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Tuesday 12 February 2013

Cheap IWB

Hi friends!  Hope your week has started well, I am starting to settle into my new school and I am really enjoying getting to know my kiddos.  They are a lovely bunch and have told me on more than one occasion this week that they like their class and their teacher (awwww!)  Well even though I am really liking my new classroom there is one item that I really miss from my last SmartBoard.  Yes my friends I am the only room in the school WITHOUT an IWB.  As I said I have been put into a room that was used as a room for small groups, release time for the teachers and all manner of other things that does not require an IWB.  So I have researched and googled and downloaded all very calmly (ummmm no ....... there was some swearing involved)  and I came up with using a wiimote,data projector and an Infrared pen to create an IWB.  That's right my friends a wiimote whiteboard.

Here is my daughter using Paint to start drawing with the IR pen

Here you can see she is drawing on our blinds in the dining room as a whiteboard, you can see my laptop on the table and the projector is next to it. (Oooh, there is my boy in the background, cutey!)

Personally I had no idea it could be done until I found out my daughters teacher had done it a couple of years ago.  I had a chat to him through the week and he even gave me 3 Infra Red LED pens to use with it.  Basically the premise is this; the wiimote has an infrared camera in the end of it and when you use an IR pen with it the wiimote reads the IR pen and the software supports it.  (There is more but I would sound like a real nerd)

First you sync your wiimote to your computer via Bluetooth and pair them up, (this took me a whole week to work out how to do)  then you connect your projector to your computer.  Make sure your wiimote is pointing unobstructed to where you want your screen to be projected.  The software I am using is call SmoothBoard (I am currently using the trial version) but there are other free versions out there although I had trouble with downloads and installation on the free versions.  When you have everything set up you open the software and calibrate using the IR pen, you can project onto any surface and voila an IWB!  You use the IR pen just like a SmartBoard pen although you have to hold down the button to turn on the light.  The software comes with a toolbar with similar options to SmartBoard such as screen capture.
Now don't get me wrong I would be super happy to get an IWB but that is justnot going to happen and for the cost of just under $50 US for the software and about $20 for the pens I am a happy lady!  Now all I have to do is convince the school to buy it for me :)

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