Ask the Experts: Apps That Replicate SMART Boards


Q: I don't have a SMART Board at one of the schools I teach in. Are there apps that will allow me to do basically the same things?

A: Dance educators teach in so many different types of environments—we can't always count on there being a SMART Board in the room (or even just a plain old whiteboard). Still, if you can get a projector, you can get comparable functionality out of a few free apps and a tablet. I've used Explain Everything when I didn't have an interactive board. With this app, it's easy to create dynamic presentations with pictures and text. You can also insert a live web browser into your presentation and manipulate or annotate any of the web page's content.

ShowMe is another iPad app that's pretty much a whiteboard. You can use it in front of your students and also record what's happening to share later, making it a great flipped classroom tool. TES Teach with Blendspace isn't really a whiteboard, but the app lets you combine all of your digital materials into a presentation, so you don't have to keep clicking from window to window. You can easily drop YouTube videos, web pages, pictures and just about anything else you can think of into a slide. A nice feature is that you can share your presentation with your students. You can even embed interactive questions in the lesson, if you send it home with them.

I know it takes extra prep time to learn to use apps like this, but remember, once you've made a presentation or lesson plan, you'll have it anytime you need it in the future.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

I often teach ballet over Zoom in the evenings, shortly after sunset. Without the natural light coming from my living room window, I drag a table lamp next to my portable barre so that the computer's camera can see me clearly enough. I prop the laptop on a chair taken from the kitchen and then spend the next few hours running back and forth between the computer screen of Zoom tiles and my makeshift dance floor.

Much of this setup is the result of my attempts to recreate the most important aspects of an in-person dance studio: I have a barre, a floor and as much space as I can reasonably give myself within a small apartment. I do not, however, have a mirror, and neither do most of my students.

Keep reading... Show less
Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.