SMART wants you to pay for using Notebook on a non-SMART IWB (and they should…it’s in the contract)

There were a series of tweets frmom Fraser Speirs this morning regarding the use of SMART Notebook 11 on non-SMART interactive white boards:

Although each board has its own proprietary software, I have been told that SMART Notebook runs on the Promethean ActivBoard, and vice versa. Schools are actually given contracts that allow them to install SMART Notebook on all devices, but to only use SMART Notebook (or SMART IWB Drivers) with a SMART Board. Now, apparently, they are making it possible in the UK to purchase rights to display SMART Notebook on a non-SMART IWB.

Those £569 translate to almost $900. I have to disagree with Mr. Speirs in his statement that he could buy a projector, Kanex ATV Pro, Speakers, and an Apple TV with money left for apps. In the United States, classrooms are large and have windows, and a much more powerful projector (not to mention speakers) would be needed. But the point is made: the software/drivers of SMART are not worth $900.

I continue to be a evangelist for a non-IWB approach in schools, primarily secondary schools. I was a SMART Certified Trainer for Notebook 10, and chose to not be certified (although my district asked if I wanted to be) for Notebook 11. As I've mentioned in the past, the IWB manufacturers are losing money and sales to the iPad market, yet schools are still being required to buy IWBs by IT departments or upper administration. I know of two districts where this is the case–they would rather go iPad.

And it is a tremendous cost savings. A complete SMART setup, with all the bells and whistles, is over $10,000. That includes the board, projector, sound reinforcement, clickers, and slate. It does NOT include the computer that has to run it all. A bare board and projector is over $6000, with no installation included.

If you simply want to use an iPad, you might spend $2654

  • $699 iPad
  • $1500 Projector with HDMI
  • $200 Screen
  • $30 Stylus
  • $40 iPad Case
  • $100 Apple TV
  • $25 miscellaneous cables at
  • $60 Apps

Or substitute a 80″ LCD TV for the Projector & Screen for $4500, bringing the total to $5454

And you do not need a computer to run the system, as the computer IS the iPad.

As I mention in my e-book, a SMART Board or IWB can do some great things, but you generally need to turn your back to your audience to use it, you have to go to the board to use it (an issue in Music Education where there is a podium or piano where you teach from), and in general, only one student can use it at a time.

Somebody–if not SMART themselves–is going to figure out how to bring all of the flash-based lesson activities (dice, matching, spinning vortex) to the iPad and other tablets. SMART has an app coming any day now that will be $6.99. Schools should be able to buy it through the discount plan at $3.49. As schools go all-iPad and buy the SMART Notebook app to keep the millions they've spent on SMART Boards relevant, SMART is going to recuperate the capital they've spent on development and more.

My hope is that the iPad app will stand out as a presentation tool, as the market is still wide open in that category (you can claim that Explain Everything and ShowMe fit into this category, but I see them more as tools to make presentations into videos), as only Keynote is in the space, and Keynote doesn't handle music (audio) well, no does it allow for annotation.



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