SmartBoards in the Classroom

Technological Resource
The tool that I have integrated into my classroom instruction is the SmartBoard. A SmartBoard is an interactive white board that provides students and teachers the opportunity to share meaningful learning experiences. The board is displayed in an area for whole group interaction and is connected to a computer. A projector must be mounted to the ceiling or on a cart in order to project the image onto the screen. The board itself has touch recognition sensors and the teacher can manipulate the computer by touching the screen. Just about any program that is on the computer can be used with the SmartBoard. However, the touch recognition may not apply to every program. The software to develop your own lessons and activities is supplied with the board. The name of the software is called Notebook. Teachers can design their own lessons and include graphics, sounds, and links to websites or films. The amount of interaction is up to the teacher.

Due to the increasing popularity of interactive white boards, there are many on line resources that share developed lessons and activities. Teachers can search for a specific topic according to grade level or content, and many sites will be located that provide links to Notebook lessons or interactive web-based activities that can be incorporated into instruction. One great site to visit is . It provides links to many other resources and tips on how to do various actions with the board.

Lessons, games and activities:

Replacement Ideas / Improving Engagement

Using a SmartBoard can replace many older practices and tools in the classroom. Having separate devices to show videos are no longer needed. The computer can run DVDs and teachers can download videos from websites to share. Teachers may choose to keep a VCR handy in case there are older videos that they plan to show which cannot be located on line or on DVD. A VCR can still be connected to the SmartBoard using the correct cables. SmartBoards also replace overhead projectors. They can also take the place of chalkboards or dry erase boards in the classroom. However, we have found that having additional writing space in the classroom is necessary. Teachers will want to have access to a scanner in order to scan documents to share on the SmartBoard.

The engagement levels of students increase dramatically when SmartBoards are used. Students are eager to participate and the interaction with the board helps to maintain their attention. Bringing content to life by taking a virtual field trip or by showing photos of actual people and places helps to make learning meaningful for students. Today’s society has people expecting access to news and information almost instantaneously. When it happens, people want to see it. Using a SmartBoard with the internet helps to provide information to students quickly. When students express curiosity about a topic, further exploration can be done and the whole class can benefit. Students are also able to produce work samples that can be shared on the SmartBoard. Our computer labs have the Notebook software loaded for student use. Students can incorporate their creativity and understanding of a concept and share that knowledge with others by presenting it with technology.

Students enjoy working on SmartBoards during center times as well. It is so easy to use that students can take off on their own and do the lessons. I enjoy creating lessons and watching from another center to see how well the students are doing. They (and I) love the interactiveness of the SmartBoard.


In her article, “Why Use an Interactive Whiteboard? A Baker’s Dozen Reasons!”, Dr. Mary Ann Bell (2002) of Sam Houston State University explains her reasons why teachers and schools should incorporate whiteboards in their classrooms. The reasons she states are related to instruction and student motivation. The tool can address many learning styles and accommodate students with varying needs. It also easily connects to other forms of technology. Interactive whiteboards also apply to a wide range of learners and educational settings.

In another article, “Teaching with Interactive Whiteboards,” Robert Marzano (2009) shares his findings of the research he conducted on the effect whiteboards had on student achievement. Overall, student achievement increased by 16 percent. He found that three specific actions contributed to the increase. Using student response devices, graphics, and reinforcement tools caused greater gains. Marzano also details practices noted in the classrooms that did not show much improvement. He provides specific suggestions on how to use the whiteboards more effectively.

Lessons, games and activities:

It works! For evidence, check out this site: * This link goes to a general information site. Anyway to point it specifically to evidence of the smartboard's effectiveness?