Twittertastic! – using Twitter in Education

Danny Nicholson has recently published a new blog post on his Whiteboard Blog, called “Ten Twitter Tips for Teachers“. Danny has written a short guide to Twitter for Teachers before, but as the name of his recent post suggests, here he provides 10 quick tips for people interested in getting started with twitter.

I often hear people being quite sceptical of twitter, but this is usually before they have actually tried it! I have been using twitter for about 3 years now and have found it invaluable for professional development and the reciprocal sharing of ideas and links with fellow educationalists not just from the UK but around the world. Give it a go and be amazed by the links and professional development opportunities it opens up. You can soon find people with simillar subject specific / pedagogical interests who you can follow!

Educational Use of Twitter

This blog post by Steve Wheeler of Plymouth University considers the use of Twitter a as a teaching tool – it includes an interesting “top 10 uses of twitter for education”. There are many other ideas and links to suggested ways of using Twitter in education on the EmergingEdTech website here.

A collaborative online book on Twitter for Teachers is also a growing resource for teachers keen to look at the potential of twitter.

Interactive Maths (1) – SMART Notebook™Maths Tools

The forthcoming Teaching and Learning session is focused on the use of ICT in maths and as part of this I will be adding a number of “Interactive Maths” posts to provide follow up information looking at the use of the following interactive technologies and the Maths curriculum:

1. SMART Maths Tools
2. SMART Response kits
3. SMART Document cameras in maths
4. Interactive Games – Content Generator and Tarsia.


This video clip from Smart Training and Professional Development provides a useful overview of how the SMART Notebook™ Maths toolkit works.

The SMART Notebook™ Maths toolkit includes the following tools:


– Handwriting Recognition for mathematical symbols
– Equation solving
– Equation editing

Advanced shape Creation and Manipulation ToolsRegular – – –

– Polygon Tool
– Irregular Polygon Tool
– Advanced Shape Manipulation

– Dynamic Graphing
– Custom Graph Builder

Texas Instruments™ Emulators
(launch TI-Nspire™, TI-SmartView™ 84 and TI-SmartView 73 software in notebook (note the TI Emulator software has to brought separately).

This video clip provides a useful look at the maths toolkit in action to support secondary maths:
A 30 day trial of the SMART Notebook Maths toolkit can be downloaded here. If you decide to purchase the add on, a number of licenses are available from one-computer to multiple computers from a range of suppliers of educational software.
Remember, there are measurement tools, including a ruler, protractor and compass which are now a standard part of SMART Notebook™ 10 and don’t require SMART Notebook™ Maths Tools as a separte add on.

SMART Document Camera and Art and Design

An interesting video with some suggestions for using a SMART Document camera in an art and design lesson to explore the elements of good composition.

Using a SMART Document camera

I am very interested at the moment in the use of the SMART Document camera in various curriculum areas. In the first of what hopefully will be a number of posts over the next term related to the use of the SMART Document camera (essentially a visualiser which integrates with ease with SMART Notebook on the SMART IWB range),  I will start by looking at what a SMART Document Camera is and think about just some of the possible uses of one in a classroom situation.

What is a SMART Document Camera?
The SMART document camera is basically a visualiser – it will show anything that is put underneath it. Unlike an old style OHP, the document camera provides a digital image and therefore anything put under it can be seen, including 3D objects, it can also be used for demonstrations.

How does it work and how simple is it to use?

Very simple and integrates easily with SMART notebook, whilst I don’t have experience of other visualisers, I know that one of the benefits of the SMART document camera is its ‘plug and play’ ease! As long as the computer has SMART notebook installed the camera, which connects via a USB port can quickly and easily be set up, making it very user friendly in lessons and for sharing between classrooms / departments.

The camera has a good zoom and an auto-focus function, giving a good quality image for using in teaching and learning opportunities. When used in conjunction with the many SMART notebook tools, such as the magic pen, highlighter, pen tools, camera tools etc.. it has great potential as an interactive teaching and learning tool.

Incorporating the SMART Document Camera in lessons:

There is a useful little video clip here from SMART Training and Professional Development with lots of little examples:

Some other ideas….

Excellent opportunities for AFL, including:

  • modelling exam answers / technique; including the ability to de-construct / annotate answers clearly in front of a class
  • share student work – student work can be put under the camera and peer assessment undertaken (been successfully used during exam time) – good for promoting collaborative learning.
  • share good work / used to show examples of good presentation / re-work draft answer / comment on student answers.
  • manipulate and reposition sentences / paragraphs / objects from a variety of manuscripts / documents / students work using the SMART notebook camera tools.
Other uses:
  • projecting worksheets
  • projecting images that can be captured and re-arranged using the board – e.g. for composition work in art and design
  • can be used in conjunction with microscopes in science to project images for the whole class
  • used to show demonstrations to the whole class, e.g. scientific experiments (enabling stills to be captured which can then be analysed and annotated (and used in revision!)
  • project resources – e.g. textbooks for whole class scrutiny.
Some useful links and documents related to the use of visualisers in the classroom:
Why would I use a classroom document camera? (many ideas for using a document camera in school settings)