The return of my SMART Board interactive whiteboard
By Alex Dunn
On a recent visit to SMART’s executive briefing center, I had the opportunity to see the latest SMART products.
I was immediately drawn to the SMART Board 8055ix interactive whiteboard, part of the new 8000 series interactive flat panels, that hung on the wall. Whether I picked up the pen or wrote with my finger, the response and the smooth feeling I experienced was unparalleled. The “Presence Detection Technology,” had sensors, which turned the Board on as I approached and easily made tools available right where I needed them. Much like the iPad, touch gestures allowed me to perform functions like zoom, flick and rotate, quickly and easily. Some accessibility barriers do still exist, especially for those requiring switch access, but it is wonderful to see a company that continues to listen to its customers.
When we began our Smart Inclusion work over four years ago, SMART Technologies had an integrated Rear Projection unit that was just in the process of being discontinued. When we were looking for an interactive whiteboard as part of our Universal Design for Learning Toolkit, we would have seriously considered the Rear Projection Boards but the product was no longer being produced. At that time, the only SMART Board interactive whiteboards that were available, were the 600 series interactive whiteboard, which offered less shadowing than an external projector but the rear projection screen provided the zero shadowing we were looking for. For all students, but especially for students with special skills, it is important that the first time they venture to the SMART Board interactive whiteboard that they experience success. Shadowing can be a barrier to participation as students cannot see what is on the Board and may not understand that a “Vanna White” stance may be required. In my experience, some students, such as students with autism, can become so distracted by the shadow that it acts as yet another source of sensory stimulation shifting focus away from curricular content, Not only does SMART offer the 8000 series flat panels, which limit shadowing but they also have other interactive whiteboards that offer this functionality.
For more information on how SMART Solutions can assist students with special skills, requiring visual, auditory, physical/mobility and/or social communication supports, please visit SMART Technologies Accessibility Profile.
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. For more information please visit 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, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany and Puerto Rico.