Using an Interactive Whiteboard with SmartMusic

In addition to using SmartMusic in practice rooms and at home, many educators are using SmartMusic in the classroom too. Here are just a few of the many benefits:

  • Instant access to SmartMusic features including the tuner, metronome, and digital recorder
  • Students are easily engaged by SmartMusic’s simultaneous visual and aural cues
  • SmartMusic can function as an “assistant,” allowing the teacher to move about the classroom and increase student contact time
  • By using SmartMusic in the classroom, the teacher is modeling to the students how to use SmartMusic at home

Interested? To get started you’ll need an amplification system, a projector, and a screen. That said, I started out with only some powered speakers for amplification, a borrowed projector, and some white poster board for a screen. The effort was well worth it because it brought SmartMusic into the classroom: I was able to better engage my students, teaching time became more efficient, and the students were the learning to use SmartMusic in a sensible way.

However, at this point the students had limited interaction with SmartMusic. The next step was to add a SMART Board (generically, an interactive whiteboard). In my case I was able to occasionally borrow one from our media center. It proved so useful that we eventually bought one of our own through a fundraising effort.

Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) allow you to operate a software program using the board as the interface. For example, pressing Start Take right on the IWB’s screen activates that function in SmartMusic. Instead of being tied to your computer, you can roam the classroom while students operate SmartMusic for you (you could also use a device like a Bluetooth mouse). But the magic really occurs due to the software that comes with the IWB. Here a few highlights:

  • You can “write” on the board using a supplied device or even your finger. I’d use this to write a performance direction I wanted students to write in their music, or to share a fingering, or to ask a student to write in counting.
  • IWBs can also be used like a chalk board, allowing you to write, type, draw, or erase – PLUS you can save a snapshot of what’s on the board at any time – try that with a chalk board!
  • Music symbols, including staves, clefs, bar lines, notes, and rests are provided and are easily manipulated by students.
  • With simple hand gestures, anything that appears on the screen can be enlarged or spotlighted or moved to fully capture student attention and focus.
  • And of course, since the IWB is also an extension of your computer, you can project movie files and other web and software resources.

When I started using a SMART Board in my class, my students helped me learn how to use it as they were already using them in their other classes! I welcomed their help.

Intrigued? Use your web browser to search “interactive whiteboard.” In addition, click here for a link to a brief overview of IWBs at the MENC website.

Are you using a SmartMusic in your classroom (with or without an IWB)? Let us know how it’s going by clicking on “Comments” below.

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