Sunday, September 02, 2007

SmartBoard - The First Two Days

Two days into the beginning of school and I'm just starting to appreciate the versatility of the SmartBoard.

First, of course, there's the "cool factor." That'll wear off, but for now I've got everyone's attention. They're vying for turns to get up there and write. A great opportunity to get the less involved students more involved.

Next, an unexpected benefit. I'm working with a class that has a wide range of skill levels, and I don't want to compromise my curriculum--but I also don't want anyone left behind. I think the visual cues offered by the SmartBoard should help close that gap. I'm going to keep an eye on this and see where it develops.

My students expressed an interest in recording the classes (audio) and I'm going to try recording the SmartBoard sessions. Then I'll try to combine the video and audio, and come up with a video that they can watch for review. All this takes time, so I don't think I'll do all the classes, but I'd like to try a few just to see how they come out.

Has anyone tried editing the AVI files produced by the SmartBoard recording capability? Can I combine them with Windows Movie Maker? Any suggestions?

My SmartBoard modules are on Chumash Beraishis and Megillas Kohelles. If anyone is interested in seeing them, let me know and I'll email the notebook files to you.

For those of you using Windows Vista, if you've got an Airliner Slate with your SmartBoard, be careful of automatic updates. Microsoft's latest Vista update knocked out the Bluetooth adapter and I ended up having to roll back 3 weeks via System Restore, then install the latest Vista drivers which are not on the CD that comes with the product--they have to be downloaded. This didn't work without the System Restore because apparently MS has their own Bluetooth driver, with a more recent date on it, and my system insisted on using it instead of the downloaded driver. Unfortunately it turns out to be buggy and did not work with the slate. So, don't allow Windows to select the driver itself--cancel out of that and do the install from the download. The Smart website has detailed instructions if you need it.


Morah said...

I would love to see your stuff on Bereshit

Atarah said...

HI I would love to see your modules on Breisheet and Kohelet. I am teaching Kohelelt for the first time this year.


Jim Hollis said...


I found your blog while searching for SmartBoard resources. I hope you don't mind that I stopped by.

I really loved your blog post. I think its great for teachers new to SmartBoards to read.

I also want to thank for the heads up on Windows Vista.

As for Windows Movie Maker, it can import AVI files. Also, if you want to convert files to the more common WMV format, Windows has a free program called Windows Media Encoder that can do the trick. It's also a great tool for making movies by capturing your screen and audio input.

Have a great school year!


Rabbi D. Nimchinsky said...

I too am having some nightmares with Vista! I am finding that software that worked wonderfully on XP is buggy or locks up when run on Vista. Vista seems to be notoriously buggy with older drivers and bluetooth devices. I would recommend getting online with a site like which has collections of links to thousands of versions of different drivers. Sometimes just switching to another version can solve your driver problems.

Elky Langer said...

Thanks for the tip on Windows Media Encoder. I'm not familiar with it--I did try out another program that's supposed to be very good at conversions but it (surprise, surprise!) does not work on Vista. Hopefully Microsoft's own software will do better!

My bluetooth driver problem does seem to be resolved but I had yet another Vista issue--the Smartboard tools stopped responding. I'd pick up the pen, and nothing would happen. I had to select the pen from the toolbar on top. And the orientation settings kept getting lost.

I have a call into tech support (they told me it's almost certainly a Vista problem, and XP never has these issues), and someone is due to come on Monday.

In the meantime, I downloaded the latest Vista update and the problems disappeared yesterday. Hopefully this is it ...

Simcha said...

I just ran into this discussion while researching material for teaching Kohelet - I too would love to see your Smartboard Notebook files for Bereishit and Kohelet. Thanks in advance,

Simcha -

Anonymous said...


Did you ever get your other problem fixed, the issue with the pens and alignment? I am now having the same issue and am trying to figure it out.


zemer613 said...

Elky -
Could you please send me your Bereishis notebook module as well?

Elky Langer said...

For those who are interested in my Smartboard Beraishit files, I have several available at

Sorry for the delay, it took time to set up the download capability on our school's website.
Let me know if you find them helpful! I do have more, which I will upload on a regular basis.

fagie said...

can you send me your modules on Kohelet, I am teaching it for the first time this year and I think it could be very helpful..

fagie said...

Can you send me your modules on Kohelet- I think they would help me in my preparation of the sefer..