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The SMART Way to Create the 21st-Century Classroom

It is a rare occurrence in K–12 education when a technology moves from being a useful classroom tool to an education platform upon which an entire teaching philosophy is built. But that is precisely what has happened over the course of the past two decades, as interactive whiteboards from SMART Technologies (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) have become the focal point of the technology-driven, 21st-century classroom. Technology companies like SMART that have created a fundamental shift in education all have one thing in common: They provide an overall solution that is greater than the sum of their product’s component parts.

SMART Technologies’ overarching philosophy to provide a complete solution is a key reason that the company has been able to effect a monumental change in K–12 education. At the core of this philosophy, according to David Lapides, director, education market development at SMART Technologies, is the company’s ability to design and develop products that enable teachers to successfully complete the same educational task in multiple ways. “Today,” says Lapides, “SMART offers a robust set of resources and a full ecosystem of support—bringing a new level of interactivity to everyday lessons—that enables teachers to reach every student in the classroom.”

The foundation upon which the SMART solution is built is the company’s full-featured interactive whiteboards. According to Lapides, SMART Board™ interactive whiteboards are the most trusted line of interactive whiteboards on the market today. Since 1991, the SMART Board interactive whiteboard has led the way in engaging students around the world. Combining a touch-sensitive display and digital projector that connects to a computer, the SMART Board interactive whiteboard has brought a whole new level of interactivity to the classroom. However, Lapides is quick to point out that the SMART solution is much more than interactive whiteboards. At the heart of the SMART solution is SMART Notebook, which, according to Lapides, is the most advanced collaborative software platform available for classrooms.

SMART Notebook collaborative learning software enriches classroom learning with more than 30 tools and educational resources. The SMART solution also includes an interactive assessment tool, called the Senteo™ interactive response system, which is designed to enhance learning. Further, the company’s comprehensive suite of software enables various models for technological options. For instance, SynchronEyes™ classroom management software provides teachers with a means to support one-to-many as well as one-to-one environments. Another important tool in the product suite is Bridgit™ conferencing software, SMART’s remote conferencing application that provides a quick, easy, and effective way to share voice, video, and data over the Internet.

Sophisticated software and hardware components like these are only the beginning of the SMART story. SMART understands that maximizing value in the classroom takes more than just advanced products. That’s why, according to Lapides, the company created the SMART Learning Marketplace, a world-class collection of more than a million learning resources that teachers can bring into their classrooms. This is in addition to scores of online resources available from SMART’s Web site (education.smarttech.com) at no cost. Plus, SMART offers education solutions to support every component of a successful implementation. These solutions include content and resources, professional development, community networking, and service and support.
“SMART has moved from delivering technology product solutions to delivering an overall, world-class education solution that provides the best user experience for teachers and learners. Our solution is the most intuitive, easy-to-use, best integrated, and most modular line of technology on the market,” says Lapides.

To further facilitate implementation of the 21st-century classroom, SMART has created an online community, called the SMART Exchange, which cons