A few weeks ago I posted a few handy tips for using the Notebook software on the IWB’s after giving a training session my school. Well last week I held another session, with a few more hints for my staff to use. Some of these are a bit more advanced that before, but should really improve how you use your SmartBoard in lessons.

Handwriting Recognition – Make quick labels or headings that can be seen by all. Write with the pen on the screen, then on the drop down menu choose ‘Text Recognise’. Your written text will then turn into typed writing. This makes it easy to move around, resize or rotate.

Shape recognition pen – Choose the shape pen and watch as Notebook turns your roughly drawn shapes into clean and clean shapes. Fantastic for adding boxes or circles to highlight quickly. Really useful and much easier that trying to add shapes in a hurry.

Cell Shade – Really quick little tip but one I use ALL the time. Often with a table I don’t want the pupils to see all the elements to begin with, or I want to hide the answers. With a cell that you want to hide from the pupils just right-click inside it, and click cell shade. This should grey out the cell until you click on it when you’re ready to show the pupils.

Adding links and Sounds – This is actually surprisingly easy on Notebook software. Select the element, click the drop down and click on ‘Add Link’. You then a few choices, hyperlink or sounds. You can link it to a webpage by pasting the URL in the box provided. To add a sound just point it at a sound file on your machine, it then plays that sound when clicked. Easy.

Locking items in place – This one is useful when allowing the pupils to come up and use the board. You don’t want them to wreck your hand work by deleting or changing what you have done too much, so lock the vital elements in place. Click to the items drop down menu, then you have some locking options. You can completely lock it, just allow it to be rotated or even moved in certain areas (but not deleted).

Dual Screen – My last little tip is something I only found recently. You can change your view from a single page to 2 slides. You can also pin one of these pages in place. This allows you to keep some info on-screen at all times, while flicking through others. Handy!



I know for a lot of people using a SmartBoard is like second nature, but for others it can be quite a daunting task to integrate it into your lessons. Please share this with other teachers! 

madewithoverAt the weekend I published an article on using ICT in literacy. It proved to be a very popular post, to which I’m very grateful, but the OCD nature within me it itching to do one similar for Maths. I had a meeting in the past week with a Maths consultant who comes to help out at our school. She is one of those people who never seem to stop, and AMAZING ideas just pop out of their head all day. During the meeting we had a quick brainstorm about how we use, and how we could use, ICT in maths. Have a look and see what you think:


  1. QR Codes – I love using them in the classroom and they can be great for independent learning. Why not try making a quick video of a method for a mathematical sum. Then if a child forgets how to do it they can grab a mobile device, scan the code, and get help. It’s all about making it up to them, and giving the children the confidence to go and find the answer.
  2. Digital Cameras – I try to encourage my teachers to use their digital cameras more and more in the classroom, and not just to take pictures at sports day! Quickly snapping some excellent work, or using the video for pupils to record themselves. These are all great in Maths and really encourage the pupils to share their work and progress.
  3. School Website – We have recently been developing our school website, giving it a full rebrand and makeover. Part of this process meant developing a page for the parents to interact with. This included the usual things like letters and notices, but we also included media to help with Maths learning. Wa added quick little videos showing the methods for calculation we use in school. This meant that we get the same learning taking place at home and in school. it also increased the level of parental involvement which was fantastic.
  4. Maths Folder – Now this might seem like an obvious point, and I’m sure that every school has its own maths folder, but is it up to date and organised? Do staff know what’s in it and where to find it? Have you gone through it with new members of staff? If your teachers don’t know where to find the ITP’s or some of the National Strategy Spreadsheets then they aren’t being used! Every now and again just go through and have a tidy up, make sure everything is stored in the right folders.
  5. Staff Training – As head of department this is something I am giving a bit focus to next year. I am making myself much more available to staff, and freeing up a few extra hours a week to go and work with them in the classroom. Looking at practical ways to use technology to aid teaching and learning. Are you staff making the most of the websites you buy into? How effectively do they use Education City for example? Are they using all the tools and features that are included in the SMART Software? If you’re working on a tight budget make sure your staff are making the most of what you’ve got.


I hope some of those help, and give you some ideas. Linking ICT to other subjects is not just about giving them a few websites to play on, it’s about making an impact on the teaching and learning taking place. How does your school link the two subjects? Any other ideas to suggest, feel free to comment.


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