1. First, don't use Internet Explorer as your sole search engine. Download FireFox and install it so that you can download more files. I am not sure of the specific reason for the error I get with IE and some notebook files, but I know they don't work together well....so FireFox is my browser of choice. IE 8 has especially given me problems with this process. IE 8 has a entire new set of issues that perturb me and I find myself using it LESS AND LESS.
2. Search using the http://smarttech.com/notebookfiles/ search engine. This engine has been around for some time but I only recently discovered it and shared it at our Tech Fair. This search engine is just like using the Google advanced search so many have used to find only PowerPoints or other file types- works the same way. It only returns notebook files to you and gets rid of all that other junk!
3. Don't open the file directly from the internet. This can cause several problems in our network in Oconee...others or if you are home, maybe not. More often though I save it to desktop first, then open it and see if I like it. If I do, I move it to my H drive or My Docs. If not, I trash it.
4. If you download a file with the word "senteo" in it, please be aware that these are assessment files that incorporate the use of SMART voting devices, called Senteo, and most of the schools in OCSS do not use this system. If your school does have them, feel free to use them at will. If you find a file that you really like with Senteo questions you can still use it but you will have to use it without clickers and modify the file to make it fit your instruction and students- but that is true for everything you do online.
5. Now, for my tried and true sites where I visit often:
Kenton Schools, Kentucky
Wichita ISD, Kansas
Teachers Love Smartboards
Center School District, MO
Elementary on SMART TECH
Teaching with SMARTboard.com
Plattsburgh Schools, NY
Lee's Summit Listings