Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Notebook 11 Service Pack 1 Now Available!

Today is a very exciting day for me.  I received an email from Dave Milford from SMART Technologies.  He told me that Service Pack 1 for SMART Notebook 11 is now available to download from SMART's support page.  This is what I love about SMART- While attending the SMART Exemplary Educator Summit in Calgary this summer, we had the chance to visit with the creators of Notebook 11 to discuss quirks, bugs, and annoyances that we had with the update. One that I had is that when the switch over to NB 11 occurred, the links in many of my activities were removed.  This drove me banana-sandwich crazy!  In creating my activities, the thing that is most tedious is setting the links to send you back and forth to the proper place.  I am very pleased to say that with this update, all of my activities are up and running as they were intended!  I love that SMART took the time to listen to my problem, kept in contact with me through the process of getting it fixed, and then emailed me personally to let me know that the update was live and should fix my problem.  Way to go, SMART!  Download your upgrade NOW!!! Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SMART Activity Challenge!

To all of my terrific visitors that have come through Mr. Smart Trainer, I would like to thank you for giving my activities the opportunity to shine in your classrooms.  Unfortunately, as you may have noticed, it has been quite a while since I have posted any activities.  Well, I have been diagnosed with a horrible case of creativity loss.  I have not been able to come up with ideas for new activities in quite some time.  So, I have a challenge for you... or rather for me.
I challenge you to send me ideas for activities that will be challenging for me to create.  Either comment your ideas on the bottom of this post, shoot me an email, or hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.  I will do my best to do your idea justice and will post them here on Mr. Smart Trainer.  So, think of something you will be teaching in the near future, perhaps a holiday theme idea, anything that may give my creative juices a much needed jumpstart.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, October 1, 2012

One SMART Summer

This was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of summer- in like a lion, out like a lion.  First of all, my district started summer staff development off with a BANG!  We hosted an unconference “techpalooza” where we created the schedule for the conference as we went along.  My duties were to cover SMART and technology interactivity in the classroom.  We took a quick glance at Notebook 11, checked out some of my interactive games from Mr. Smart Trainer, and then found a few other interactive flash-type websites that I frequent.  This is a great model to follow to kick off summer staff development and a great way for teachers to get their “earned-off” days.  For the next two weeks, I hosted SMART professional development, covering just about everything I know about the SMART interactive whiteboard, from Basic and Intermediate Training to SMART Games.  The short vacation portion of my summer started in mid-June and ran through very early July when I started to prepare for the SMART Exemplary Educator Summit at SMART’s world headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
 I got to spend the most amazing week with 49 of the world’s most proficient and powerful users of SMART products as well as the amazing SMART staff (SMARTians).  We got to share how we use SMART, collaborate with others to learn new tips and tricks, and built an amazing personal learning network.  Most of these people I have talked to several times since the summit via Twitter, Facebook, or email.  We stayed at University of Calgary’s Hotel Alma, and got to see a lot of what Calgary has to offer.  SMART took us to murder mystery dinner theater and to the Wild West Events Center for line-dancing lessons as well!  Headed by our fearless SMART Exemplary Educator leader (you have to be fearless to head up a group of 50 strangers!), Deena Zenyk, did an amazing job coordinating the event to make sure that we were all in the right place at the right time.  Her support staff also did a terrific job to get us where we needed to go and fed us extremely well.  We had the opportunity to participate in a soft launch of Gold Star SEE, the SMART Exemplary Educator gaming platform, to track our SMART participation.  If you are a SEE and haven’t checked out Gold Star SEE yet, you better get in the game!
It was bittersweet leaving SMART’s headquarters, but 7 days away from my expecting wife and 8-year old little boy is tough.  I knew I was coming home a lot SMARTer than when I left.  I had lots of ammunition to finish out my SMART summer with two more weeks of SMART professional development for the staff of Kerrville Independent School District.  At the end of my last two weeks of workshops, the cherry on top was getting to train the faculty of pre-service teachers at Texas A&M at Corpus Christi on their brand new 800 series SMART interactive whiteboard. 
We are four weeks into our school year now and it amazes me how quickly time has flown by.  September 20th marked the one-year anniversary of my blog-writing attempt on Mr. Smart Trainer.  I ended the year with just under 21,000 visits.  This is quite an amazing feat for just starting out, but I will continue to create and share everything I find and make with the SMART community.  Make sure to stop by and see me at TCEA this spring in Austin, TX, and hopefully in San Antonio at ISTE, or stop by Mr. Smart Trainer and say hello.
Thanks for stopping by,
John Mein

Help End Cyberbullying

Several organizations are doing their part to increase the awareness of cyber bullying and cyber harassment.  SMART Technologies is one of those companies.  Where many people that put these presentations together charge a fee to view the content or to participate in a conference or webinar, SMART's solution on the SMART Learning Space is completely free.  This is a great presentation to do at the beginning of every school year with your students or in professional development.  Cyber bullying is wild and rampant and needs for responsible digital natives to put an end to it rather than participating in it.  For more information and to view SMART's presentation on Cyber bullying, visit the SMART Learning Space here.  Help put an end to Cyber bullying.
Thanks for stopping by,