[Oz-teachers] Boards, netbooks, dollars

Jones, Ben Benjamin.Jones21 at det.nsw.edu.au
Wed Feb 24 13:46:31 EST 2010


Chris
Totally agree, it's not a pedestrian solution. But is lots of fun and you'll learn a different perspective of technology and for many without $$$ there is additional motivation.

:)

Ben Jones
Professional Learning & Curriculum Support, Project Officer
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From: oz-teachers-bounces at rite.ed.qut.edu.au [mailto:oz-teachers-bounces at rite.ed.qut.edu.au] On Behalf Of Chris Betcher
Sent: Wednesday, 24 February 2010 12:01 PM
To: Professional community for teachers
Subject: Re: [Oz-teachers] Boards, netbooks, dollars

Yeah, look, not to diss on the Wiimote at all...  I consider Ben and I to be mates, and I have a lot of respect for what he and Boonjin have done with the whole Wiimote project.

I'm just saying that I've tried both systems and I think for the vast majority of educators who are teachers and not techies, the Wiimote solution is not yet a primetime solution as an IWB.  Don't get me wrong... it's really interesting, and an excellent project for the geeky minded, and a fabulous implementation of showing how something as simple as a game controller can be cheaply turned into a piece of useful classroom technology, but I still don't believe it's something that can be considered as a simple "set and forget" alternative to having a more conventional IWB in your classroom.

Even the simple fact that it requires a clear line of sight between Wiimote and Pen makes it finnicky to use.  The teacher or student has to adapt their behaviours to accomodate the technical limitations of the IR technology. Most teachers using an IWB are already juggling around trying to stay out of their own shadow, so having to content with yet another restriction on where you can stand and how you hold your hand is definitely something to consider.  Setting up the tracking can be tricky, and unless you're quite familiar with the Wiimote's field of vision, it's not always easy to get right.  The pens require a good fresh battery and they get quite unreliable as the power drops.  So there are things you need to consider before you see this as the right solution for your situation.

When I was writing the IWB book, I spoke to Ben quite a lot about the Wiimote and he gave me several live demos, and even gave me an IR pen to play with. I went out an bought myself a Wii Remote, set up a board/wall, and I played with it quite a lot, both at home and at school. So although I'm not an expert with it, I've certainly had a reasonable play with it.  My overall impression was that this was a technology that was interesting, had potential, and was a great solution for anyone wanting to try an interactive board without having to spend a lot of money but I also found it's limitations quite frustrating, especially after having used some of the commercial IWB solutions.

If you're inclined, I suggest you try it.  It really is quite cool.  If you're a classroom teacher without an IWB and you want to try one, and you don't mind letting your inner geek out, you should give it a shot. I just don't know that I'd be recommending it as a solution for anyone wanting to implement a whole-school IWB program.  I'm not sure even Ben would be supporting that idea.

Chris
On 24 February 2010 11:13, Jones, Ben <Benjamin.Jones21 at det.nsw.edu.au<mailto:Benjamin.Jones21 at det.nsw.edu.au>> wrote:
Johhny's app was simply a demo based on other original hacks, the application has been fully developed to include a range of function including more stable connection.

The full Wiimote IWB discussion is at http://www.wiimoteproject.com, there you get downloads of all apps and tools, full support and a market place where quality IR-Pen sellers exist. There are many shonky sellers out there.

I have written a detailed step by step manual at http://www.boonjin.com/smoothboard

As an administrator of the WiimoteProject and heavily involved in the early hacks and developments that made this all possible including developing the Smoothboard Application with Boonjin I can assure you it's a great solution.

:)

Ben Jones
Professional Learning & Curriculum Support, Project Officer
[cid:image001.png at 01CAB560.27358FF0]
Mob: 0414 744 592
benjamin.jones21 at det.nsw.edu.au<mailto:benjamin.jones21 at det.nsw.edu.au>
DER-NSW Professional Learning & Curriculum Support Resources<http://www.tale.edu.au/tale/live/global/DERNSW/laptops.jsp>
DER-NSW Intranet<http://portal.det.nsw.edu.au/switcher/go?workflow=internet&address=https://detwww.det.nsw.edu.au/deptresources/majorprojects/dernsw/index.htm> (NSW DET employees only)
DER-NSW Internet<http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/highschool/dernsw/index.php>
DER-NSW Delicious Links<http://www.delicious.com/dernsw>
NSW Department of Education & Training

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