It may be hard to believe but the SMART board (the original one) is over 25 years old. In face SMART Technologies started in 1991, the first kids who ever had a SMART Board in class have now, even graduated from college. To say SMART Technologies was early in the space is the understatement of the year. At this point in time, SMART Board is practically a proprietary eponym, ya know, one of those words like Kleenex or Styrofoam where their brand name is used to describe a variety of interactive classroom displays.
SMART Technologies didn’t sit idle all these years. It seems that every year, during K-12 edtech conference season, the company has more and more new features, designed specifically with the student in mind.
It’s not uncommon to attend an ed-tech conference and have teacher advocates or teacher ambassadors working exhibitor booths. Teachers are typically one of the best mouth pieces for education technology. But SMART Technologies lives up to their name, they’re pretty darn smart. They’ve always talked about putting the student first, and to demonstrate that, this year at TCEA they had a variety of student ambassadors at the booth to talk about SMART Boards and Monsters (we will get into that later).
Now you may be thinking student ambassadors is a great way to describe high school and college students. Nope. SMART had a handful, possibly even a whole class worth of students aged 9-12 there to talk to educators, administrators and IT staff about SMART Technologies. Well it just so happens that we have the world’s youngest accredited edtech reporter, 10 year old Tatum F, who’s been doing video interviews with edtech companies since she was six. Now at aged 10 she’s quite used to being the only kid at some of these conferences. You can imagine her delight to make friends with a bunch of her peers at the SMART booth. Not only that, all the kids had monsters (I promise we’re getting to that).
In the video above, Tatum talks with Adly, an exceptional student who is visually impaired. Adly explains to Tatum how she can connect to the teacher’s SMART Board with her own device at her desk which means that no matter where she’s sitting at in the room she can see what’s on the board. With SMART, Adly, and students like her, don’t need to be relegated to sitting in the front of the room in fear that they can’t see the material.
Now the monsters.
SMART Technologies is about more than just amazingly cool, awesome hardware. They also provide teacher and student resources like the SMART Learning Suite, which today has over 25 million teachers and learners. The SMART Learning Suite is packed with valuable resources for teachers and students that are ready to go out of the box. It’s a great way for teachers to get started teaching with a SMART board and for students to start learning on a SMART board. Beyond that it’s packed with interactive lessons, collaborative workspaces, dynamic formative assessments and game based activities. Teachers can use this resources as they come or use them as a starting point to incorporate into their own lessons.
One of the game based activities, that’s super popular with students, is Monster Quiz. It’s an engaging and fun way to learn on student devices with brilliantly illustrated and designed monsters. Monsters always make everything more fun.
Students from nine schools across the globe joined a collaboration project to invent a life story for each of the SMART Learning Suite’s monsters. The project called for students to tell the story of each monster and name them (all but the blue dragon monster Dimitri, SMART named him).
During the expo at TCEA each of the student ambassadors was paired with a Monster which brought attention to the booth but was also a great ice breaker for all these kids talking to a gaggle of adults they had never met before. Teachers got extremely competitive in trying to win one of the furry plush monsters to take home, and everyone that wanted one, was able to take home a spiral bound book telling all of the stories about all of the monsters. Being the renegade she is, Tatum naturally picked Dimitri to take home, the one monster not named by students.
Check out the video above where you can see Tatum and Adly discuss the SMART board and we talk for a few minutes with Bobby Hartzog, a Regional Education Strategist with SMART about how they’re leading the way and going beyond “multi-touch”.
At the end of the day SMART continues to prove why they are the industry leader in digital interactive classroom displays, I mean who wants to use a generic Kleenex?
Watch the video and find out more at smarttech.com