My five favorite features in SMART Notebook 11!
By Heather Sloan
I believe learning should be engaging and motivating, and SMART’s interactive products are a key to my classroom success! My passion is sharing my discoveries and excitement for technology with my students, and with my colleagues.
As a kindergarten teacher, I’ve been accused of running a “horse and pony” show in my classroom, which is always teeming with spirited discussions, music, movement, interactivity, and where we rarely sit still (much to the first-grade teachers’ chagrin, I’m sure!). Needless to say, I was excited to be one of the SMART Exemplary Educators that had the privilege of testing out SMART Notebook 11 collaborative software prior to its launch last week.
Because this new version fuels my fire even further, I wanted to share my five favorite Notebook 11 features and tools in a countdown – though it’s nearly impossible to choose only five.
5 Clear Ink & Reset Page (I know it’s two, but bear with me!)
The clear ink button allows me to clear all digital ink from my Notebook page with a single touch of the toolbar. This leaves the page ready and fresh for the next student or small group to use.
Reset page is just as fabulous, taking the page back to the last saved incarnation. This is great when sorting, sequencing or working with objects and digital ink. Both are huge time savers!
4 Contextual Toolbar
This fabulous new toolbar takes the key features from the Properties Tab, and adds them directly to the Toolbar. And just like the Properties tab, the toolbar changes to match the selected object on your page – no more clicking back and forth between your page sorter and properties tabs!
3 Shape Fill
This feature was included with previous versions, but NOW you can fill hand-drawn shapes (providing they are enclosed). Even better – now try drawing a shape, then filling it, and select the Clear Ink feature so just the silhouette “filling” is left behind. This is great for guessing games and math or art lessons about shapes.
2 Integrated Internet Browser
Insert an Internet window directly onto your Notebook page, and pre-set the target website. When your document opens, so does the website, making it ready to use when you want. No more switching back and forth between windows! AND you can click on the rim of the browser and get the white “resize” handle to make your window any size you’d like!
And my tip-topiest (In Kindergarten that IS a word!) most favorite new feature…
1 Activity Builder
A new tab has been devoted just to this feature. For sorting, sequencing or categorization activities, create a target object to ‘capture’ your images or text; you can determine which objects on your page are accepted or rejected by your target (think “vortex sort”, but completely customizable).
My favorite part: you can have multiple “targets” on one page, and your sorting objects can be accepted or rejected in multiple categories. AND you can customize the behavior of your objects with sound or animations!
Bonus Feature!!! I really couldn’t choose just five, so here’s one last feature I can’t live without:
A new feature in the Sound Menu of any object, click the microphone to RECORD YOUR OWN SOUND, which is attached to the object! Have students record their own Haiku, or you can record names, labels, explanations, foreign languages… the possibilities are endless (keep in mind, there is a one minute time limit). I can FINALLY record the “sounds” of the letters and attach it to any sound within Notebook. I love Garage Band, but it takes a commitment of time that I just don’t always have. And this feature in Notebook saves me time!
But wait, there’s more! What about the customizable Creative Pen and the Crayon features, improved text formatting and Smart Ink?
I’ll be presenting my Top 10 Favorite SMART Notebook 11 Features at the ISTE conference in San Diego this June. You will find me in the exhibit hall at the SMART Booth # 3313. If you’re attending ISTE, drop by and say, “Hi!” I’d love to hear how you’re using Notebook 11!
SMART Notebook 11, and more, now available!
A wife and mother of two boys, Heather Sloan is a 21st CC Mentor, SMART Exemplary Educator (SEE) and Kindergarten teacher at Oak Hills Elementary School in Oak Park, CA, where she has taught for 16 years. Sloan was chosen to attend the 2011 SEE Summit at the SMART headquarters in Calgary Canada, and she regularly trains teachers to use SMART products at her school, throughout the district and Ventura County. Sloan has also hosted and participated in multiple SMART Content Creation Seminars and User Groups, and she’s working to become a SMART Certified Lesson Developer.