SmartNotebook Lesson Activity Toolkit

Introduction

I’ve blogged about SmartNotebook before – here and here as I find it to be such a useful resource. Now someone else has blogged about me hassling people with it: http://vle.barkingcollege.ac.uk/techblog/?p=2582#more-2582

I thought it was time to highlight some of the new features in Smart Notebook v.10. It’s not particularly new, but it’s a little bit more fiddly to install than previous versions, and so we’ve only just been able to start using it. So far, I’ve been impressed with the changes:

Word Guess
Word Guess – Also featuring basketball and tomato throwing

Template activities

This is probably the most impressive  part of the new version of this software – I was alerted to it by Sandra Pires’s blog:

http://e-blahblah.com/.

The Lesson Activity Toolkit installs automatically as part of SmartNotebook 10, but you can download it for Notebook v.9.5 from here.

Within the gallery of ‘clip-art’ type pictures that can be easily inserted into lesson materials, there are a number of interactive games that can be produced quickly and easily.

The first game that I have been able to make most use of so far has been Word Guess (similar to hangman) where students have to  guess the letters that form a word. I used it give my beginner reader and writer students practice in recognising place names in the local area, to aid them read local timetables. However, it could be used at pretty much any level, and in pretty much any subject to reinforce new terminology or to practise spelling. It doesn’t include the undoubtably morbid “hangman” context, replacing it with football or basketball shooting practise – or for students not motivated by sport, you can practise throwing tomatoes at someone instead.

The second game that I have been able to use was the Anagram generator, again, with local place names. It can be used to the same effect as the Word Guess activity above. You enter a word list and the program automatically generates anagrams, where students have to drag and re-arrange the letters to spell out the new word. Again, it appears to be a great activity for spelling activities or for consolidating new terminology.

I found these activities both very engaging for students. I stood at the back of the room and let the students work together as a group to complete the activity. The game/competitive element of the activities really seemed to motivate the students. It reduced a group of fairly serious adult students into a bunch of teenagers, eager to play and try out their ideas.

Gallery
Gallery tab

There are a number of different games within the “lesson activity toolkit” which can be accessed from the Gallery tab at the side of the screen. As of yet I haven’t tried out the other games with students, but they all seem easy to create. There are a number of word/picture matching games and also many different word and image sorting games. I intend to try as many of these out on my students as possible. Smart have got a quick guide to creating activities here: http://downloads01.smarttech.com/media/services/quickreferences/pdf/english/lat_qrg.pdf They have also created some video tutorials here: http://education.smarttech.com/ste/en-US/Ed+Resource/Lesson+resources/toolkit/tipsandtricks.htm

Has anyone else used any of these activities? How have you found them? Any tips?

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