Monday, June 21, 2010

Review: SMART Love of Learning

I left teaching the year before one of the coolest things to come to my school ever happened. Fortunately, I was able to live vicariously through my husband when he had a SMART Board installed in his classroom. When MomCentral contacted me about the Smart Love of Learning tour, I decided to share it with you (because I know some of you are teachers, will be teachers, or were teachers) because it was a product I knew I could get behind. Or next to. Or in front of. Because really, you can stand anywhere in your room to use a SmartBoard!

But, since I've never actually used one, I asked my wonderful husband to tell you what he liked about it. And before you read this, trust me when I tell you that he gives VERY FEW things a glowing review. :)
Teachers in my school district are strongly encouraged to integrate technology in their teaching. Our annual evaluations even include a section just for our use of technology. So, it was a great blessing when my classroom was one of the first equipped with a SMART Board and projector. The SMART Board quickly became an integral part of my teaching.

The SMART Board has several features that quickly endeared themselves to me. First, every teacher knows the hassle of trying to cram everything onto a chalkboard, then erase it all at the end of class. The SMART Board allows me to write as little or as much as I want, without every running out of room; the SMART Notebook software allows the page projected on the screen to simply scroll and create as much space as needed.

A second feature I love is the ability to quickly save everything that is written on the Board. There is no need to erase a large, messy chalkboard. And I can save the work from each class period as a separate file. So, I never have to worry about remembering where one class left off.

As a science teacher, I am often showing pictures in my classes. If I want to teach students about the differences in cinder cone, composite and shield volcanoes, for example, I can easily project pictures onto a projector screen. But, the SMART Board adds a feature beyond the traditional projector screen. I can write on the SMART Board and highlight the distinguishing characteristics of each volcano.

Students also love to use the SMART Board. When teaching genetics, for example, I can project the tic-tac-toe-like Punnett Square boxes on the Board and have students come up and complete the inheritance problems. And in these types of problems, the different colored markers that come with the Board are especially helpful. Each genetic parent can be shown using a different color, so it is easy to see which traits are being inherited from the mother and which traits are being inherited from the father.

The SMART Notebook software also has built-in features, such as animations and tools, for specific academic subjects. For example, math teachers have access to virtual compasses and protractors. Science teachers have simple diagrams for frog dissections and animations of blood flow through the heart. Plus, there are dozens of websites dedicated to teachers sharing their own animations and SMART Board tools.

I have four desktop computers in my classroom, and I would gladly give those up before I gave up my SMART Board. The SMART Board has so much versatility and has become something I use every day. And now my district has given me a SMART Slate, which is a small wireless tablet that I can write on, from anywhere in the room, and project what I’m writing onto the screen. I’ll be able to use my SMART Board without being tied to the front of the room.
If you'd like to win a SMART Board for your child's classroom, visit the Win tab on the SMART Board Facebook page. You can learn more about how it works by watching this SMART Board YouTube video, or by going to the SMART Board website.

FTC Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of SMART Board. I did not receive any samples to facilitate my [husband's] candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.


  1. Kasey will be attending Spessard in the fall for Kindergarten...each classroom has a smartboard and a slate...really neat technology.

  2. That is so cool Michelle. Hopefully she will have a teacher who uses the SMART Board as much as possible.


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