SMART Learning Suite Online is getting a NEW NAME!

GENERAL NEWS

SMART Learning Suite Online is getting a NEW NAME!

For those of you who are users of the SMART Learning Suite, you will be aware that your annual subscription gives you access to the full version of SMART Notebook as well as access to the powerful online software SMART Learning Suite Online or SLSO and as of June 26th 2021, there is going to be a slight change to one of theses two elements – the SMART Learning Suite Online (SLSO)

In a press release that was emaikled to all SLSO users on Saturday the 29th of May, SMART finally acknowledged something that has been a little issue for all the users, the name of the online version. SMART Learning Suite Online was always a mouthful to say, and while SLSO was a lot easier, for new users to the platform, this acronym sometimes made it a little tricky to understand what was being talked about. With this in mind, SMART have decided to rebrand the SMART Learning Suite Online (SLSO) to:

In the press release, SMART goes on to tell us the meaning behind the new logo:

“The little firefly in the logo represents the luminescence, spark, and aha lightbulb moments the software is designed to enable your students and teachers.” 

So, from June 26th 2021, your SMART Learning Suite subscription will provide you with access to the following two amazingly powerful education software platforms

1 – SMART Notebook (downloadable software)

2 – Lumio (Online/cloud based learning platform)

*Note – The logos for SMART Learning Suite and SMART Notebook will not change, so the icons that identify the software that you have come to know and love will stay the same – the only element that is changing is the online version of the software. 

To try and assist teachers and schools with the transition, we have provided some questions and answers that may answer any concerns that you may have in the space below.

WHAT DOES THIS CHANGE MEAN TO MY SUBSCRIPTION?

In short… absolutely nothing. 

Currently, your SMART Learning Suite subscription provides you with access to the full version of SMART Notebook as well as access to SMART Learning Suite Online and as of June 26th this access will not change. You will still be able to download and unlock the full version of SMART Notebook as well as being able to sign onto your SMART Learning Suite Online account – the only difference will be the name on the SLSO page.

WILL THE RESOURCES, GAMES AND OTHER FEATURES IN SLSO CHANGE TOO?

No they wont. 

All the features that you know and love in the SLSO platform will stay the same. There will just be a new logo sitting at the top of the page.

DOES THIS MEAN I WILL NEED TO RESUBSCRIBE AT JUNE 26TH – EVEN IF MY SUBSCRIPTION IS DUE YET?

Absolutely NOT.

If you have a current subscription, it will just roll over into the new Lumio product. You will have the same digital classroom id and all your lesson files will be stored in your dashboard/account. 

The only differences will be:

  1. the logo that sits at the top will now be Lumio with the firefly
  2. when it comes to renewing your SMART Learning Suite license with Pro AV Solutions the language on the renewal notices will change from “accessing SLSO to accessing Lumio”

WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS MY SLSO/LUMIO ACCOUNT WITH OLD URL?

Yes you will.

If you have bookmarked the https://suite.smarttech-prod.com so that you can quickly and easily log into your SLSO account then don’t worry, this URL will still be active and you can use it to log into the new Lumio portal. 

DO THE STUDENTS STILL USE “WWW.HELLOSMART.COM” TO ACCESS MY DIGITAL ROOM?

Yes they do – this element of the platform has not changed.

For those of you who have been around long enough, you will realise that “hellosmart.com” was once called “classlab.com” and while SMART made the transition to “hellosmart” a few years ago the original classlab.com URL still works today – redirecting students to the hellosmart.com student access portal.

So, just to reiterate, the students access portal is exactly the same as it was.

WILL MY LOG IN DEATILS CHANGE?

No they wont.

The signing in process for Lumio is exactly the same, with the same usernames.

WILL THE HOME PAGE LOOK DIFFERENT?

Maybe…

While SMART haven’t said anything about this in their press release, we expect that when you type in suite.smarttech.com to sign in to your SLSO/Lumio account, there will most likely be some changes here. There will definitely be the new logo featured prominently on the page, and there may be some additional videos and resources that explain the change. 

We don’t think there will many changes to the dashboard when you log in. Outside of the new logo, the PAVE Academy expect the layout to be exactly the same. 

If you have a question about this transition that isn’t answered in this article, please reach out to our Education Specialist Ben Pisani on 0411 148 950 or ben.pisani@proav.com.au and he will answer all of your questions.

References

Transformation in Progress
Press Release dated Saturday 29th May 2021
By: SMART Technologies

SMART Learning Suite Online: 2021 Updates (Part 2)

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.

