Darin Janssen’s Weblog

Smart Training

Last week I attended SMART notebook software level one and two training in Calgary.  It was not the best time to go because I am so busy with school, but it was so worth it in the end.  Except, of course, for all the work I am trying to catch up on now.

I found myself amazed at how many things the software can do which I had not found or figured out yet.  I have spent some time working with notebook software both at the university and during my internship.  I had figured out the basics of how to create a presentation, but it was time consuming.  But then again creating any presentation is time consuming no matter what software you are using.  I have now learned many short cuts to doing things and many things that I did not know could be done.

In the course for level one there was a woman who had not spent any time working with the software.  I could tell that it was hard for her to comprehend the basics let alone the advanced ideas which the other two participants and myself were asking for and figuring out.  The good thing for her was she knew the other two people and they would be able to help her when they returned home to Yellowknife.  I would definitely suggest to anyone who is thinking about taking the training to get into the software and play around before going to the course.  You will get a whole lot more out of your time and money.

The level two course expanded on what were learned the previous day going into all the advanced features the software provides.  And boy does it have some advanced features which I did not have a clue about.  I only hope that I can remember them all.  We spent the entire day learning about a feature and then pushing the limits of the feature.  We experimented and figured things out which my instructor did not know were possible.  If there was something which we thought should be part of the software my instructor wrote it down to put in as a request for the next version of the software.  It was so wonderful that we were able to explore the software together rather then just being shown how it worked and lectured at.  By exploring I am sure we have learned more from the training then the course was originally meant to teach us.

Dean, my ECMP instructor, has asked me to use what I have learned for our teaching portion of the course.  I think it is a great idea to share what I now know with my classmates, but I do not know where to begin.  Before the training I had showed some people how to work the basics, but now I do not know where to begin or where to end.  I am struggling with the idea of either going through and showing all the possibilities quickly with no detail, or show the basic with some detail.  I guess the first thing I should ask is if anyone has any experience using notebook software.  Do you?  Please let me know so I can then decide how to teach it in less then fifteen minutes.

I like the thought of having a smartboard in my future classroom, but the reality is that it may not happen.  Option two for me is the wireless slate and a projector.  Before the training I was going to try to find the money to purchase my own slate because I could see the potential and if fits my teaching style.  Now that I am done my training, I realize that I definitely need to find the money to buy the slate.  The potential for teaching and student learning seems endless.

If you are at all interested in the use of smartboards or any other technologies which SMART offers I would highly recommend taking the software training so you can get the most out of the tools.


February 1, 2010 - Posted by | General


  1. I would invite you to join the 4000 SMARTBoard users on the SMARTBoard Revolution Ning at http://www.smartboardrevolution.ning.com sharing ideas, lessons, websites, and Notebook files. Check out the groups and forums.

    Comment by Obe Hostetter | February 2, 2010

  2. Regarding the presentation, given it’s only 5 minutes perhaps something like, “Why Smart Technology Matters” might be a great focus. You’ll never be able to cover much but thinking of it as an “elevator speech” will get people interested in learning more.

    Comment by Dean Shareski | February 2, 2010

  3. @Obe Hostetter Thank you for the link to the smartboard revolution ning. I took a quick look around and I plan to check it out more when I have a few extra minutes. I also passed the link on to a couple of my friends who are teaching already.

    Comment by Darin Janssen | February 4, 2010

  4. @Shareski I makes a lot more sense for me to focus on why Smart Technology matters rather then how it works. Classmates can then make there own choice to explore further if they would like to. I did not understand the expectations of the assignment, but it makes more sense to me now. Thanks

    Comment by Darin Janssen | February 4, 2010

  5. I agree with Dean, you should teach us about SMART technology. I know a little about SMARTBoards by using it, but not enough to create lessons yet. It sounds like the course you took in Calgary was interesting. How did you find out about the SMART technology training course?

    Comment by dales20n | February 6, 2010

  6. Thanks for sharing your experience, Darin. Smart Technology is exciting and has many great uses for the classroom. In my internship school, we had two new SmartBoards installed but the teachers were not trained in how to use them. I was of some help having used them a couple of times, but still I knew very little. While I agree that it is important to play around and figure things out, teachers should also be offered training such as this to help them make using these tools more effective. If we are going to spend money on these technological tools, we might as well be using them to their full potential!

    Comment by driol20c | February 6, 2010

  7. @dales20n my cooperating teacher went to a smart response training while I was interning and she told me about the training website. Anyone can take training if they want. You just have to register. Here is the link to the site.

    @driol20c I agree with you that teachers should be offered training to help them get the most out of their technology.

    Comment by Darin Janssen | February 6, 2010

  8. Darin, I am really interested in watching your session! I know a limited amount; mostly the basics. How to insert clipart, backgrounds, How to use some of the interactive tools that have already been programmed in. I would like to know how to import Smart “lessons” from websites though, and if it is possible to set up a smart board lesson on a computer from home that doesn’t have a smart board attached. Do you just need to download Notebook to your computer? Hopefully maybe you will cover one of these questions in your session! 😉

    Comment by Danielle | February 19, 2010

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