WEB EXCLUSIVE: SMART Board: beyond overheads and PowerPoint


At a distance, the SMART Board looks a lot like your run-of-the-mill projector screen, but plug in your computer and hook up a projector and it’s anything but.

SMART Board allows professors to use anything as a mouse or a pen on the computer screen.

“It has a small learning curve,” said David Hope, a Vision Pro instructor who led the demonstration. “You know how to use your own computer.”

Using a pack of Lifesavers, Hope demonstrated how to draw on the white screen in different colors. Using his sleeve, he showed how to erase. What is drawn on the screen can be manipulated — resized, grouped, changed colors and converted to text, among other things.

When a class taught with the SMART Board ends, the information can be saved on the computer where it could be printed as handouts or e-mailed.

Twenty educators learned about the SMART Board at Friday’s Innovative Learning Conference. From integration in biology language classes to distance learning, Hope showed how the SMART Board could be used across disciplines.

“Everybody uses it differently,” Hope said. “Some use it just for PowerPoint presentations. Some use it to collect and store information. Some use it to get kids interested. It’s limited by your imagination.”

Only one person in the room said she had used the SMART Board before the session. Others said they use PowerPoint; some admitted they still use overhead projectors. Hope said the SMART Board would replace all the technologies currently available.

“With SMART Board, you don’t need clumsy overhead projectors,” he said. “You won’t use overhead maps or pull-down screens. It eliminates about $2,000 to $3,000 worth of equipment that would need to be updated.”

—Meranda Watling