SMART Learning Suite Online: 2021 Updates (Part 1)

GENERAL NEWS

SMART Learning Suite Online: 2021 Updates (Part 1)

2021 has seen the introduction of lots of new elements to the SMART Learning Suite Online platform. The first thing you will notice is a new look landing page. For those of you who have not used this solution before, the new landing page provides users with an overview of the platform as well as a variety of different references and resources. The new landing page also offers a brand-new feature for new users – a ‘freemium’ version. This new ‘fremium’ version gives teachers the opportunity to try out the SLSO platform, offering you all the elements of the software but with one small catch – only 50MB of lesson storage. This storage limitation will fill up quickly and will limit users to very few interactive lessons saved in the SLSO dashboard, but it is a great way to taste all the elements of this amazing platform. Teachers and schools who want to move from the ‘fremium’ version to the full version which places no limits on lesson storage they can purchase a license, which are available through the PAVE Academy and Pro AV Solutions.

In our article “SMART Learning Suite Online – a blended learning and hybrid classroom tool for teachers” we explored the power of this amazing education software and how it can help you create a powerful, engaging, and interactive hybrid and blended learning environment. However, in this article, we are going to unpack some of the exciting new developments and upgrades in this platform that can take your lessons to the next level.

#1 – Explore Resources

There is a new button which has been added to the top of the SLSO dashboard. The explore resources button takes teachers to a selection of ready-made resources which can be added to your dashboard with the simple click of a button. Embedding the power of the SMART Exchange directly in the SLSO platform, this section seems to take its design from the television streaming services which means that it is familiar and easy to navigate around. 4 collections (Distance Learning, Manipulatives, Emotional Literacy and Manage Your Classroom) are featured at the top of this section and clicking on these buttons will open folders that house resources shared by SMART Technologies and will soon have other resources shared by SMART affiliated teachers and associations. Underneath these 4 collections, there is a series of streams of subject related lessons covering elements like STEAM, Fractions, Reading/Writing, Multiplication, Sight Words/Phonics and Art/Music.

This new section is a great way to support new users and teachers with the idea that using the SLSO does not mean that you must start from scratch. The embedded tools allow you to engage with the platform in your classroom quickly while developing your understanding, skill, and confidence with this amazing tool. I highly recommend spending some time exploring the different tools that are available in this space, you will not be disappointed.

#2 – Word Search

The SLSO already has a great selection of engaging and interactive Game-Based Activities, but the 2021 updates see the addition of a Word Search or Word Find. Designed to reinforce vocabulary and spelling for any subject, the very easy to use game builder allows you to add 20 words into the game, adjust the grid size between 8 and 18 letters and control the level of difficulty from 3 levels (easy: vertical and horizontal words only / moderate: vertical, horizontal, and diagonal words / difficult: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and backwards words). There are also 4 themes or templates to choose from (future-bots, monsters, pirates and simple) which allow you some customisation as to the look of the game. In summary, this new game, coupled with the fantastic SLSO game building wizard will allow teachers to quickly and effortlessly build work search games which can be pushed out to their students’ devices.

#3 – Updates to existing games

The things that make SMART Technologies such a powerful force in the education sector is not only their ability to create effective products, but also their willingness to listen to feedback and recommendations that are provided by the teachers who use their products. With this as a key element of their movement forward, SMART responded to the recommendation from teachers and have improved some of their existing games to allow a deeper level of customisation.

In some of the games you have the ability to insert either words or images. In the games that allow you to use images, the new update provides you with the ability to either upload and image from your device or you can conduct a “Bing SafeSearch” directly from inside the game building wizard, making it easy to find the images that you require to help build or adjust the game for your students. The other element that is worth noting is that not only are you conducting a SafeSearch meaning that only appropriate content will be shown, but the search also accesses only creative commons images, meaning that you don’t have to worry about breaching any copyright laws with your games as only images that are licensed to be shared and reused for free will be shown.

The second upgrade is the ability to customise the theme that you are using. All the SMART Game-Based Activities came with a selection of themes which change the appearance for the students, however the new upgrade allows teachers to move away from the standard themes and create customised themes of their own. Available in most of the games in the SLSO Game-Based Activity suite, teachers can alter characteristics like backgrounds, edit text, change the layout, as well as card and icon images, allowing games to be customised and targeted towards the specific learning needs of the students in the classroom.

The third upgrade is based specifically around games that use images as their answers. Previously, images were quite small and at times were difficult to identify however the new 2021 update has added a zoom preview button allowing students to have a large preview of pictures within the game.  As shown on this card taken from a Music Symbol “Flip Out” game that I created, you can see the broken box icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the card. Clicking this button creates a larger screen preview of the image that was used, meaning that teachers can now use images in their questions and answers without having to worry about image size or legibility.

