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GENERAL NEWS

SMART Learning Suite Online: 2021 Updates (Part 2)

Introduction

In our last blog article, we discussed 6 exciting new updates to the SMART Learning Suite Online platform that really transformed how teachers can use the platform, however as a pleasant surprise, SMART have graced us with some new additional updates that have increased the power of the platform even more, and we are going to discuss them here to give you the in-depth understanding of what they are and how they will help your teaching.

Before we begin, a quick recap on the 6 areas we covered in part 1 of our SLSO updates article:

  1. Explore Resources – a mini smart exchange in built right into the SLSO platform
  2. Words Search – a new game added to the online Game Based Learning tools
  3. Updates to existing games – including online image browsing and a zoom function allowing students to zoom into images that you use as elements of the games to get a better look!
  4. Shout it Out Updates – including adding a question text bar to the top of the screen so students can see the prompt and being able to customise the backgrounds of the note boards!
  5. Editing Handouts & Workspaces – previously, when you converted a page into t workspace or handout you were stuck with the choices that you made… well this is no longer the case as you can quickly and easily edit these tools.
  6. Training resources – along with the explore resources button, there is a new training button that allows you to access quick guide video resources to help you maximise your use of the platform.

If you would like to read up on these elements, please CLICK HERE

Now, without further ado, we will now discuss the second wave of new updates, updates that will transform the way that I, and other teachers will use the platform.

Importing Resources

This has been a very important element of the SLSO platform, as you have been able to import SMART Notebook, PowerPoint and PDF files directly into your SLSO dashboard, however the first element that I want to draw your attention to is the fact that you can now choose if you want to upload your resource from your local disk (your computer) or your library (SLSO dashboard) – yes that’s right, you can now import lessons from your SLSO library into a new lesson….

If you click on the green “ADD ACTIVITES” button on your SLSO dashboard you will see, as you have always seen, the Import Resources button, however when you click on this now, a drop-down menu will appear that gives you options as to what you want to import – a file from your computer or a SLSO lesson.

Importing from “Local Storage”

This element is not new, it just means that when you select this option you are uploading a file from your computer. This will open the file explorer or navigation window where you can navigate to the SMART Notebook, PowerPoint, or PDF file you want to upload to your SLSO dashboard like you have always done.

Importing from “My Library”

This is the new element to the update, and it will revolutionize how you use lessons in your SMART Learning Suite Online platform. 

When you click the “My Library” option in the import resources menu you will see a new window that lists all your SLSO lessons and shows their thumbnails. You can scroll through these to select the lesson that you want to import into your new lesson.

Once you select the lesson you want to import the SLSO platform will process the import and then show you another new screen, which allows you to select which pages from the SLSO lesson you want to import into your new lesson… Yes, you read that correctly, you can now import either a full lesson (all the sides/pages) or selected elements (games, slides, videos, anything) from one lesson into another! 

So, you no longer need to hunt for that YouTube video again or recreate that game, you can just import it from one lesson to another!

WHAT A TIME SAVER! But wait, it doesn’t stop there. 

The second element that is even more exciting is what you can do INSIDE your SLSO Lessons.

Editing your SLSO Lessons – Edit Mode

I don’t know about you, but when I have been building lessons in SLSO, or even when I import a Notebook or PowerPoint file, I have always wished that I could add a page or element from a different file. I found it frustrating that if I wanted to add a slide from a different notebook or that I had to recreate a game that I had used in a different SLSO lesson… well that frustration is NO MORE because the import resource is now available INSIDE lessons as well.

The process is exactly the same as what we discussed earlier in this article, but it means that I can import either elements from SMART Notebook, PowerPoint or PDF files into a lesson and add them to the work I have already completed OR I can take elements, including games and videos, from other SLSO lessons and use them in the lesson that I am working with or building.

The second small, but powerful update is what you can do for each slide in your lesson.

Editing your SLSO Lessons – Presentation Mode

This update is really powerful because you can now edit your lesson while you are in presentation mode. So, if you are teaching a session and you come across an element of your presentation that you want to change, you can do so quickly and easily.

Clicking the Hamburger icon in the top left-hand corner of the presentation screen will bring up a menu that will allow you to quickly jump into the “Edit Lesson” window where you can make changes. Once you have finished making your changes, the “Finish Editing” button at the top of the screen will take you back to your presentation view for your lesson.

Not only can you edit the lesson, but in this menu, you can also click on the share option which allows you to share the lesson with other teachers so they can use it in their classrooms, or create a student link which will allow them to access the lesson outside of the classroom. 

You can also use this menu to make a copy of the lesson or request a feature which is your direct pipeline to SMART about what you would like to see happen in the SLSO platform.  

The final update, which we are going to discuss in this article is one of the most awesome!

Have you ever been in a session where you get to a slide/page and you think, “man I should have made this a handout or workspace activity?” (remember a handout is an individual activity for students to complete on their devices and a workspace activity is a collaborative activity or shard document that a group of students work on collaboratively). Well now you can.

Clicking on the “people icon” where you would traditionally change the lesson pacing (teacher/student driven), have students connect to your classroom and see who was connected, now has the functionality of converting the page you are currently on into a handout or workspace activity.

So, no longer do you need to click into the edit mode and then create the activity, you can do it within seconds right in presentation mode. This conversion will trigger a change on the students’ devices which will allow them to click the Start button and then interact with the newly created activity within moments.

In Summary

While these updates may not be flashy new elements like a new game or the ability to customise your shout it outs, they have revolutionised the ways in which I, and other teachers are using the platform in their teaching. The ability to add files and elements of other SLSO lessons into my current lessons is amazing, not to mention the fact that we now can create handouts and workspaces on the fly. These elements transform this already amazing learning platform into the next realm

Questions that can drive your integration of the Modification into the learning in the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues

Q1

How am I/could I use the SMART Learning Suite to increase student engagement and digital literacy in my classroom?

Q2

How can the updates listed above improve my use of the SLSO in the learning that is occurring in my classroom?

Q3

What can I do now that I couldn’t do before and how will this change my approach to using this tool in my class?

Q4

What current lesson/unit of work could we explore using some of these updates to change the way in which I deliver learning in my classroom?

Q5

What are our current strengths and weaknesses as a team that would affect the roll out of our exploration of the SLSO and the elements listed above?

References
All images used in this article have been taken as screen shots from the PAVE Academy SMART Learning Suite Online portal.

SMART Learning Suite Online:
Link: https://www.smarttech.com/smart-learning-suite/

2021 SLSO Updates:
Published by: SMART Technologies

Image References
All images used in this article have been taken as screen shots from the PAVE Academy SMART Learning Suite Online portal.