Up close with the SMART Exchange
Since launching in 2009, the SMART Exchange website has become a popular place for educators to find content and resources for SMART products. For many teachers, the SMART Exchange helps them save time, create more engaging lessons and share their own lesson ideas with other educators.
And theÂ SMART Exchange team has big plans to make the website and community experience even better. We spoke to Erica Arnoldin, the product manager for the SMART Exchange, about the benefits of the website and whatâ€™s coming soon.
EDCompass: Why do teachers like the SMART Exchange?
Erica: Overall, I think it is about saving time â€“ the fact that teachers donâ€™t have to go to five different places to find lesson resources.Â Too much content can be bad sometimes.Â For example, if you go on the Internet and search for volcanoes, youâ€™re going to find a ton of resources on volcanoes, but itâ€™s not always content you can use to teach.Â If you went and did a search for volcanoes on the SMART Exchange, youâ€™re only going to find reliable lesson content for volcanoes, whether itâ€™s images that have labels, a whole SMART Notebook lesson file or a question set to test students knowledge on the topic, itâ€™s all going to be something that you could use in the classroom.
EDCompass: Tell us about the publisher content thatâ€™s now available on the website.
Erica: We now have math and English lessons from MacMillan, science lessons from Waterford, and SMART Table activities from Pronk. If you searched on the SMART Exchange for any of those publisher names, you would find all of their files.Â These are all free, and are either complete lessons, lesson activities or high quality images.Â The neat thing about the publisher content is that everything in the file is copyright-cleared, so if a teacher likes an image from one of the files, they can use it in a lesson and they have permission to do so.Â So, not only are they great files, but they can be edited so teachers can make them their own.
EDCompass: This new publisher content differs from the SMART Software and Content Accreditation Program. Can teachers find accredited titles for software and content, as well?
Erica: Accredited titles are professionally-developed content and applications, where the publisher has sought out SMARTâ€™s approval of their content for use with SMART products. Being a SMART Accredited title means that we have said, yes, this content or application works well with SMART products.
Now youâ€™ll be able to search for these accredited titles on the SMART Exchange the same way that you search now.Â Thereâ€™ll be two tabs, one tab is free resources and the second will be accredited titles that also match your search.Â So using the volcano example again, you search for volcanoes and youâ€™ll see all the free volcano resources as well as the accredited titles that involve volcanoes.
EDCompass: Is there anything else thatâ€™s new with the SMART Exchange?
Erica: The SMART Exchange now has 43 country sites, which can be accessed from the main site. And in February,Â we will be adding membership to the website â€“ so people can officially join the SMART Exchange. Â Right now, membership is limited to our forum, but we would like to extend this beyond the forum to further develop the community aspect of the site. Teachers can continue to search, download and share content free of charge, but will be required to log in to either upload or download content. By joining the SMART Exchange, teachers will better be able to find lesson resources from other members and will have more control over the resources they share. Once you are a member you will have access to manage your own resources, allowing you to edit, delete or replace your files on the site. Membership benefits will continue to grow, so stay tuned!