Issue 22, Autumn 2010
The McMillan Magazine Online




Welcome to Digitips, our new section where we invite teachers to share their ideas and discoveries relating to anything digital: digital books, interactive whiteboards, Web tools, PowerPoints... anything you feel could help other teachers.


Digitips aims to provide a shared resource where you can contribute tips of anything from one line to two paragraphs about any aspect of using technology in the classroom that you have come across and feel you would like to share to help colleagues around the country. If you discover a particularly useful keyboard function, however simple, please write to us about it! Or let us know if you have a favourite IWB tool or Web tool and tell us about an  activity you use it with. Or maybe you've discovered an activity that works particularly well with your digital book... whatever it is, please share it with us!

Please write to us with any questions you have relating to any area of digital technology and we will attempt to answer them, or find someone who can! 

Also, don't forget to check out our new A - Z of digital terms!

Here is our selection of digitips so far (most recent first):     


You can crop lengthy URLs by going to
You simply type in the original URL and it will automatically be condensed to a new URL which will never expire.

(Macmillan Teacher Training)


Create authentic-looking newspaper clippings with the headline and text of your choice at The Newspaper Clipping Generator. A great visual resource for project work.

(Berta Batova, Bilbao)


If you don't want to give away a headline on a new page in your digital book, use the spotlight or screen curtain tool to find the thumnail picture at the bottom, then click on it and the page will open without revealing its contents.

(Macmillan Teacher Training) 


Sometimes when I connect my laptop to the IWB, even though I'm able to interact with the presentation, the board somehow doesn't recognise the hardware. This means I can't callibrate the board and the floating toolbar doesn't appear. There's no icon on the lower toolbar and the callibration option that appears in the 'Welcome to Smart Notebook' window (which opens automatically with Smart Notebook) is greyed out.


I've found two solutions: to activate the callibration, go to Configuración > Panel de Control > Smart Board > Tareas > Asistente de conexión. Follow the steps and the callibration option will appear. To get the floating toolbar, when you open the document and the welcome box appears automatically, go to Herramientas > Herramientas flotantes.

(Nacho Nicolau, Valencia)


When you're on the Internet or using a digital book, maximise the screen area by pressing F11. Any toolbars at the top or bottom will disappear. In order to make the toolbars reappear, press F11 again.

(Macmillan Teacher Training)



With small classes, at the beginning of term, get each of your students to write their name on the IWB and take a snapshot of each one standing next to their name. This is a good 'ice-breaker' to get them used to the board, and the pictures can be stored in the board's gallery and used as a register at the beginning of the class. I also use them to organise group work and as counters in any interactive games we may play using the board.

(Graham Stanley, The British Council, Barcelona)



The magic pen on Smartboard has 3 functions - 1) disappearing ink, 2) draw a circle and a spotlight appears, 3) draw a square and it zooms.

(Macmillan Teacher Training)



Make use of your IWB's colour-coding possibilities and also the fact that each element you create can be brought forward or hidden behind any other (just like in Word). Click here for a video tutorial suggesting some ideas on how to exploit this.

(José Picardo, Nottingham High School and creator of



If you have Smart Notebook installed, sometimes you may find that your floating toolbar (the permanent bar which appears on the right-hand side of your screen) disappears. One way to bring it back we've found that works (if your computer is connected to the board)  is by simply picking up one of the pens!  

(Macmillan Teacher Training)


All contributions published receive a small gift. So please send us your tips and ideas for our autumn issue to d.holmes(at) at any time before the end of September.




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