Thoughts from a reflective educator.
So someone sent me a link to the video below and I decided to act upon it. I thought I would link my resources I find for this project here, and keep you all up to date on how it is working.
The immediate attraction for this project was the idea of being able to create an interactive white board for what looks like close to $50. Our school currently has three Smartboards at the Upper school and three Smartboards at the lower school and three times that many classrooms at each building. This means that only 1 out 3 lessons is taught using a Smartboard at best, and teachers tend not to use the Smartboards. Part of the problem here is the Smartboard technology is not immediately obvious how to use, and part of it is because of training, but access to a Smartboard is a big problem for most teachers.
First I had to do some research into the controllers themselves which are necessary, which are basically a Nintendo WiiMote and a Bluetooth receiver on your laptop. According to Amazon the WiiMote costs about $35 and the Bluetooth receiver costs about $4. You might also want a cheap tripod to mount the Wiimote onto, that should cost another $15 or so and is useful but optional (my tripod cost me $9) since in the video below you can see Johnny mounts the Wiimote directly on top of the LCD projector. You also need an LED pen, which you can apparently build for about $5 or purchase online. Total cost so far is $44 or if you are lucky and find a cheap tripod (like I did), $53.
As for turning the Wiimote into an interactive white board, Johnny Lee (the inventor of this process) has instructions up on his website. He has also created a community forum where you can post questions, and if it is like most online communities I know, get answers to your questions.
Johnny Lee has also presented at TED, so you know there are some very smart people who love (and have tested) his idea. What I really love is the demonstration of the VR system he has designed using pretty much the same hardware with some different software.
Here's a good video showing a pressure sensitive pen, which will make writing much easier. The brand name of the pen casing is called Tide-to-go pressure tip pen. Yes, as in Tide the laundry detergent company.
David is a mathematics teacher and a learning specialist for technology at Stratford Hall in Vancouver, BC. He has been teaching since 2002, and has worked in Brooklyn, London, and Bangkok before moving back to Canada. He has his Masters degree in Educational Technology from UBC, and is the co-author of a mathematics textbook. He has been published in ISTE's Leading and Learning, Educational Technology Solutions, The Software Developers Journal, The Bangkok Post and Edutopia. He blogs with the Cooperative Catalyst, and is the Assessment group facilitator for Edutopia. He has also helped organize the first Edcamp in Canada, and TEDxKIDS@BC.