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Office of Information Technology (OIT)

UT Arlington
OIT: Office of Information Technology

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Teaching at UT Arlington with SMART Sympodiums

By James Stewart, Manager Computing Services

Smart Sympodium OIT-managed computer classrooms have just gotten smarter! The addition of the SMART Sympodium console and software at all instructor podiums now gives you the ability to write with a digital pen (called a stylus) directly over your computer presentations, much like using a grease pen on an overhead projector.

The SMART Sympodium interactive display is a pen-equipped computer monitor that replaces both the computer and the traditional monitor, and allows you to write in digital ink over applications, write electronic notes on the computer screen, and control your computer while facing your class. You simply touch the screen to control software applications, write notes, or annotate directly over the computer image. The computer image is simultaneously displayed on our classroom´s large screen computer projection system, allowing your students to easily follow along.

The required SMART Board software activates the screen so that you can write over the top of applications and edit your notes. The software comes with a wide range of presentation tools for controlling the way in which information is highlighted, revealed, and displayed on the screen It can also turn your computer screen into a fully functioning whiteboard! You can still work with the software you´re used to - such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel, or even your Web browser (anything you can display on your computer monitor will be projected onto the SMART Sympodium) - and save all your notes afterward. You can save all your work directly to a file, or export as a web-page, e-mail it to your class, print, etc.

Among many other things, it allows you to:

  • Annotate over the slides of a PowerPoint presentation during class with the pen, highlighting important information or making ad hoc drawings to illustrate a concept.
  • Create a virtual whiteboard (in effect, unlimited chalkboard space). It is easy to move back and forth between whiteboard pages and nothing needs to be erased to make room for a new page.
  • Insert backgrounds and illustrations (including Flash programs) into your presentation from discipline-specific galleries of objects.
  • Display and save classroom annotations in popular formats such as Adobe Acrobat (PDF), and post them to your class Web site for later review by your students.
  • Prepare illustrations and notes in advance and then modify or supplement them in the classroom.**
  • Capture whatever is displayed on the computer screen, make annotations on it using the pen, and save it as a graphic image.

** The University now has a site license that allows all faculty, students, and staff to run the SMART software, particularly the SMART Notebook. The software can be installed on your desktop or laptop computer so you can learn the software, prepare classroom presentation components in advance, or edit previously saved notebooks.

Smart Sympodium Screen

The SMART Sympodiums are available in the following OIT computer classrooms:

Architecture 319 & 324
Central Library (GIS) 510
Business 340
Engineering Laboratory Bldg............... 212

Fine Arts 404, 411, 411a, 412
Nedderman 231
Ransom Hall (all)
University Hall 004