The fourth update to the existing SLSO games is the ability to add images to the questions used in Game Show and Speed Up. These great games have now been made even more powerful with the ability to customise questions to include images or text. Like the other image upgrades, teachers can either upload an image directly from their device or they can conduct a Binge SafeSearch directly from inside the game building wizard. The true beauty of these tools are that you do not have to choose just one or the other question type. Your Game Show and Speed Up games can bounce between text-based questions to image-based questions, giving you true flexibility with the interactive and engaging summative or formative assessment tools.

#4 – Shout It Out Updates

One of the favourite tools in the SLSO for teachers all over the world is the Shout it Out. This virtual sticky note tool allows you to capture student voice in your classroom quickly and easily. Now with fully customisable backgrounds, teachers can customise the look for their single or category screen shout it outs. Worried that there may be an inappropriate comment shared by a student, well this has been addressed too, allowing you to drag and drop these comments directly into the bin on the screen. The final upgrade to this amazing tool is one of the simplest yet something that transforms this interactive tool. By adding a simple question line to the top of the shout it out screen, students can have the catalyst on the screen for their constant referral during the activity.

#5 – Editing Handouts & Workspaces

One the elements that made SLSO so powerful was the fact that you could turn any page that you created or Notebook/PowerPoint/PDF file that you uploaded into a digital handout or collaborative workspace for students to access and engage with on their devices, however in the past once you had ‘converted’ a page into a handout of workspace you couldn’t edit any elements in the activity… well that is no longer the case. The 2021 updates have now given teachers the ability to go back and edit their Handouts & Workspace activities meaning that you can continue to reuse lessons and activities well into the future without fear of the inability for editing and future customisation.

It is worth noting however, that if you edit the activity, you are changing the page from an activity back to a ‘normal page’ which allows you to conduct any editing that is required. This action means that you will lose any activity results or responses that may have been submitted by students in the past. While editing the activity does remove the interactive layer to the activity, it does not remove any elements that you had previously added to the activity, meaning that any images, text, or infinite cloner tools that were used will still be available.

A few other simple but effective updates to the Handout and Workspaces tools are that there has been the addition of a ‘preview’ button, allowing teachers to view the handout before pushing it out to students. In addition, there has been a quick view addition made to the background of the activity, providing teachers which a quick glance view of the activity (if you look at the image above you will see the background is a sample of the activity page).

#6 – Training

The final update that we will discuss in this article is the addition of the training button, added to the top of the SLSO dashboard. Here you will find quick reference assistance for using different elements of this educational software. Great for a quick reference guide to ensure you are able to achieve what you are after for your lesson; these videos and resources will walk you through building the tools and interactive elements you need.

Don’t forget that the PAVE Academy also has a variety of different on demand courses available for you to access, specifically around the use of the SMART Learning Suite and the elements in the SLSO platform. These free courses, all mapped against AITSL standards, will provide you with resources, how to guides as well as give you a certificate of completion which you can use as evidence for your professional development requirements for your annual teacher registrations. Go to https://www.paveacademy.com.au/learning-academy/ for more information.

 

In summary:

While these 6 updates are taking an already powerful educational software and making it even more valuable to teachers all over the world, the best thing about these updates for me, is that most if not all of them came directly from the feedback provided to SMART by teachers. This shows me that SMART are not only dedicated to creating great classroom digital education resources but are honouring their ethos of listening to the teachers and using their advice and expertise to continually update and improve their products.

If you would like to explore the SMART Learning Suite Online (SLSO) platform I suggest you read our other article on the SMART Learning Suite and then check out the fremium version so you can see exactly what it can do. If you would like to purchase an unrestricted license for either yourself or your school, please use the contact us page to explore how we can assist you.

Questions that can drive professional discussion with your teams and colleagues in meetings and workshops.

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

SMART Learning Suite Online
By: SMART Technologies

2021 SMART Learning Suite Online Updates
By: SMART Technologies

Image References

All images used in this article have been taken directly from PAVE Academy SMART Learning Suite Online Account.

Term Dates for 2021

GETTING READY FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR

Term Dates for 2021

Introduction

With the start of the school year not far away and with teachers starting to think about planning out the year that lies ahead, we thought it would be helpful if we shared all the 2021 school term dates with you so to assist with planning your schedules.
Below is a list of all the term dates for each state in Australia, listed in alphabetical order (along with the state/territory flags and some background information for a bit of fun and learning thrown in as well).

