Smart Technologies

Arrives in South Florida Classrooms

Up-to-the-minute education tech makes a splash at Divine Savior Academy in Doral.

By Michael Isenbek

With all the technological innovation in the computer industry that has happened since the mid-20th century, it isn’t a huge surprise that as we approach the year 2020, schoolkids can use super-powerful computers with vivid, immersive displays and incredibly fast processing speeds to learn. The notable part here is the innovative ways hardware and software is harnessed for the purposes of learning—enter SMART Technologies. 

Founded in 1987, SMART Technologies has masterminded some crucial elements to modern interactive displays, inventing the first interactive whiteboard in 1991, along with Digital Vision Touch (DViT) in 2003. The latter uses infrared light and cameras to sense touch on interactive displays and whiteboards.

In the present day, a South Florida institution of learning has embraced some of the latest iterations of SMART’s education tools, placing them at the forefront of modern computer-based learning. Divine Savior Academy in Doral, recently named the first SMART Exemplary School in Florida, has integrated SMART Technologies’ SMART Board 6065 interactive flat panel (IFP) units along with Notebook interactive software into all elementary classrooms, plus all math and science classrooms for middle and high school students.

It is the synergy between the IFP hardware and the Notebook software that makes the SMART system such a powerful learning tool. The IFP sports a 65” 4K ultra-high-definition LED display, making for sharp images and wide viewing angles, which means students in all corners of a classroom, can see what’s happening. The touchscreen capabilities are courtesy of the DViT system, and among the many undeniably cool touch features, is the trademarked Object Awareness (OA), bringing this experience to the next level. OA detects the size of the contact area on the screen, which changes the function—the display’s accompanying pens (styluses, really) create a small contact area, causing what the company calls “digital ink” to start flowing, and the student can now write on the screen. A finger has slightly larger surface area, changing the function to a mouse click. A palm has a wide contact area, enabling the digital ink to be erased with the swipe of a hand.

Both educator and student benefit from SMART Notebook software, which goes beyond the IFP classroom experience to personal computers and devices. Teachers have lesson creation tools on hand with subject-specific features—templates are even available, and customizable to fit into any grade or subject. SMART Learning Suite Online integrates game-based and collaborative activities into SMART Notebook, PDF and PowerPoint files, and lessons can be sent to student devices for completion of individual handouts or activities in shared workspaces. Assessing student performance is a breeze as well. The teacher can also become the student with available professional development-oriented courses and webinars.

And, of course, the IFP’s graphics, animations and sounds make the progression of the lesson a bold, vivid experience for students. Writing about the capabilities of the SMART system, Divine Savior Communications Coordinator Staci Landwehr declares, “Taking a virtual field trip to ancient Rome. Simulating the effects of earthquakes on the city landscape of Los Angeles. Analyzing global weather patterns in real time. The classroom has become a limitless space for learning possibilities…” 

Michael Babler, Divine Savior Director of Instructional Technology, raves, “Teachers are now able to create more engaging lessons and students love interacting with the features of the SMART panel.”

Already in the upper echelon of SMART-capable schools, Divine Savior’s educational capabilities can only improve as this technology continues to evolve. 

For more information about Divine Savior Academy visit DivineSaviorAcademy.com. To learn more about Smart Technologies, visit SMARTTech.com.

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