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Brendan's design narrative - Interactive SMART Board Training

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Brendan Hurley
24 March 2013


I was tasked with providing instruction to staff members in the use of interactive SMART boards and its associated software.


In the third level educational institute where I work a number of interactive white boards were installed in lecture halls and tutorial rooms across campus. These boards were to be used primarily by our on-line lecturers, particularly those that needed to write formulas and perform hand written calculations in real time. (We had previously experimented with graphics tablets but found them unsatisfactory.) They were also to be used to make traditional face to face tutorials/lectures more engaging. 


I was attempting to give the lecturers the confidence and basic skills necessary to use the SMART boards.  The uptake in the use of the boards would determine the success of the program.


  1. Contacted all the lecturing staff to inform them the training was to be offered and asked them to register their interest. 
  2. In the same e-mail I provided a number of links to documentation and training videos to demonstrate the capabilities of the boards. An example have been given in the ‘Extra content’ section.
  3. As I expected it was difficult to agree on a time and a date that suited everyone who wished to attend.  To overcome this I ran the training session on a number of dates and at various times slots.
  4. I made the group numbers as small as possible to ensure I could answer individual questions and address any concerns people had with using the new technology.
  5. During the session I only demonstrated the basic functionality of the boards as I was conscious of not providing too much information and ‘scaring’ people off.
  6. I invited staff members to perform a number of tasks using the board.
  7. I asked staff members to contact me at a later stage if they wished to learn about some of the more advanced features.


A large number of the on-line lecturers started using the boards when delivering their courses.

Initial uptake was much slower amongst the face to face lectures as they couldn’t perceive any great advantage to using these boards as opposed to the traditional white board.


I believe the reason for the low uptake amongst face to face lecturers was due to the fact that they would have to redesign their course materials in order to make full use of the smart board’s capabilities.  Understandably this was something they were not prepared to do in the middle of the academic year. 

 A few years on the uptake has increased as lecturers have had more time to familiarise themselves with the boards.  Several of them have completely redesigned the way they deliver their courses making them much more interactive and engaging.  Many have taking advantage of the ‘record’ facility on the boards to capture their lectures and make the recordings available to students as downloads.


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