Regarding SMART Notebook Software

Several years ago, SMART began charging for the Notebook software that used to be free. The software that any teacher could previously install for free on as many computers as he wanted, now carried annual subscription fee. The last quote for Bloomfield was $24,000 for one year.

Simultaneously, SmartBoards themselves became somewhat eclipsed in functionality by less costly interactive LCDs, such as the Epson models that have been installed widely at the HS and MS and some classrooms in the elementary schools.

In light of the above, and the fact that Smart Notebook software does not run on Chrome OS, it would seem prudent that teachers adapt their Notebook lessons to run on the web version of Notebook (SMART Notebook Express). SMART Notebook Express is a cut down version of the desktop equivalent designed to let you open Notebook files and make minor changes in your web browser. It supports features like the Screen Shade, the pen, and eraser, but outside of that it’s fairly limited. But if you want to be able to quickly open Notebook files without installing the full desktop application or run it on your Chromebook, SMART Notebook Express is perfect. Express is also great if you’ve got lesson reources in SMART Notebook that you want to share with your class, as it’s accessible for free from any computer with a web browser.

Teachers can also become proficient with Google Slides and other apps that run on any computer with Chrome browser.

The plan here at Bloomfield is to encourage any teacher who wants to run SMART Notebook on their laptop to submit a Spiceworks Help Desk ticket and allow the technician to install the software. The teacher should be aware that the students will --as the 1:1 advances-- only have access to the Notebook Express. Moreover, as our version of SMART Notebook becomes more and more outdated, it will eventually become non-functional with the newest Notebook lessons.

But Bloomfield is not alone in slowly migrating away from SMART. Many successful districts have worked to transition instruction to a more long-term sustainable version.

Converting SMART Notebook Files to Google

Sarah Massey, MS Math teacher, has composed the following directions for converting SMART Notebook files to Google Slides. The first thing that you must do is identify the PCs or laptops in your school library that have Office 2016 installed AND Visual Basic (VB) Runtime environment. Bloomfield computers do not normally have these applications installed, but there are computers in the school Libraries with both of these programs. Log into that computer and follow Sarah's directions below:

To change your notebook files into google slides:
1. Open the notebook file on the computer
2. Go to File-->Export As-->Powerpoint
3. Choose a location to save the file
4. Then either: a) Open up a new Google Slide, go to file-->import slides. Choose Upload, and choose the file from the computer
OR b) Open google drive, click on the blue "New" button and choose File Upload, then choose your file (it will automatically make it a google slide)
5. When you finish, delete any files you saved to the computer.
You will have to play around with formatting, but all of your files should be editable if you use this method!
(Massey, Sarah <smassey@bloomfield.k12.nj.us>)

Here are a set of more elaborate directions, with images and screen prints, by Mr. Tim Jones, Technician. Both sets of directions will yield a conversion of Notebook files to Google Slides.

Update on Running SMART Express Notebook

The SMART Express Notebook software will run in the Chrome browser on a PC or laptop, or on Chromebooks. But the first time that you visit the site, you may receive a message about not having Adobe Flash. To get past this message, simply close the browser entirely and return to the site. Chrome is configured to run sites that require Adobe Flash, but the plugin sometimes has to install the first time that the site is visited.