Friday, December 30, 2011

A "Smart" way to get started with your Smartboard.

In my workshops I have referenced a number of places to find pre-made smart notebook lesson templates.  I also publish a lot of resources including lesson templates, interactive sites and tutorials on my wiki 

When first starting out with a new smartboard I recommend viewing some of the introductory webinars. These online tutorials will help you learn the basic functionality and navigation of the Smart software. Once you have established a comfort level with the navigation of the software it is time to start playing!

I recommend that you visit the  Smart Exchange website.  The Smart Exchange is a social network for Smartboard users. Users from around the world publish and share lesson that they made for the Smart Notebook Software.  You can search for notebook lessons by subject, grade and topic or curriculum standard. You can also upload lessons that you made to share with others. Although you now must register with the site to download lessons the registration is free.

Tips and Tricks

  • After you discover a lesson that is of interest to you, click on the name of the creator. Most likely an educator that created one lesson that fits your curriculum will have others. By clicking on their name you can see all of the lessons that this person shared.

  • Once you download a lesson it is yours. You can edit the lesson to ensure it fits your curriculum or needs.

  • Download a lesson and dissect it. This is the best way to learn how the lesson was developed.  By dissecting already made lessons you will build your own knowledge of the software and be on your way to creating your own lessons.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Flip the Classroom - Screencasting Resources

Are you considering the implementation of the flipped classroom? The process of flipping the classroom involves a paradigm shift in what constitutes class work and homework. When a classroom is flipped the students receive direct instruction at home typically through the use of multimedia. When students return to class the next day they are able to apply what they have learned by working on questions, problems, or tasks that would typically be assigned for homework.

There are a number of instructional benefits to this process. You can read an earlier blog posting I have written on the topic here or take a look at my wiki page on the topic. My observations have been very positive.  I would like to share some of the tools that are available to create multimedia files that can be used to provide direct instruction online.

Probably the most popular resource is the Khan Academy which I have written about here. In order to produce instructional videos such as the ones used in the Khan Academy, an instructor must utilize software that allows for the capture of audio as well as your computer screen. This is called screencasting.

There are a number of free screencasting software  resources available. Let's take a look at some of them:

Cam Studio

Cam Studio is a free open source download. It allows its users to screen record  video tutorials and share them via a web link. It is also very easy to use.




Jing is another free download offered by TechSmith. With Jing you will also create a free online account with  When you record a screencast tutorial with Jing or capture an image you can save the file to your computer and upload it to your online account. Each user is granted two gigabytes of storage space on the site. The site will provide a link and embed code for your video to share.

Jing offers a free and paid pro version. With the free version you are only able to create screencasts that are 5 minutes in length. While that may seem too short i believe there is a benefit to chunking your tutorials into 5 minute increments.




Screencast-O-Matic is a very easy to use screencast site. It is completely web-based. It does not require a software download. Just visit the site and click start recording. There is a free and paid version. The paid version is $12 a year. With the free version you can create a screencast that can be used by students. If you export the screencast to upload to Youtube it will include a watermark on the free version.This site also allows the use to capture his or her video from a webcam.




Wink is a tutorial and presentation creation software that lets its users. It allows users to capture screen shots, add explanations, add text boxes, and add titles. You can create very detailed and highly effective tutorials with this free software. It is free and easy to use.