A day of insight, inspiration and collaboration at the SEE Summit
By John Mein
The SMART Exemplary Educator (SEE) Summit kicked off on Monday, and one day one, I felt like I had run a marathon – I knew there was a reason why I don’t run marathons. What a valuable day! I haven’t learned that much since the day I walked into my classroom and there was a new SMART Board interactive whiteboard on the wall.
On that first day, after a delicious breakfast in the Hotel Alma cafeteria, we all loaded onto the bus and got our first glimpse of the beautiful SMART World Headquarters in Calgary Canada. Walking into what I can only describe as a SEE dream is a room with 11 SMART Board interactive whiteboards and the realization of what I’m here to do settling in. After plugging in my computer and logging on, we were welcomed by Interim president and CEO, Tom Hodson – what an amazing experience! Tom took time to share the SMART Story and visit with us. I can’t express how appreciative of his time I am.
Following Mr. Hodson, we met David Lapides, Director of Product Management in Education. We discussed the view of the classroom as a “learning environment,” and what that meant to all of us. The insights gained from my fellow SEEs was eye-opening. He let us see how the benefits of SMART products are endless and the thought process behind creating these terrific tools. SMART’s vision of the learning environment is truly innovative and conducive to the learning styles of all students. Twitter was ablaze with David’s quotes.
After a short break, we participated in a SMART Fair led by Neil Smith, Product Marketing Manager. We got hands-on experience with the newest and upcoming SMART products. After making my way through the room, seeing the SMART Response VE interactive response system, a brief preview of the SMART Notebook app for iPad, the SMART Board interactive display overlay, and the SMART Board 800 series, the phrase “I want that” comes to mind. I would love to implement any or all of these tools in my classroom.
Following lunch and a best-of YouTube share, Steve Schoen, Senior Product Manager for SMART Notebook software, discussed what was new in the recently released SMARTNotebook 11 collaborative learning software. I was lucky enough to participate in the beta testing of the software, and the improvements from SMART Notebook 10.8 are huge. New tools, functions, format and add-ons have streamlined and created one-stop shopping which is invaluable when it comes to teaching. As I have mentioned in past blogs, time is one thing teachers don’t have much of during the school year.
If you’ve ever visited my blog, Mr. Smart Trainer, you know games are my passion. So, with the introduction of Activity Builder in SMART Notebook 11 software, it opens new possibilities for educational gaming. You can create anything from simple example/non-example activities to complex sorting activities where objects can be matched according to various properties. Check out this Activity Builder template showing the power of this add-in tool.
After Steve’s presentation, Neil came back and we had a break-out session, collaborating with other SEEs of our grade levels to create what we interpret as an ideal learning environment. We shared our ideas with the group and saw that our ideas were not far off from one another. I guess great minds do think alike!
This culminated our first day of the SEE Summit. Dinner was again provided by Hotel Alma’s cafeteria, and again- yummy! Be sure to check back again tomorrow for another delicious post of my stay in beautiful Calgary.
Thanks for stopping by,
About the author
John Mein has been an educator for five years, teaching Language Arts at the middle school level in Kerrville, Texas. John is a Certified SMART Board Trainer and a SMART Exemplary Educator. He was one of 50 chosen to attend the SMART Summit in Calgary this summer. Mein holds summer professional development sessions to train faculties and staff on effective ly using the SMART Board interactive whiteboard and other classroom technology. He has presented his SMART Games at the TCEA technology conference in Austin, TX. Mein continues to be a SMART and technology advocate by writing grants to bring more technology into the classroom. You can find his accredited resources on the SMART Exchange website or on his Mr. Smart Trainer blog.