Apr 18 2009
SMART Table in my Classroom – Day 1: The Case of the Missing Key
On Friday the greatly anticipated arrival of our pilot SMART Table took place. I visited BETT back in January and met with some representatives from SMART and Steljes (UK distributor of SMART products) to organise the possibility of running a pilot in the use of the table in our school.
Unfortunately getting the device out of the packaging was as far as I could go, as the people who packed it up didn’t include a set of small keys that are crucial. A power cable was provided and this needed to be plugged into the device, the keys unlock the sides of the table allowing access to the power. The cable is then fed through a small hole in the base. But no key, no power!
Nevertheless I will be able to report back early next week as I have some time to myself to play with the applications pre-installed with the SMART Table. They are:
- Multiple Choice
- Online Activities
All of these are included in the SMART Table Toolkit. A separate piece of software that runs from the small memory stick that is provided. In this toolkit you can customise the above applications in some basic ways, adding different backgrounds, help/intro text and simple activities.
I will give the SMART Table Toolkit (STT), which is incidentally the only way I can currently author Table content, a full write up when I have had opportunity to use the Table. Rob McLeod has informed me that there is a service pack and update on the way and STT will have a preview option which is an obvious omission in it’s current form.
I was joined in school (and in my frustration) on Friday by Louise Perrier an education consultant with Steljes who will be coordinating the project. We discussed our approach to the project and I was pleased that Louise shared similar views to me about the unexplored potential of multi-touch in the classroom.
We talked about how we could work with a software partner, my worry that the basic apps will only have a short shelf life and what to do beyond that. We both feel that the assessment of collaborative work and how children contribute to a task is an important issue for the project. Furthermore we shared the view that it is what you do with the technology that counts most.
There is a long way to go still, many questions and much to explore – although a disappointing false start I hope to get started properly on Monday.
It looks a possibility that I may be able to take the SMART Table to TeachMeet Midlands – so if you are attending you may get a chance to play, I promise to bring the key.