Smart boards have revolutionized the classroom experience.
Essentially giant tablets that allow you to write, draw, stream videos and play games. Their potential is unlimited when it comes to making learning fun and effective. Here are ten ways you can use a smart board to engage students in any topic.
A smart board lets you walk your class through a virtual frog dissection before you break out the scalpels. In one survey, 52% of Swiss high school biology teachers were willing to use an alternative to real animal dissections. That’s good news for sensitive students who might otherwise be dissuaded from pursuing science.
You can also use a smart board to teach in-depth anatomy and physiology lessons on the human body. A smart board makes it easier to show how organs interact and where they’re located in relation to each other.
Want to teach a hybrid art lesson? Let students paint on the smart board with real paintbrushes of various sizes. For students used to drawing on a physical whiteboard, it’s a great way to make a digital art session more tactile.
The paintbrush feature is also useful for illustrating thematic concepts. For example, if your class is reading Wuthering Heights, you can draw a crude map to show where the story takes place or illustrate the characters’ family tree.
Are your students delving into Shakespeare? Put one of his famous sonnets up on the smart board. Then, use highlighting, underlining, strikethroughs and your own handwriting to annotate the text. Annotating a story or poem can be a group activity. Alternatively, students can simply watch you to gain a better understanding of the process.
Another way to use a smart board is to open a document containing several spelling and grammatical errors. Then, have students work together to correct it. Smart boards offer multiple touchpoints so students can write on the board at the same time.
Outline a country or state in Google Earth. Then, drag the outline over another geographic region to show how big it is in comparison.
Play GeoGuessr with your students. Open a random location in Google Earth, then work as a team to try to figure out where you’re located.
Another great way to use Google Earth is to make history come alive. Show students where the Battle of Gettysburg took place and what it looks like today. Zoom in on the Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin first studied evolution. To really set the scene, play nature sounds or music in another tab.
Open the Tool Explorer platform to use real objects the screen recognizes automatically. For example, Tool Explorer Stamps and Cubes can fill letters in the blanks as soon as they touch the screen. Or, use plus and minus sign blocks for solving math problems. Students will enjoy using real objects to create digital work.
Another simple way to use Tool Explorer is to use pens in specific colours without first selecting their colour on the screen. You can also use Stamps and Cubes to put smiley faces or the letter “X” on correct and incorrect answers.
Use the SMART Response feature to include students’ names on their answers. That way, you can see who understands the lesson and who needs more help.
This feature is useful for group activities that would otherwise involve students shouting out answers or being too shy to ask questions. During group projects, students can submit photos or text-based answers from their phones or tablets. This allows teachers to see exactly who answered the question.
Preschool and young primary school students benefit from spelling activities that include pictures. One smart board activity is to draw a line to join a letter to pictures that start with that letter. For example, on a lesson about the letter “B,” students can draw a line from the “B” to images of a bee, baseball and book on the sides of the screen.
Another handy feature of smart boards is turning handwriting into text. Have students practice writing legibly enough that the computer recognizes their words.
Divide geometric shapes into even parts to teach fractions. Use SMART Notebook to right-click on a shape and choose the number of segments you want it to have. The smart board will divide the shape into even pieces. Plus, you can choose whether it shows fraction labels on each section.
Whether you’re recovering from an injury or get a flat tyre on the way to work, sometimes you can’t physically be in the classroom. Nonetheless, your students will still be happy to see your familiar face, virtual or not. Use a smart board to teach class from the comfort of your own home.
You can connect your computer to the smart board with screen sharing so you can easily type or show students a presentation. In fact, you can even do this in the classroom to keep an eye on students while you teach.
Students love gamification. A subject that would normally bore them to sleep suddenly becomes fun when framed as contest or game. Try gamifying a lesson by assigning points for giving good answers.
A competitive spelling bee is a fun way for students to learn to read and write. Use the built-in spellchecker on your smart board to review students’ work.
Jeopardy is another entertaining game that can teach students any subject. Turn the smart board into a Jeopardy screen. Personalize it around your current lesson and let teams of students compete to win prizes.
If recess was cancelled due to bad weather, let students unwind indoors by letting them play video games with you. After all, school doesn’t have to be all about learning! It’s important for students to take breaks and relax at some point. A defined break period helps students stay on-task in the classroom and even improves their memory.
It’s little wonder smart boards have become so popular with educators. They can enhance any subject, giving students with all types of learning preferences a way to understand their lessons. They also provide a way for students to relax and have fun in the classroom.
So, don’t be afraid to use your smart boards to its fullest potential — you and your students will have a blast!