SMART released some very interesting news yesterday when they revealed that they have joined up with Google to to create a comprehensive software solution for education that brings people, student devices and learning environments together.

SMART amp collaborative learning software is a cloud-based solution hosted on the Google cloud that takes advantage of Google’s newest cloud services. It is the ‘glue’ that connects interactive displays, PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones while enabling teachers and students to collaborate in real time, do in-class assessment, connect to shared digital workspaces and interact with Web-based learning materials regardless of location or device.

The integration with Google cloud services ensures simple, cost-effective deployment and eliminates costs associated with supporting numerous proprietary operating systems and applications.

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Teachers and students log in to SMART amp software through their Google ID from any web browser. SMART amp software is integrated with Google Drive, allowing educators to share lesson materials with their class and students to share content with each other.

It looks like SMART are very much building on the initial work done with Smart Notebook Extreme Collaboration.

This is a very interesting move. Interactive whiteboards have been criticized for lending themselves to a very didactic model of teaching with the teacher at the front of the class. I don’t think you can just replace whiteboards with iPads, I think the best solution is an interactive, large, screen of some sort at the front of the class connected to iPads (or other tablets) with content able to be shared easily between any and all the devices in the classroom.

SMART amp collaborative learning software will be available in commercial release in April 2014 and is now in early stage trials in a number of schools. I understand that it will be on show at the Bett show in London in January and I’m quite keep to have a play with it!

For more information, visit smarttech.com/cloud.