How to Use a Smartboard in the Classroom

You can use a smartboard in the classroom to play educational games that keep students engaged; display media like photos, videos, and charts to aid visual learning; take notes and present written information; and amalgamate ideas by freestyle drawing alongside other sources of data.

The Best Ways for a Teacher to Use an Interactive Whiteboard

There are many things that a teacher can achieve by introducing a SMART Board into your classroom. Used in the right way, an interactive whiteboard can enhance your teaching, support the students’ learning, and contribute to an overall atmosphere that is conducive to better quality education.

Improve Classroom Management

When we think about how to use a SMART Board in the classroom, our minds often go straight from its benefits in lesson planning and preparation directly to the lesson itself. However, one of the greatest advantages of using this technology in class is the freedom it provides the teacher first thing in the morning. Instead of doing roll call and taking down lunch options, let the students self-register and pick a lunch option themselves.

You can do this by creating nametags on the screen that students can drag from one side of the board to the other, with designated areas or pictures for each food choice.

This frees up teacher time for 1:1 support, talking to parents, or other activities that would usually be challenging during this stage of the day.

Keep Students Engaged

Teachers can make use of the full variety of ways in which information can be presented on a SMART board to keep students with even the shortest of attention spans interested in the lesson. Changing from one thing to another creates a pattern interrupt, which naturally causes us to refocus.

By asking students to come up to the front of the class and use the board, teachers can also introduce movement into otherwise static lessons. The physical act of moving is stimulating and can create more energy in the classroom.

In the video below, you see an example of how to engage your students with an interactive lesson on a smartboard in the classroom:

Interactive SMART Boards also allow students to access your resources from home, which is highly motivating and especially relevant in COVID-era education, where lessons can be held virtually.

Teachers can encourage student engagement, especially in younger kids, by giving them a chance to come up and provide an answer on the interactive board. The prospect of being selected to stand at the front and use this piece of technology is often exciting enough to keep them engaged.

Better Position Yourself

A regular whiteboard requires the teacher to often turn their back to the whole class, which naturally has its drawbacks. An interactive SMART Board allows you to teach from anywhere in the classroom, as you can use the computer screen or a wireless SMART accessory to control the board’s display.

Not only does your forward-facing position mean that you can better monitor the students in your class, but the increased face-to-face time also creates a level of acknowledgment between student and teacher, with more opportunity for eye contact and direct communication. As the board connects to the computer, you can still control the display even without a wireless mouse or pointer accessory. Or get a student to sit at the computer and make notes for the rest of the class to increase involvement.

The ability to remove oneself from in front of the board whilst still being able to write on it has revolutionized how handwriting is taught in young children. Teachers can now sit at the side or the back of the room and show the class how to form each letter with a totally unobstructed view.

Cater for Different Types of Learners

Using a traditional white board was limiting in that you can really only write and draw basic shapes and pictures (unless you’re a bit of an artist). Exploit the digital technology at your fingertips to cover all bases when it comes to students’ learning styles.

Visual learners can take in the information they see on display, kinesthetic learners can interact with the touchscreen, and auditory learners can join in group discussions.

Assess Student Knowledge

Interactive whiteboards or SMARTboards are great tools for teachers to check student understanding at the end of a lesson. By getting either individuals or small groups to use the board to present their calculations to a particular question, you can then call on other students to explain why they are correct or not.

How to Use a SMART Board for Interactive Lessons

It’s important to ensure that all the students know how to use the interactive whiteboard before you get started. If the pens are applied to the display with too much pressure, it can cause damage.

student writes on interactive whiteboard

Another great tip for configuring ahead of time is to link a hands-free mouse. This allows you to walk around the classroom and not be tied to the board.

Utilize the Display

The most impactful element of the SMART Board is its bright and colorful display which helps teachers to translate otherwise boring information into mediums like video, which are far more exciting for students. Wherever possible, include visually appealing aspects in your lessons. SMART Boards give you the ability to draw and annotate anything from web pages to PowerPoint presentations. You can use the smart accessories and just pop them back in the pen tray when you’re done.

Especially during the COVID crisis triggering a huge jump into virtual learning, the ability to re-create physical learning tools on a screen is very valuable indeed. Objects that students would otherwise hold in their hands are now visually on SMART Boards.

Play Games with the Students

Turn problem-solving into a fun activity by introducing something that is representative of a game rather than an educational lesson. One tactic is to use an interactive spinning wheel on display, containing students’ names, so whoever answers one question can spin the wheel to choose the next, and so on.

Interactive lessons enhance students’ enjoyment of the lesson, which induces better learning. Check which games are available on your SMART Board as a built-in feature, as well as exploring all there is to find online.

Encourage Group Interaction

Historically, social learning was not typically achieved in a classroom setting. With a smart white board, it’s easy to encourage collaboration. Students can take it in turns to make notes on the board or add to each other’s illustrations, whilst the rest of the class takes the information down in their own books.

