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Introducing (again)…

‘The SmartER Board’

By Sporter Solutions Inc.

Now, last blog I examined some constraints and outlined this product a bit further.  Today, I’d like to fully explain to you my idea from head to toe, to recap and highlight why YOU need The SmartER Board in YOUR outdoor HPE lessons TODAY.

Let me begin by saying this is not your average whiteboard or smart board.  It’s a device featuring new technologies, increased functionality, and improves outdoor education in an instant.  Gone are the days of teaching off a smart board indoors, the company Sporter Solutions Incorporated would like to bring the indoors out to your Phys. Ed. class.  This product is the integration and expansion of classroom technologies such as video playback and the whiteboard for note taking.  It instantly connects your tablet or iPad to a portable and interactive screen which is 100% made for the outdoors.  This product is The SmartER Board- It’s smarter than your average smart board, but importantly, it’s environmentally reliable.

Let’s take a second to discuss what the product is essentially doing.  Consider the situation where you’re down on an oval or out on the courts and you’re trying to teach a sport which perhaps is not your strong point. With no students in the class who are familiar with the sport or the required skills either, you’re left with one option- to try and demonstrate that particular skill yourself, warts and all.  Now research would suggest there is in fact an issue with this in that students can learn incorrect movements from imprecise or inaccurate teacher demonstrations (Rink, as cited in Bailey, 2013). Thus we have a problem… Who would admit to having sports which they would feel uncomfortable demonstrating as the teacher? I know I do, for example a solo in Gaelic Football, and I’m sure I’m not alone. The SmartER Board aims to combat this situation by allowing for a teacher to utilise the portable nature of the screen which can show videos with sound. For example, allowing a teacher to play a video demonstration to the class instead which is more accurate and credible. Not only this but this product would allow for skill analysis, freehand writing and drawing, image and video viewing, and could do anything your tablet could, as its screen portrays an exact copy to that on your device (like the conventional smart board).

That’s only some of what can be done with The SmartER Board, but how is it doing this? Essentially it’s lightweight and portable. As mentioned previously, it’d be designed collaboratively with an engineering company who specialise in lightweight product creation. The sides feature retractable click in stands (like table legs- the horizontal portion will rotate to screw, tighten and lock in), fold up/ down handles are located at the top for portability, it is easy to view with a high contrast display (assisted by front folding in/ out visor), and should the technology become available, would be able to switch between a high contrast display and an electronic ink display like the Kindle for a more basic, power saving mode, conducive to freehand drawing.  Also, it’s able to play audio through built in speakers, is water-resistant for the unpredictable outdoors, and can connect wirelessly to the teacher tablet or iPad through either an auxiliary cord, or technology resembling Apple’s wireless AirPlay.  See below for a prototype drawing (click to enlarge).

new doc 44_1

When I took this idea to other pre-service teachers, there was a general consensus that this was indeed a valuable product.  One of the questions raised related to the power supply. Originally the unit was to be battery operated with a charging socket, however one recommendation was that it be solar powered.  This is a great option, particularly for the outdoors; thus the unit will have an inbuilt solar panel along its top surface, at the highest and flattest point to receive optimal sunlight. Another question regarded the screen visibility, however with the fold out visor, high contrast display and electronic ink display, I believe this will no longer be an issue. Finally, cost was raised.  This is a difficult area as this is a new product, requiring some yet-to-be-invented technology, so exact cost is unable to be predicted.  I don’t imagine the product to be cheap, however I’d place it’s cost at a few thousand dollars per unit, perhaps $5,000. Comparatively, this would match other products like TV’s which are similar in functionality and size. Personally, I believe the extensive benefit to students learning is well worth the investment (let me know whether you believe your school should invest this amount into one of these devices, if you had the opportunity?). All in all, the pre-service teachers all stated they thought it was a valuable device, particularly for skill demonstration, visual learners, as well addressing the integration of practical and theory lessons outdoors through technology.

Overall, The SmartER Board is aimed at improving outdoor learning experiences in Physical Education.  It’s been designed to combat the elements, be portable, yet maintain high functionality, overall bridging the divide between the indoor and outdoor classroom.  Let me know your thoughts on this product, whether good or bad. Would you like to see this product in your classroom? Or do you have any queries or concerns?

Don’t forget: The SmartER Board is smarter than your average smart board, AND environmentally reliable.  It could be in a PE lesson near you soon!


(Sporter Solutions Inc.)