Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How I use my smartboard

I have been blessed this year to have a smartboad in my room. Last year I had one and I had to share it for the second half. Our school bought 3 mini smartboards this year and this has allowed me to keep my board for a longer time.

Darren wrote a post about how he uses his smartboard to teach his lessons. He is a master of the art of using this technology. I still use it mostly as a whiteboard without ink. But I do use it to broadcast my lessons to the class blog. Using a free program called Camtwist I broadcast my desktop to ustream and one lesson a day gets posted to the class blog.

There is no rehersal for this process. It is just teach the way you always would. Talk about open walls. I have a room that is fully transparent. (The irony is that my room is like a coffin. No windows :) )

I will take you through the steps so that you too can broadcast your classes over the internet.

  • Step 1 Get Camtwist or another program that allows you to broadcast your desktop. I have not used it but webcamMax might work on a pc.
  • Step 2 Get a ustream or Mogulus account. Both of these sites are free and you can broadcast and record your lessons there. The beauty is that they have the video on their servers not your harddrive.
  • Before you open your broadcast at ustream you need to have camtwist open to a setting that selects your desktop as the video source.
  • Make sure you have an audio source. I use a logitech camera attached to the smartboards mac mini. The logitech camera works well for capturing video and is excellent for sound.

  • One thing I learned the hard way was this takes lots of RAM. I only had 512 in the mini to start. Now I have over a gig and the machine works flawlessly. Before I upgraded the RAM it would crash regularly.
  • On the smartboard I have firefox open and the smartnotebook open. You are ready to record and have fun. Using the f3 fuction on a mac allows you to go between windows at will.
  • Remember to save the recording when you are finished. Ustream give you an embed code but it is missing the last . You have to add that yourself. I prefer to do a screen capture of the video and add a link to the picture. This takes less time to upload when you are viewing the blog.
I love my smartboard. Broadcasting my lessons make my teaching transparent and allows students to relearn the lesson if necessary. Students who are sick often use the lessons to stay caught up..... if they feel like it ;-)

Here is an example of one of my lessons.

I normally add the slides from the smartboard with the ustream at the class math hub.


Jeanne said...

Thanks for this clear explanation, Chris! I am collecting interactive whiteboard resources, and your post is part of my growing list at http://amsti.wikispaces.com/Technology

(Someday I'm going to take the time to learn how to hyperlink in comments!)

dkuropatwa said...

Sensei, I am no master, after a post like that you are the master. ;-)

Actually, this is a really great post Chris. I'm going to have to try this in my class as well. Thanks for sharing all the details.

Fan of Johnny Depp said...

OK, you had me at hello. Here I was delving into your Great Movie Project (thank you for your responding to my email inquiry) and I find this other jem on mimios, of which our school just got two. Yours truly is "in charge of gaining mastery"