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Smart Thinking

Teachers are constantly searching for the next big thing to further engage their students in lessons. The newly released version 10 of Smart Technologies' Notebook software aims to do just that.

TEACHERS ARE CONSTANTLY SEARCHING FOR the next big thing to further engage their students in lessons. The newly released version 10 of Smart Technologies' Notebook software aims to do just that.

Smart Notebook was created specifically to work with the Smart Board interactive whiteboard, but it also functions with other manufacturers' systems. Its purpose is to create an engaging, interactive experience for students. “Studies have shown that when students are involved and engaged in a lesson they retain more information and perform better,” says Jenna Pipchuk, product manager for Notebook at Smart Technologies.

The last major edition of Notebook, version 9.0, was released in January 2005, with upgrades leading to the latest version of the interactive software. “[Notebook] version 10 is the culmination of 16 years experience of creating software that teachers around the world use every day,” Pipchuk says. Notebook 10 offers 30 new features, plus new multimedia content, all designed to help teachers create interactive lessons.

Many new features were inspired by customer feedback from the company's 15 million-user base. “We receive a large number of feature requests, which are fed into the product development process and used to design each new iteration of the software,” explains Pipchuk. Some of the results are support for five new languages, for a total of 41; the Shape Pen, which perfects any freehand-drawn shape; the Magic Pen, for spotlighting, magnifying, or zooming in on an image; Page Recording, which records each step of a lesson and replays the notes; and Object Animation, for effects such as fading, spinning, or flying. One of the most highly requested features is the Table Tool, which allows a user to drag and drop content into a table that automatically resizes. A user can also type or write directly into the cells or add images, video, Flash, or audio.

“We're continually surprised at how inventive teachers are with the software,” says Pipchuk. “We know this tool could be used for a variety of curriculum and subject areas, so we developed the feature to be very flexible.”

For teachers who are new to the software and need guidance on how to integrate the technology into their lessons, Smart also offers lesson activities as well as live, online instructor-led training sessions.

Notebook 10 comes with the purchase of any Smart interactive whiteboard, document camera, Sympodium interactive pen display, Senteo interactive response system, or AirLiner wireless slate, but current Smart customers can download the upgrade for free from its Web site ( Teachers who don't have Smart Technologies products can still take advantage of the new software. “Smart encourages schools to standardize on Notebook software and actively sells it for use on non-Smart products,” says Pipchuk. In such a case, the MSRP for Notebook 10 is $299. (Note: EduComm Conference 2008 will be held June 18 to 20 at during InfoComm in Las Vegas.)

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