Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
December 17, 2009 Interactive Whiteboards on a Budget By Eric Antuna
Grades 1–2

    If your school is like mine your teacher budgets have been slashed, general funds are dwindling, and classrooms are brimming with students near capacity. The thought of a interactive whiteboard just makes you shudder when you think of the cost. However, here's a simple, cost effective solution for a classroom whiteboard that helps me reach more students and actively engage them in learning.

    If your school is like mine your teacher budgets have been slashed, general funds are dwindling, and classrooms are brimming with students near capacity. The thought of a interactive whiteboard just makes you shudder when you think of the cost. However, here's a simple, cost effective solution for a classroom whiteboard that helps me reach more students and actively engage them in learning.

    I have been interested in using an interactive whiteboard in my classroom, but always shied away from asking for one because of the exorbitant cost for one piece of equipment. I heard about the Wiimote Whiteboard sometime last year and then was reminded by Megan Power's post here.

     

     

    I began to research a few things about the Wiimote Whiteboard application, first created by Johnny Lee. In addition to a Wiimote, I learned that I needed an infrared pen. I began to scour the internet for infrared pens (after few failed attempts at trying to create a homemade one!) and found a VERY inexpensive one at http://penteractive.us/ that cost only $8!  So, I set out to create an interactive board system in my classroom and have found it to be amazingly effective and low cost!  

    Photo 5

    Here are the basic things that you would need to get started:

    1. Download the Mac version or the PC version of Wiimote Whiteboard

    2. A desktop computer or laptop with Bluetooth capabilities (if yours doesn't have Bluetooth, you can purchase one for $8 here)

    3. A Wiimote (GameStop sells a red one for $29.99 I use this one in my classroom)

    4. An infrared pen (Penteractive sells one for $8)

    5. A digital projector (You can find digital projectors for as low as $200)

    I purchased the following extras to make the whiteboard easier to use in my classroom:

    6. Wiimote ceiling bracket ($24 from Penteractive).

    7. USB powered battery charger for the Wiimote ($12 from Penteractive).

    8. Wiimote Versiclamp ($10 from Penteractive).

    With these extra components, the Wiimote is out of the reach of being moved by accident through teacher or student movement (you'll get countless questions about whether you have a Wii or not), and the batteries in the remote will never need to be charged.

     

    Photo 4
     

     

    After downloading the program, be sure that your Bluetooth is enabled, launch the program and follow the on screen directions. You will need to start the Wiimote by pressing buttons 1 and 2. Note that you will NOT need the actual Wii to run this program. After you connect the Wiimote to the computer via Bluetooth (it may take a few times to get it to connect to your computer, but don't give up!), you'll need to put it in a place where it can "see" the whiteboard. Mine is just to the right of the board, hanging from the ceiling using the ceiling bracket. After that, you'll need to calibrate the program using your infrared pen (note: you cannot see infrared light, to test if your pen is working, shine your pen light into a digital camera and click to see if the light turns on and off).  After that, you'll have a great, low cost interactive whiteboard to help you engage your students!

     

     

    You can download eBeam's software for free from http://www.luidia.com/downloads.html and use it as you would a normal interactive whiteboard - it works fabulous!

     

     

    Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, please post them here as others may have similar ideas to share.

     

     

    Happy Holidays!

     

     

     

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

My Scholastic

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2