Smartboard Cubed

Smartboard Cubed

Smart Technologies, the maker of the Smartboard, was founded in 1987. They create interactive whiteboards, interactive pen displays, interactive digital signage, wireless slates and software. The interactive whiteboards are becoming commonplace in today’s classroom.

Face 1: Type of Market

Smart Technologies supplies Smartboards and other interactive technologies to every level of educational or corporate training.

Face 2: Type of Offerings

Their main offering is the Smartboard interactive whiteboard. This comes bundled with Notebook 10 software. The whiteboard is connected to a pc which it controls by using touch (human hand, electronic pen etc). The company provides training for their product in the form of online tutorials, videos, manuals and webinars.

Face 3: Who is the buyer?

Smartboards are typically bought by individual schools and school districts. Some school districts are purchasing this product and putting them in every classroom in certain schools while other districts are leaving the purchase decision to the individual schools.

Face 4: Global Markets

Smart Technologies is presently concentrating their efforts on the English speaking ‘wired’ countries. Given its ties to Intel and Microsoft it is easy to imagine them expanding globally.

Face 5: Market Development

The North American and English speaking European markets would support this product. Worldwide they account for more than 53% of all such devices sold. In North America their market share is 62%.

Face 6: Learning Technology Integration

The Smartboard is becoming more and more common in today’s classroom. It is replacing blackboards, whiteboards, maps, charts and other visual teaching aids. Its interactive nature allows students to quickly and easily interact with the technology.


1 Omar Ramroop { 09.25.09 at 8:35 am }

Hi Ed,

Great choice to cube.

I have worked extensively with Smartboards at the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa providing workshops for pre-service teachers on the integration of technology and smartboards in the classroom. I believe that when used in the right context, they can be powerful learning tools. The “magic” itself is more in the software than the hardware.

Right now, I am aware that Smart Technologies are attempting to get a Smartboard in most of the classrooms within the Greater Ottawa Region. I believe that this will take some time, but I have already taught at a few schools that have full Smartboard integration throughout each classroom.

Once again, excellent breakdown of the Smartboard.


2 David Vogt { 09.25.09 at 1:43 pm }

For an alternative perspective, I worked with a pioneering one-to-one school district in San Diego that doesn’t allow Smartboard systems because, from their view of the world, it imposes an instructor-lead or overly instructor-controlled learning environment. Would you agree that Smartboards are not pedagogically agnostic?

3 Ed Stuerle { 09.25.09 at 1:54 pm }

Our school does not have a smartboard. I have attended a couple of workshops about them and I’ve been impressed with what they have to offer. The leaders of these workshops emphasized several times that the power of the smartboard really resided in the engagement of the students. Since they can manipulate objects etc by dragging them around the screen in front of the class, these instructors are ‘sold’ on the product’s ability to engage all types of learners.
I do understand the point that you raised about it imposing an instructor-lead/controlled learning environment. I guess it depends on how it is used.

4 Michel Lacoursiere { 09.25.09 at 3:22 pm }

I agree SMART technologies was another good company to cube. The last school I worked full time at had a Smartboard in every classroom. I was part of the technology committee as the school was implementing this and helped with the staff training and development team.

It was a really neat process to be involved with and the technology definitely opens you up to teach in a lot of different ways. With what I saw in both new teachers, veteran teachers, those comfortable with technology and those not, I would whole-heartedly disagree that it emphasizes a teacher-centred classroom. The device, taken at its basic level, or with earlier software, could be seen in that way but anyone who has worked with their newer Notebook 10 software can appreciate the shear flexibility Smart has tried to infuse in their product.

I would say interactive whiteboards put the focus on content. An educator can quickly explore a question that arises in class by easily navigating online and exploring any content or media related to it. Beyond this I really enjoyed the ability to convert my handwritten notes into documents and upload, email or save them in a matter of touches on the screen.

Smart has also introduced the Senteo response system which I have used extensively and this really puts the emphasis on students. These are essentially small wireless keypads that student can use in interactive testing or polling, giving the teacher instant feedback as to student understanding, progress, etc. It doesn’t have to be used with a Smartboard.

I should also note that there are alternatives to SMART technology’s IWB such as

5 Ed Stuerle { 09.25.09 at 3:50 pm }

Thanks for the comment Michel. As a newbie to the Notebook 10 software I’m wondering if you could point me in the direction of a sharing site of sorts. Do you know any place where teachers can upload and download Notebook 10 lessons (so that we don’t end up re-inventing the wheel)?
Also do you have any comments on using the software without the smartboard? We don’t have money to put a smartboard into every class but I was thinking that we could perhaps load the software and then utilize a tablet like a Wacom Bamboo. I was thinking that for under $100 students could use a tablet to interact with the software.

6 Ernest Pao { 09.25.09 at 10:36 pm }

Hi Ed et al,

Thanks for your contribution. Smart Technologies is definitely a pertinent company to ‘cube’. In fact, I ordered one for my classroom back in April and it finally arrived yesterday. It’s supposed to go in next week so I’m pretty excited about it.

Regarding Smartboards being teacher-centered, I would suggest that it would really depend on how it is used. I took a course in it this past summer through UBC (CSED 400) and it really opened my eyes to how it could be used. I had ordered the Smartboard over other technologies (e.g. tablet PC and projector) specifically so that I could provide more student-centered instruction. In my opinion, Smartboard activities should be designed so that the students are having hands-on experience with it, rather than the teacher doing all the touch manipulation. That’s how I intend to use it once it’s ready.


7 Barrie Carter { 09.26.09 at 7:04 pm }

Hello Ed:

The school where I teach has a Smartboard in one of my colleague’s classroom.

Indeed, I had no idea how interactive a Smartboard can be, especially for children with exceptionalities (aka special needs) who are predominantly visual and/or kinesthetic learners.

For this reason alone, I believe that every classroom should have a Smartboard considering that, in a typical public school classroom of 25-30+ students, there are at least three ministry designated students with special needs who require some type of adaptation, modification, or accommodation.

Finally, I viewed a couple of YouTube videos on how useful a Smartboard can be. It was exciting to watch.



8 Cari Wilson { 09.27.09 at 10:44 am }

I have not had a smartboard, (although I would love one!) but from what I’ve seen at wokshops, etc. I would agree with the above comments about the fact that the way it is used is the important thing. It could be a very teacher-centred tool but it could also be very empowering for students.

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