Other Ways to Interact with SMART Boards and SMART Notebook Software
By Alex Dunn
Last week at the ATIA 2012 conference in Orlando, Florida, many excited educators, parents, children and other vendors visited the SMART Booth and were very excited about SMART Technologies’ presence at this year’s conference. A popular question was: What happens if my student can’t interact with the SMART Board and Notebook software directly? Much like on the SMART Table interactive learning center, switches and joysticks as well as voice output devices via Bluetooth can allow students who are in wheelchairs or who are unable to touch the SMART Board interactive whiteboard surface directly to participate together with peers in a shared lesson.
Participation in education involves going beyond access. It implies learning alongside others and collaborating with them in shared lessons. It involves active engagement with what is learned and taught, and having a say in how education is experienced. But participation also involves being recognized for oneself and being accepted for oneself. I participate with you when you recognise me as a person yourself, and accept me for who I am. Booth and Ainscow (2002)
Mary Kay Walch from Ablenet brought her “bag of tools” to the SMART Booth and we eagerly plugged in a variety of switches and joysticks into the computer running the SMART Board to explore new options for access. We discovered that the Hitch, unlike some other switch interfaces, works well because you can plug your wireless switch like a Jelly Beamer into the Hitch and program it for a Double Click and student using switch could interact with some SMART Notebook software content.
Mary Kay also showed us how the mini joystick allows a student to navigate to select a response and then to click and drag the answer to a designated spot.
Watch Mary Kay demonstrate these tools on the SMART Board:
Other options for switch access involve using the Transparent Background tool available in SMART Notebook software. This tool allows you to layer Notebook over top of a switch accessible program like Boardmaker Plus, Classroom Suite 4 or Clicker 6. Students can then access the SMART Board lesson and the switch accessible program at the same time promoting social and academic participation. Watch instructional How To videos here.
About the Author Alex Dunn is a Speech-Language Pathologist for the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB), located in Oxford Mills, Ontario. She has been devoted over the last 16 years to exploring creative service delivery models to ensure ALL students, including those with severe communication challenges achieve the goal of meaningful educational and social participation. Most recently Alex has spearheaded the creation of Smart Inclusion, an initiative that combines assistive technology with emerging technology and pedagogy to support inclusion – making the impossible, possible for ALL students. Visit SMART Inclusion at smartinclusion.wikispaces.com. Canada’s 2012 SMART Exemplary Educator of the Year, Alex has shared her passion for the inclusion of ALL students across Canada, United States, UK, Spain, Germany and Puerto Rico.