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 you divide shapes into equal parts. Right click on a shape and choose Divide Shape. The original shape is replaced, so you might want to clone it first, if you want to compare before and after.
I couldn’t find a way to change the colour or size of the fraction text, which is a shame. Choose pale colours for your shapes if you want the children to be able to read the text.
If you are already have SMART Notebook 14 then you should automatically qualify for a free upgrade to Notebook 15. If you have older versions, then you would need to get hold of a Smart Advantage Licence.