on the interactive display and the content appears on the iPad. Use an image from the iPad and it automatically appears on the display.   To use SMART Notebook Maestro you will need: 1) An Active SMART Notebook Advantage Subscription SMART Notebook Maestro requires an active SMART Notebook Advantage subscription (check with your IT department to confirm if you have one). To download SMART Notebook collaborative learning software click here. 2) SMART Notebook app for iPad Version 2.3 or Higher SMART Notebook Maestro requires the use of the SMART Notebook app for iPad version 2.3. The SMART Notebook app for iPad allows you to create multimedia files, complete assignments and share work. To download the SMART Notebook app for iPad go here. 3) SMART Notebook Maestro add-on Start the download process for the SMART Notebook Maestro add-on by by clicking here. Then just double click the add-on file to install Maestro in SMART Notebook. Disclaimer – I do not currently have a Smart Notebook 2014 licence key, and so cannot review Maestro for the moment. I’m hoping to get that sorted soon. When I get access I’ll tell you what I think of it. Meanwhile, share your thoughts in the comments below....

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