Although the SmartBoard seems like a big fancy piece of equipment, it really isn't.  Essentially, all it does is turn your monitor into a big touch screen.  You can use it with any software that you would normally use on your computer with a keyboard or mouse.  You can use the Smart Notebook software with it, or you can use it with any interactive website.  Using interactive websites can save you some time, in that you don't need to set up lessons on your own.


How to connect a SmartBoard to your computer

This involves two steps; connecting your computer to the SmartBoard and connecting your computer to the LCD projector and assumes you already have the SmartBoard software already installed.

Connecting to the Smartboard

1.  Plug the USB cable from the SmartBoard into a USB slot on your computer.  If your computer is on, you should see a solid green light in the bottom right corner of the SmartBoard.  

    • If something isn't working correctly, the light will flash or change colour.  Here is a troubleshooting guide that will help you determine what the problem is.  You don't need to fix it yourself, but this will help you when you ask for help.

Connecting the LCD

2.  Connect the LCD projector to your computer using the VGA cable.  Pay attention to where you plug it in to the LCD projector.  It should go into the Computer 1 or Computer 2.  It should not go into the VGA out port.
 VGA cable is the same on both ends.    The VGA ports on your computer and on the LCD projector are the same.  There will only be one on your computer, but there may be two or three on the LCD.  Make sure that you plug into the Computer 1 or 2 port and not the VGA out port.

Video Issues

There can be a variety of issues getting the image from your computer screen projected onto the SmartBoard.  Check these things in order:
  • Ensure that the LCD is plugged in and the  the power is turned on (don't worry - we all make this mistake sometimes).
  • Ensure that you have the VGA cable plugged in to the Computer 1 or Computer 2 ports.
  • Ensure the VGA cable is inserted the proper way (you'll notice in the photo above that it is kind of trapezoid shaped).
  • Check to see if the video out function is working on your computer.  Usually this means pressing one of the function keys (F8, F5, etc.).  The correct key usually has CRT/LCD written on it and/or may look like one of the ones below.  You may also need to press the function button (usually Fn - on the bottom left side of the keyboard) at the same time (i.e. [Fn] + [F4]).
  • Check the source that the LCD is using.  Press the Source button on the LCD projector to check that it is using Computer 1 or Computer 2 as an input.
  • Ask a student to check things over.  Many students are accustomed to doing this at home or in different classrooms and may have more experience than you do.  Don't let them work on it for more than 3-5 minutes though.  If they haven't figured it out by then and you've followed all the steps above, get some help.

Orient the SmartBoard

4.  Orient the SmartBoard by pressing the two buttons (mouse and keyboard) on the front of the SmartBoard.

  • A screen like the one below will come up asking you to click on each of the targets in order.  This helps calibrate the touch surface of the SmartBoard.
That's it!  You should have your SmartBoard connected and working properly!

Smart Notebook Software

Smart Notebook is a piece of software designed to work with the SmartBoard.  At a basic level, it is a big whiteboard.  There are a lot of cool functions built in, but in terms of an effective use of time, it may be preferable to use an interactive website.  If you want to develop lessons for your classroom SmartBoard you can actually download Smart Notebook and install it on your home computer.  You will need the Serial Number of your SmartBoard to complete the product registration.

If you are using a Mac, you should download the SmartNotebook patches (available here) to improve the functionality.  

To add images, and activities to your Smart Notebook file, use the gallery function and search for the topic you would like to find.  Notice that in your results section, there is an Interactive and Multimedia section.  This is where you can find many of the active and engaging tools that are included with the Smart Notebook software (rolling dice, timers, calculators, etc.).  The Lesson Activity Toolkit has a lot of interactive activities that can be customized for your students.  Check out the included examples to get started.

Additional Resources

From Smart Technology

Orienting your SMART Board


Learn how and when to orient your interactive whiteboard.

  • Orienting your SMART Board Interactive Whiteboard - Flash - 8.2 MB - PDF - 1.5MB
  • Quick Reference Windows | Mac