How to Automatically Open a SMART Notebook File in SMART Notebook Express

Here are some steps for you to quickly share a notebook file with your students online so it will open automatically in SMART Notebook Express.  Doing this process will save the students a few steps.  Here is what you need to do:

1.  Attach/Post a notebook file to a page on your website.

2. Right-click on the file and copy the URL.

3. Add to the link before your file’s URL location.


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SMART Notebook 14 – New Features

Coming this April, SMART technologies is releasing their newest update to the notebook software, SMART Notebook 14.  It is very similar in look to Notebook 11, which is great for teachers (not much of a learning curve here) and some new cool features.  I have included some of my observations here, along with a video made by Amy from SMART, as she highlights some of the new features in the updated software.

– They will now be naming the releases to the year in which they are released (’14, ’15, etc)
– New pen tools: Text Pen (This is great!) and Paint Brush Pen
– Is compatible with Smart Slate (the presenter was using a smart slate at the time)
– Notebook Advantage (combining all the resources that were separate before…math tools,e tc) will not work with the Ipad App
– Windows 7 or higher…11.4 is the last version that will work with xp
– 3D tools – now able to right click and label part of an object (like a crab’s claw) the label stays connected to the object.
– Anything created in Google Sketchup can be brought into the 3D tools
– Activity builder items created in 11 will work in notebook 14 (presenter had not seen any compatibility issues between files created in 11 working in 14).
– April 1st Release Date for downloads.
– Mask Tool – Kind of like cropping a picture but you are just manipulating what you can see and hiding the rest (doesn’t cut the picture so you can adjust it)
– Software opens pretty quickly…improvement over 11…removing the Win XP coding helped speed things up.
– Still able to use response clickers with notebook 14…change settings in Setup Tool just like 11.
Have a great week!
The Tech Integrator

Google Docs – Research Tool

Just learned a new feature in Google Docs at the Google Summit in Charlottesville VA.

There is a Research Tool and it is fantastic!  It is a very easy way to find and cite research articles on a topic.  This would also be great for teaching students about citing their resources.

Within your Google Document, highlight the text you want to research, and:

– Click Tools –> Research (Ctrl + Alt +Shift + I).  A side window will pop up with search results.  For each one you can Preview, Insert a Link (creates a hyperlink to the article for the highlighted text), or Cite (which inserts the citation into your document).


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APA Formatting Tips and Tricks

APA Format Tips and Tricks

What is it?

  American Psychological Association Format

Why Do you need it?

  This will help you cite works used within a research paper and on a reference page at the end.  This way you can give proper credit to the original sources of your research.

Reference Page Helpful Hints:

      Cite your references in your paper to help readers easily locate them on your reference page.

      Title your page “References” and center it on the top of the page.

      Arrange your citations in alphabetical order.

      Double space your reference list.

      Use Italics for titles of books, journals or videos.

      Keep article titles and chapter titles in plain text.  DO NOT format them.

      Use page numbers only if you have pages from a specific chapter or article.

Hints for handling citation of Online resources:

      Follow the basic format as you would for print materials – author, date, title and publication info.

      The author of your document may be an organization rather than one person.  This is OK.

      Two dates needed – First the date the information was published.  Then you will also add a date of retrieval for when you found the information cited.

      Include the URL of the source.

      Include the specific parts of the web document if appropriate.

Example of APA cited reference:

Altrichter, H., Posch, P., & Somekh, B. (2003) The Written Survey. In Teachers investigate their work: An introduction of the methods of action research, (p. 110-114). London: Routledge.

High School students Learn Virtually on a Snow Day

I read about an event this week that I think is fantastic!  This winter has brought much winter weather to the east coast, and in some cases, many snow days.  Sometimes the unexpected number of snow days leads to having to make up the instructional time later during the spring.

Pascack Hills High School in Northern NJ today is having their first “virtual school day” today.  Students will use laptops issued to them by the district (already part of their program, which would be a necessity for making a program like this one work) to log into their classes and complete assignments posted on the class web page by their teachers.  In some cases, they will be using Google Docs to collaborate on assignments with other students or do peer editing, in others they will complete an assignment and email a digital picture of their notebook to their teacher.  Students also get to continue their learning on a a day they otherwise would not have gone to school.

Hopefully, this virtual learning day is successful for them, and hopefully as the access to learning devices increases, can be something that will spread to other districts and states.

Articles read include:

Bergen Record Online article (

News 12 New Jersey article:

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Use Animoto to Promote Internet Safety

Third grade students have been reviewing the importance of internet safety and giving proper credit for utilizing another’s work.  This past week, they combined these tools and created public service announcement videos to educate others about being safe online.  We used Animoto ( , a web based tool that incorporates pictures, text and music to create short videos.  The students did an outstanding job and had a lot of fun with this project.  In addition to embedding the produced videos on the teacher web pages for students to view each other’s and share with their parents, we will be sharing them to educate other students in our school via our morning news program over the next several weeks. This was a great experience, and based on conversations with teachers since the project, it was a success I look forward to my teachers coming up with other uses for this tool in the near future.

Here are some samples of the completed videos below.  Enjoy!  Feel free to share comments below and any other ideas for incorporating Animoto into the classroom.

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Exit Tickets – Key Feedback from Students and Teachers

Using an exit ticket is a common form of formative assessment used with students to gain some insight into what students learned or understood from a particular lesson.  This is also a great tool to use with adult students.

After each technology training that I have conducted this year with my teachers, I have asked them to complete an “Exit Ticket” about their learning experience.  The tool I chose for this format is Google Forms.  It was easy to set up, quick for them to complete in a user friendly format, and I love how I instantly get the results in a nice organized spreadsheet!  I look at this feedback after training to determine how comfortable the staff was with the topic of the session, any instant things/misconceptions needed to be addressed, and reflect on how I would change the training the next time offered.

Below is a screenshot of the feedback responses from one of my technology PD sessions this year.

Technology Exit Ticket I


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Start students young creating Presentations

1st Grade is a great time to have students starting to create presentations of their own using technology.  Start simple, but get them using the tech and learning the skills to create great presentations with text and visuals.

I did a lesson with my first graders using Power Point.  It was simple, they made one slide, but it gave them a foundation to build upon for future years.  This can be applied to any content area, and you can have them pre-write their sentences and check for punctuation and spelling.  Try it, you will be amazed at what they can do at that age.




Til Next Time…

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Google Spreadsheet Tips Part II – Protecting Cells

When working on a spreadsheet with others, you may want them to be able to edit the sheet but wish there were certain cells within the sheet that you could lock down, or protect from being edited.  There is a way to do this!  Follow these steps:

1.  Highlight the cells/columns you wish to protect.
2.  Right click and choose Name and protect range.
3.  A panel will open confirming your cell range – check the Protect box.
4.  Choosing a name for your range will make it easier for you to find and manage protected cell ranges
5.  Click Done.

Once you have protected your cells, any collaborators on the document will see the cell data but will be unable to edit the cell.

Special Thanks to Sheryl Roberts for her contribution to this post.

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