We hope that all of you have a very productive and happy new school year and please remember that Pro AV Solutions and the PAVE Academy are here to help you in any way we can. Please keep checking back to read our blog (new posts weekly), engage in our free webinar series or if you are a partner school and have purchased Education Technology through Pro AV Solutions, engage with our On-Demand Micro PD Courses or our free Professional Learning and Coaching sessions. And remember, if you are looking for any Education Technology solutions please do not hesitate to contact us and see if we can be of assistance.

ACT

  • T1: 1st February to 1st April
  • T2: 19th April to 25th June
  • T3: 12th July to 17th September
  • T4: 5th October to 17th December

 

Source here 

Designed by local artist Ivo Ostyn, the ACT Flag was adopted on the 25th of March in 1993 and feature the heraldic colours of the Commonwealth of Australia. The shield displays a triple-towered castle with a sword of justice crossed with the parliamentary mace just above. The rose beneath the castle reflects the 1927 opening of the old parliament building by the then Duke of York

NSW

  • T1 (Eastern Division): 27th January to 1st April
  • T1 Western Division): 3rd February to 9th April
  • T2: 19th April to 25th June
  • T3: 12th July to 17th September
  • T4: 5th October to 17th December

Source here 

The NSW badge, a golden lion (passant guardant) surrounded by 4 8-pointed stars on the St George Cross, was adopted on 18th February 1876 and is like the unofficial coat of arms that was displayed from 1821. It is suggested that the lion signifies the vice-regal authority of the governor

NT

  • T1: 1st February to 9th April
  • T1 (Remote Schools): 2nd February to 9th April
  • T2: 19th April to 25th June
  • T3: 20th July to 24th September
  • T4: 11th October to 16th December
  • T4 (Remote Schools): 11th October to 17th December

Source here 

The NT flag was adopted on the 1st of July 1978 when the NT was granted self-governing status. The flag features a stylised version of the Sturt Desert Rose and is said that the white petals around the black centre reflects the commonwealth star. The southern cross uses the Victorian configuration of the constellation to reflect the Victorian artist Robert Ingpen’s design.

QLD

  • T1: 27th January to 1st April

  • T2: 19th April to 25th June

  • T3: 12th July to 17 September

  • T4: 5th October to 10th December

Source here 

Selected by Governor William Cairns and adopted on the 29th of November 1876, the flag features a crown in the centre of a blue Maltese Cross with the crown changing to reflect the regent who is sitting on the throne. It is suggested that the design either reflects the vice-regal authority of the Governor or to represent Queen Victoria whom the colony had been named for

SA

  • T1: 27th January to 9th April
  • T2: 27th April to 2nd July
  • T3: 19th July to 24 September
  • T4: 11th October to 10th December

Source here 

South Australia was the only state that decided to obtain and adopt a new flag badge at the time of federation and officially adopted this flag on the 14th of January 1904. The white backed magpie in a heraldic pose has been attributed to the arms of Prussia, sitting on a yellow disc it is said to signify the golden rising sun of the federation

TAS

  • T1 (Schools): 3rd February to 31st March
  • T1 (Colleges): 3rd February to 1st April
  • T2: 21st April to 2nd July
  • T3 (Schools): 20th July to 24th September
  • T3 (Colleges): 19th July to 24th September
  • T4: 11th October to 16th December

Source here 

The Tasmanian flag displays a red lion (passant) which was originally designed as the symbol of the Governor and not as the symbol that represented the colony. However, after some alternatives were rejected due to the fact, they did not comply with the British Admiralty pattern for colonial flags, this flag was adopted on the 29th of November 1875

VIC

  • T1: 27th January to 1st April
  • T2: 19th April to 25th June
  • T3: 12th July to 17th September
  • T4: 4th October to 17th December

Source here 

Dating from 1877, the Victorian flag has undergone two changes over its lifespan, with the crown changing to reflect the regent who sits upon the throne. The stars in the Southern Cross uses different numbers of points to reflect their relative brightness in the night sky (8, 7, 7, 6 & 5).

WA

  • T1: 1st February to 1st April
  • T2: 19th April to 2nd July
  • T3: 19th July to 24th September
  • T4: 11th October to 16th December

Source here 

Originally the Swan River Settlement, the Western Australian flag features a black swan on a golden disc, designed to reflect the states origin. The oldest state flag in Australia was officially adopted on the 3rd of January 1870, and originally had the swan facing away from the union hack but was changed on the 10th of November 1953