Open discussion and debate become easier when students can see a physical representation of other student’s ideas when they can express it in various mediums using technology.

Perfect for Your Math Graphs and Diagrams

The powerful technology in a SMART Board can turn handwritten equations into typed text. It can even turn the typed equations into graphs! This saves teachers’ time and makes even the most questionable handwriting easy for students to understand.

You can also use a SMART Board to draw shapes and divide them into even fractions. This means no more wonky circles or uneven ‘slices of the pie,’ so there will be no more raised eyebrows or puzzled looks on students’ faces when your 1/4 is the same size as 1/3.

Pre-made Lessons

The brands behind the most popular interactive boards used in schools today have a wealth of online resources, including tried and tested lesson plans that you can follow with your class. Teachers and students all around the world use these lesson templates. You can share knowledge and gather intel from educators globally in order to improve the experience in your school.

Many teachers overlook the fantastic built-in activity templates that come with the software, which is a mistake—SMART and other interactive board providers like Vibe have many customizable lessons with colorful and animated graphics that are bound to improve student engagement. The technology even allows you to import the names of your students from your computer for a quick and easy setup.

Go Online

Have the internet ready in the background for an instant injection of knowledge when the class discussion inevitably leads to exploring different subjects that you hadn’t planned for.

Being able to tap into this unlimited source of information at any time and then instantly display it to the students comes in handy in many situations.

Ahead of time, you can use the internet to find on-theme diagrams, charts, infographics, articles, and other interesting examples that demonstrate your point perfectly to your students in the classroom.

On the National Online Library of the Utah State University, you can find online activities in 5 different categories, such as numbers, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis for Kindergarten up to K12 level.

Record the Lesson

Using technology to record lessons benefits teachers, who can use it for future classes, and creates an additional resource for students to review when they didn’t grasp everything the first time around. They can go over the material at home as well as in school.

Some elementary school teachers found a great response when recording the kids in Phys Ed and playing them the recording. Young kids love seeing themselves on the screen, and the sports fans can ‘talk tactics.’

Get Your Students to Use Their Phones

Students to Use Their Phones on Smartboard

Yes, really—no phones in the classroom is thing of the past when it comes to interactive board technology. Be the teacher that’s ahead of the curve by asking your students to submit answers on their mobiles. SMART Board software allows students to use their phones to provide both picture and text answers which can be displayed on-screen. This tactic ensures that even the shyest students at school are actively participating in the lesson.

The Benefits of Having a SMARTBoard in the Classroom

Lesson Planning

Use a SMART Board to optimize your lesson preparation. There are limitations to what you can do with a Word document or PowerPoint presentation. The only limit with a SMART Board is your creativity. Incorporate videos, interactive quizzes, and other exciting means of teaching.

In this video, Megan introduces you to a smartboard lesson for grade 1 language and arts:

Digital Format Resonates with the Younger Generation

Students nowadays spend more time than ever on digital devices. Technology has become an intrinsic part of life, and so it makes sense to incorporate technology into school, too. Seeing things on a screen and interacting with technology is a familiar process for kids and young adults, who are used to being able to look anything up on the internet. Exploit this by including popular references and funny GIFs that speak their language to boost engagement.

Easier for Students to Collaborate and Brainstorm Together

The Notebook software is just one of many features that makes it simple for multiple students to write and share ideas on the SMART Board. Online, you can find certain challenges or puzzles in the form of interactive applications that require group skills to solve. When one student writes on the board, another can come up and add to it. This makes education a truly involved experience for the whole class.

Keeps Things Fun and Fresh in the Classroom

School life isn’t always fun, and there’s nothing worse than a monotonous and dull lesson. As a teacher, you use a range of tactics to keep students on their feet and actively interested and learning. That is easier for those who choose to adopt SMART Boards into their classrooms.

Stay Relevant and Take Care of the Environment

The front-runners in education, naturally, were the early adopters of technology in the classroom. From a holistic standpoint, using a SMART Board carries importance outside of the classroom as well as in it. Note-taking no longer requires paper: you can send lessons to students digitally. Writing on the board electronically will also save ink, a material that contributes to our country’s waste problem.

Keep the Classroom Clean

A clean a tidy classroom is what every teacher in every school desires: it promotes a healthy and happy learning environment where more students will succeed. Using a SMART Board in the classroom eliminates the need for messy marker pens. You will now use the pen accessories that come with your board. After using the pen, you can store it neatly in the pen tray. Thanks to SMART Boards, you need to spend less time on classroom maintenance. That means that teachers have more freedom to focus on the important things.

The Take-Away

The many functions of a SMARTBoard in the classroom make it a versatile tool in the classroom. SMART Boards can improve the efficacy and creativity of teaching and enhance learning. You can use them to teach essential skills like handwriting; tackle creative problem solving with interactive applications; encourage student participation by offering the ability to answer questions virtually; streamline classroom management; introduce videos and other multimedia into lessons, and more.

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