Use a SMART Board

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General SMART Board Info

First, some general info about how SMART Boards work that all SMART Board users should know, whether you use a Mac or Windows computer:

  1. The SMART Board is connected to the computer via a USB cable (an extender device of some kind will often be required to accommodate longer distances between computer and SMART Board. These extenders increase the number of places where the cable can become unplugged from two to four).
  2. Smart Boards do not connect directly to the projector. The Smart Board and projector function independently from each other, though of course the Smart Board is useless without the projector.
  3. The SMART Board is not, in and of itself, a video device at all. Rather, it is an input device comparable to a keyboard or mouse - physical manipulation of the Smart Board by the user sends input signals to the computer.
  4. The projector is connected to the computer, and does nothing other than project the video output from the computer just as a monitor displays that video output. A projector works the same way whether it is projecting onto a screen or a Smart Board.
  5. It follows from the above that it is possible to have a problem with the projector but not the Smart Board and vice-versa. In general, problems with the image itself are related to the projector, while problems with Smart Board-specific functions (using the pens, etc) are related to the SMART Board or the Smart Board software on the computer.
  6. In order for the Smart Board to "know" where the projected image is falling on its surface, the user must "Orient" the Smart Board, which is a process of calibrating the Smart Board's sensors with the projected image.
  7. It follows from the above that if the projected image is moved even slightly in relation to the Smart Board, due to movement of either the Smart Board or the projector, the orientation procedure will need to be performed again.
  8. On the lower right side of the SMART Board, there is a status light which indicates the status of the connection between the Smart Board and the computer. Here's how to interpret the status light:
      • Status light solid green: The Smart Board is connected to the computer and communicating with the SMART Board Tools software running on the computer. All Smart Board functions (writing with the pens, etc.) are available.
      • Status light blinking green: a physical connection to the computer is detected, but the SMART Board software on the computer is not running. In such a case, the SMART Board will function only as a giant touch pad mouse - you can use your finger to move the mouse pointer around the screen and you can tap to click, launch applications, open files and folders, etc. No other Smart Board functions will work.
      • Status light solid red: The Smart Board is not properly connected to the computer - it may be connected to a powered USB hub (hence the light), but it is not communicating at all with the computer.
      • Status light off: The Smart Board is not connected to anything, or the computer is off.

Mac OS X Logo 2.png Mac OS X 10.5

Configuring SmartBoard Settings and Getting Oriented on a Mac

In order to use the SmartBoard effectively, you must configure a few settings. Following is an overview of how to do this in Mac OS X.

The first step to doing anything with a SMART Board on a Mac is to launch the SMART Board Tools application. It's icon in the Dock looks like this:


Note the red "x" on the icon in the above image. This indicates that there is no connection established between the software on the computer and the SMART Board itself. If you are seeing this and you just logged in, be patient - it can take almost a minute from the time you click "Login" for the SMART Board and the computer to recognize each other. If the red X does not disappear, there is a problem. SMART Board functions will not work, and the status light on the Board will be either blinking green, solid red, or off. Check to make sure the cables connecting your computer to the SMART Board are plugged in and completely seated, and restart the computer. If the computer still fails to establish a connection with the SMART Board, submit a tech support request.

If there is a red X on the icon for SMART Board Tools in your Dock, wait until it disappears before proceeding. Then follow the steps below to get your SMART Board ready for use.

    • First, follow the instructions in this document: Orient the SMART Board to - you guessed it - orient your SMARTBoard.
    • Make sure your Ink Settings are correct (for things like handwriting recognition - something very useful that we'll get to later). Click the Apple Menu in the top left corner of your screen, and select "System Preferences". Open the "Ink" preference pane, and make sure the following items are checked: "Handwriting recognition is On" and "Allow me to Ink in any application". Close the System Preferences window
    • Configure your Ink Layer settings, which control how the pens work. To do this, click the SMART Board Tools icon in the Dock, click the "Open" menu at the top of the screen, and select "Control Panel". In the right pane, click "Configure SMART Tools". Click "Ink Layer Settings". The important item here is the option "Close ink layer with pointer". Everyone I know of wants this checked. This allows you to make writing on the screen disappear with a single click of the mouse (or touch of the board). If you leave this unchecked, then every time you write with the pens on the board, before you can use the mouse again, you will have to answer a prompt asking you whether or not to save your writing before clearing it. "Always Save Ink" will automatically save everything you have written on the board to an image file when you clear it to use the mouse again. Everyone I know wants to leave this unchecked. you can always change these, but to start out, DO check "Close ink layer with pointer" and DO NOT check "Always Save Ink".
    • LAstly, before moving on to anything else, see this page to get started with the basic SmartBoard features. If you already oriented the SMARTBoard, you can scroll immediately to page 2 for this one. Once you are familiar with all the material up to this point, you are ready to learn to use the more powerful features of the SMART Board Tools and SMART Notebook applications.

Get started using SMARTBoard Tools

When the SMART Board tools are running, an extra toolbar will be available on the edge of the screen. The default location for this toolbar is the left edge of the screen. It looks like this:


See this page for an overview of the SMART Board Tools software.

Here's a little more detail on the different tools available from the SMART Board Tools toolbar: Clicking the different buttons on this toolbar gives you access to various mouse pointer functions.

  1. Clicking the Arrow turns your mouse pointer back into a simple pointer.
  2. Clicking the blue colored pen lets you select from four different colors. Choose one, and you can draw in that color using the mouse (or your finger on the SMART Board).
  3. Clicking the yellow marker lets you choose from four different highlighter colors. Choose one, and you can highlight in that color using the mouse (or your finger on the SMART Board).
  4. Clicking the eraser lets you choose between three different eraser sizes. Choose one, and you can erase using the mouse (or your finger on the SMART Board).
  5. Clicking the slanted arrow lets you choose from several styles of arrows and lines. Choose one, and you can draw arrows and straight lines using the mouse (or your finger on the SMART Board).
  6. Clicking the Orange square overlaying the blue circle allows you to select from several shapes - square, triangle, circle. Choose one, and you can quickly draw shapes using the mouse (or your finger on the SMART Board).

Smart Notebook Software on the Mac

When first launching the Notebook software from the Dock, you will see the Welcome Center, which ahs some useful links in it. See this page for information on how to use the Welcome Center links. You can bypass the Welcome center when launching Notebook by un-checking the little box in the lower left of the Welcome Center that says "Open the Welcome Center when Notebook software starts"

More to come on this soon, but for now see this page to get started generating and sharing content using the Notebook software.

And here is an overview of teh Notebook program toolbars.

Smart Notebook Educational Templates on a Mac

More to come on this soon, but for now see this page to get started using NoteBook templates from the Gallery.

Windows XP Logo 2.png Windows XP

Configuring SmartBoard settings on a P.C.

In order to use the SmartBoard effectively, you must configure a few settings. Following is an overview of how to do this in Windows XP.

Smart Notebook Software on a P.C.

Smart Notebook Educational Templates on a P.C.