I made this post for a few of my colleagues involved in a 1:1 laptop project here in HWDSB and thought that it might be valuable to a larger group. So, here you go…
The Smart Sync software will enable you to better utilize the power of the 1:1 laptop project in a collaborative manner with your students. You will also be able to limit the distraction of the laptops (video games, music, YouTube, Facebook, etc.) and help keep the students on task by limiting or allowing internet connections as you see fit. Further, you can poll / quiz students for instant assessment and to gauge where they are at and where your instruction needs to go. The chat feature is quite dynamic and allows for the teacher to engage in conversation with a student privately, thus limiting the need to center out a student or draw public attention to an undesirable or off-task behaviour. Groups can be assigned for collaborative work between students and the broadcast feature will be very useful for celebrating student work or discussing exemplars for any particular task.
With your tablets (screen flipped around), you will be able to walk around the room with your computer as if it was a clipboard and monitor the screens of each student in thumbnail form. If you would like to focus on any given student, you could click the thumbnail and the “Observe” tab. This will let you observe what the student is doing and allow you to interact with them either collaboratively or by overtaking their computer and controlling it remotely.
To demonstrate a concept or lesson, you could broadcast your screen to the students, or broadcast another student’s screen; you can also play media (i.e. video or audio) from your computer and have it play on theirs. This way, they can watch at their own pace and ask questions via the Chat Feature or Question tab.
Another powerful feature is the ability to collect assignments and hand them back all within the software itself. This is a just a few of the many tools available to you and will truly enhance your ability to utilize the laptops as an additional learning tool and to engage the students through their use.
Here is a screencast I created for you documenting the setup of the teacher and student software. The installation is a two-part process – one software installation for the teacher and one software installation for the students. This should help you set it up with the students.
Here, too, is a link to “Navigating the User Interface” of Smart Sync – http://onlinehelp.smarttech.com/english/windows/help/sync/9_0_0/Index.htm
Setting up Smart Sync for Teachers and Students
Smart Sync Demo