How to Adjust to Your Interactive Whiteboard: Animate Objects and Add Sound

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How to Adjust to Your Interactive Whiteboard: Animate Objects and Add Sound

There is nothing quite as fascinating to students as words and objects that appear and disappear on command. And if you’re looking for a giggle or a laugh, nothing does the trick like an unexpected sound effect when a student is at your board. Embedding sounds and setting up Object Animation is pretty straight-forward. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to add surprise elements quickly and create elaborate, interactive pages sure to capture your students’ attention.

Which software program is better, ActivStudio or SMART Notebook?

As with most competing products, there are advantages and disadvantages to both software programs. While we are going to focus on sound and animation in this post, I wanted to make a note of the strengths and weaknesses of each software program in this area. ActivStudio software (for the Promethean Board) allows the user a lot more flexibility but is less intuitive.  SMART Notebook (for the SmartBoard) is easier and faster to use, but lacks some of the “wow” factor that ActivStudio has the potential to deliver. Here’s what the two have in common and how they differ.

Common Functions

  • embed Sound
  • link to Page in Document
  • link to File or internet URL
  • object Animation (fade in/show, fade out/hide, grow, spin)


  • containers (which can accept or kick out assigned objects)
  • cross-object interaction (clicking on one object (the “button”) impacts a completely separate object)
  • function assigning (attach the “pen” function to a pen image, etc)
  • pre-loaded sound library

SMART Notebook

  • animate pen drawings
  • animate and add sounds to same object

With these differences in mind, I’m going to walk you through how to apply sound and animation to objects in both programs.

How to Animate Objects in ActivStudio

Objects in ActivStudio can be text, images, or pasted items. NOTE: You cannot animate pen drawings. For a quick cheat guide around this, see “How to Turn Pen Notations into Objects in ActivStudio.”

Step 1: Before you start animating, you are going to want to disable actions. Click the gray arrow in your side menu (NOT the floating tool bar!) to do this (same menu that you use to turn pages).

Step 2: Double click the object you want to act as the “button” and select “Properties” (the white square with a red check mark). Highlight “Actions” and select “Object.” You’ll see a drop-down menu – select “Show”.

Step 3: Now you have to pick the object you want to “Show.” Click “Set” (beneath the drop-down menu) and a list of objects you can animate will appear. Select the object you want to “Show.” (HINT: Do use the same object for the “button” and the “show” unless you layer something behind it.)

Step 4: Double click the object you are going to show and select “Properties.” Highlight “Appearance” and uncheck “Visible.”

Step 5: Enable actions by clicking the gray arrow in the side menu again.

Step 6: Test it out. Then try other tricks, such as Hide, Page, and Object Size.

Hint: To undo an animation, follow steps 1 and 2 and then select “Clear.”

How to Embed Sound in ActivStudio

NOTE: ActivStudio does not let you add sound AND animate the same object.

Step 1: Double click the object you want to attach sound to and select “Properties.”

Step 2: Highlight “Actions” and select “File.”  In the drop-down menu, choose “Play Sound.”

Step 3: Click “Set.” Your “Shared Sounds” file will automatically pop up. If you have another sound you want to use that you’ve downloaded, you can select it from here.

Step 4:  Click “OK.” Test out your sound. If it’s not working, make sure that you’ve enabled actions (the gray arrow on the side menu should not have a red line through it).

Hint: To clear a sound, follow steps 1 and 2 and then select “Clear.”

How to Animate Objects in SMART Notebook

Step 1: Make sure your cursor tool (the black arrow) is selected.  Click the object, text, or pen notations you want to animate.

Step 2: Click the Gray Box with the Black Arrow and select “Properties.” A new box will pop up. Select “Object Animation.”

Step 3: Choose your Type and specify Direction, Speed, Occurs, and/or Repeats if necessary.

Step 4: Test your animation. If it doesn’t seem to work right away, turn the page and then go back to the page you were working on. This seems to reset the animation.

How to Embed Sound in SMART Notebook

Step 1: Find a sound you want to use. Make a note of what file this sound is saved in. ( is a free and safe site. For step-by-step directions on how to download a sound from this site, go to How to Download Free Files using

Step 2: Click the object you want to add a sound to. Click the Black Arrow and select “Sound.”

Step 3: Using “Browse,” locate your sound. Make sure to select “Object” so the sound is activated when the object is touched.  Click “OK.”

Have a blast!


One thought on “How to Adjust to Your Interactive Whiteboard: Animate Objects and Add Sound

    IWB Classroom Management Solutions « classroom2point0 said:
    September 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    […] possible. You can always save student work for future reference. Looking for ideas? See Chart Page, Animation and Sound, Use Old Lesson Plans, and Understanding Layers. Or, ask other teachers for ideas, do some research […]

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