Put simply, SmartBoards are interactive whiteboards. These interactive whiteboards are available in a variety of styles ranging from a basic board to a more sophisticated projector-board system, marrying the structure of a whiteboard with the technology of a computer. When using SmartBoards, teachers are able to present multi-media lessons, save their work, and write in "digital ink" using just a fingertip. SmartBoards have a durable surface, allowing both teachers and students to make direct, interactive contact with the board. They are also great for visual and kinesthetic learners. All SmartBoards are Mac AND Windows compatible, are able to connect to the internet, and have a widescreen to prevent video distortion and letter boxing. In addition, each style of SmartBoard comes with a variety of helpful features and resources. These features and resources include:
  • SMART Notebook: Allows teachers to save lesson plans and data in files that are compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems. Data can also be saved using PowerPoint, Excel, Word, etc. Additionally, SMART Notebook allows teachers to email lesson plans and data directly from the SmartBoard itself. Saved files can also be uploaded to SMART Exchange.
  • SMART Exchange: This feature enables teachers to archive lesson plans and data. Teachers are also able to search SMART Exchange for lesson plans and ideas, as well as collaborate with colleagues within their district or internationally. A more detailed description can be found under the 'Lesson Ideas' section.
  • SMART Response: Provides teachers with SmartBoard tech support. SMART Response contains question and answer sets, as well as links to helpful websites and resources to ensure effective teaching and learning through SmartBoard use.
  • Dual Touch: Allows the SmartBoard to be split into two individual boards, allowing students to work side-by-side on different tasks. This feature provides students with the opportunity for collaborative learning and reciprocal teaching.

Select styles of SmartBoards:

SmartBoard 600 series SmartBoard 600i series SmartBoard 685ix series

Related Theory

SmartBoards are most closely related to the constructivist theory of learning. SmartBoards allow for more personalized learning, as well as opportunities for cooperative learning and reciprocal teaching. SmartBoards also provides a space to organize information. This can help students to connect complex topics and to see the relationships between them. Smartboards allow for interaction in the classroom setting, which is what constructivism stems from, as it argues people learn through interacting with their environment. It is simple to bring up new information depending on the questions being asks, therefore leading to new experiences for the students. The behaviorist theory can also be related to SmartBoards. SmartBoards allow for constant and instant feedback, which embodies the main concepts of behaviorism.


Teacher Advocates the use of Interactive Whiteboards

  • Professional development (Most Options are Free):
    • Free training materials are available at the SMART website
      • Quick reference guides
      • Hands-on practice exercises
      • Two-minute Tutorials
    • Free Education Solutions website on the SMART site
      • Teacher-developed lesson activities
      • Lesson activities correlated to curriculum standards
      • Curriculum-specific software resources
      • Professional development programs
      • Research reports on interactive-whiteboard use in the classroom
      • Links to pedagogical Web resources and additional profesional-development options
    • A Free Smart Board tutorial is available in the interactive whiteboards help menu
    • Free online interative orientation sessions, computer and telephone confrences led by SMART trainers
    • Or on-site training at a cost (the cost was not disclosed on the website)

  • Free Software:
    • Every Smart Board purchase includes the below software and unlimited free upgrades of this software
      • Control any computer application
      • Write in digital ink over applications, Web pages or even moving video
      • Save all your work to a single Notebook file
      • Convert handwriting to text
      • Record synchronized audio and data files
      • Access a Gallery of more than 6,000 images, videos, sounds, Macromedia® Flash® movies and background
      • Free download of the take-home version of SMART board software, so teachers can work on lesson plans from home
      • SMART Ideas® concept-mapping software
      • Number Cruncher software®
      • Music Notation software
      • BrainPOP® Flash movies
      • SMART Speller software
      • Finale NotePad

  • Many of the Same Benefits as Power Point with the following additions:
    • Teachers and students can interact with the board and lesson rather than simply watching it.
    • Teachers and students can jot down notes on the presentation that can be reviewed later to determine how the presention could be improved.
    • Since the smart board lessons can be saved in many file formats (see below) other students and teachers do not need power point software to access the lesson.

  • Free Technical Support:
    • SMART Board interactive whiteboards come with free technical support by telephone or e-mail, and a five-year warranty upon registration.

  • Ability to save Smart Board lessons in multiple file formats
    • Word, Excel, Power Point, PDF
    • Various file formats allow teachers to share the lesson with other teachers or students who do not have Smart Board software


  • Handwriting

    • Writing neatly and legible can be difficult, like with any touch screen.
    • The handwriting to text feature does not always work as cleanly as an instructor might hope, especially if they do not have the best handwriting.
    • The board can be sensitive, so if you balance your hand on the board while writing it can cause the cursor to jump down to your hand.
  • Dark Room

    • Since it is a projector system the room must at least be dim. This could present greater problems for keeping those students aleady prone to sleeping with the lights on awake.
  • Cost

    • Initial Cost of purchase - US$1,399 with a grant
    • Retrofitting and additional hardware
      • All Smart Boards require a computer, projector & network cables. (If a school doesn't already have these tools, additional costs will arise)
        • Average price of a projector is around US$1,000
        • A buy-up feature is the wireless module, which eliminates running network cables across the room, but it comes with a price tag of around US$1,000.
      • A front-projection SMART Board has no special installation requirements: It can be purchased with a floor stand or it can be wall-mounted with a bracket included with the purchase. Other models may have additional installation requirements.
    • Replacement costs and durability

      • The pens can be replaced with any writing instrument if they are lost
      • Projector Bulb replacement is often needed after 3,000 hours of use at an average cost of US$400 a bulb.
      • The board itself is scratch and tear resistant and can be cleaned with regular whiteboard cleaning supplies
  • Student Interaction is still Limited

    • Only 1 or 2 (if the screen is split) students can be at the board at a time, which leaves the rest of the students just watching like with a traditional whiteboard or presentation.
    • Already by middle school some students are not impressed by interaction and animate the screen provides. For example, it can't always compete with some of their video games.
    • Students also get less excited about volunteering as they get older, reducing the likelihood that they are actually engaging with the board and not just the teacher.
  • Substitute Teachers

    • As with any technology there still needs to be back up plans that do not rely on technology. Often times substitutes do not have log on capabilities to access these types of presentations. Even though the Smart Boards are fairly intuitive, a substitute without any training or experience with them may feel out of their element and put more focus on the technology than teaching the class.
  • Recallibration

    • If the projector or the board is moved even a little bit recallibration is necessary otherwise the image may appear fuzzy or the cursor may not work as desired.

Special Guidance

Students and teachers alike may need practice and training to help understand the nuances of the SmartBoard. Free online training is available to help both teachers and students learn the workings of SmartBoards.

Current Research

Research regarding interactive classroom technologies, such as SmartBoards, has shown the use of classroom technologies reduces teacher prep time and stress. Teachers are also more able to cater lesson plans to various learning preferences.

Case Studies of Smart Boards in use for each Grade Level

Lesson Ideas

SMART-Lesson Activity Toolkit

Dual-Touch Lesson Ideas

Smart Exchange
  • Provides lesson plan templates (including templates for fun games like jeopardy)
  • Allows user to search for relevant lesson plans by
    • Subject
    • Grade
    • Educational Standards by state and grade
  • Users can save their templates and lessons for others to use and they can access others templates and lessons
  • Provides a forum for teachers to discuss their experiences with Smart Boards


Much of the information for this Wiki page came for the Smart Technologies Homepage