Any windows application works well, as works just like a mouse. Onenote: a Microsoft Office application, I use this program as my 'base' whiteboard I love the options and multiple whiteboards. I have set one file per unit then just add new pages every lesson. Onenote allows me to easily integrate online content and multimedia. AnnotatePro: Another favourite program that allows you to draw on any application or highlight any application, I use this a lot with PowerPoint presentations and students interacting with PowerPoint slides. The application also allows you to save a screen shot. ritePen: An Optical Character Recognition (OCR) application it converts writing to text.
There are several online whiteboard and open source interactive whiteboard options available. See my delicious wiimote links for more: http://delicious.com/benpaddlejones/Wiimote
This does not meet the advanced functionality of Smartboards or similar IWB's what the does is allow teachers to develop their pedagogy before they have the $3000+ version installed. In schools with only a few IWB's it allows learning objects to be used in non IWB classrooms with more functionality than just a laptop and projector.
I put one together this summer. The only tricky part is finding a good placement for the wiimote. Far back gives you a bigger working area, but you lose sensitivity of the mouse cursor and vice versa. Then you have to find a way to position out of the way of students. I picked up a $10 travel tripod that I have suspended from my classroom ceiling. It is up out of easy reach of students, except for maybe the basketball team. But, I'm still not happy with my results. You can run it with 2 remotes to give you a bigger working area (each remote is then covering part of your work space) or have both covering the same space to give you greater sensitivity. I may have to try that.
If you want to make life easier in terms of software - just get KindleLab. KindleLab is an open source alternative that is free. It's similar to SMART's Notepad and Promethean's Active Studio.
I've used it in class and it is mildly entertaining, but I still don't think interactive whiteboards really enhance education. When it comes down to it, only one kid is up at the board "manipulating" things while everyone else just waits for their turn, mostly oblivious to what the student at the board is actually doing. Interaction means collaboration with others and manipulation can be done with a lot of things besides an iboard.
The wiimote board is a great option to have the functionality without wasting the money on all the other stuff. The difference between the wiimote and the alternatives is that no one is paid to hawk the wiimotes. Unfortunately, the reps from the companies don't show administrators that you can do all the things they show you without their product. Hopefully, administrators can open their eyes to this soon.
I totally agree!
I think their needs to be some serious discourse around this concept of "Have technology, will learn!".
Technology without pedagogy is just expensively resourced busywork. We have several videos (Welsh, Prensky, et al) being presented ad nauseam at professional development, the message of technology is done. What needs to be chunked down, deconstructed and discussed is the pedagogy that underpins the technology that enhances teaching and learning above BT (before technology).
I think we really need to evaluate and question the role of $5000 IWB's in the context of 'Bang for the buck' (as I feel it is seriously limited). Hence the advantage of $55 equivalent, leaving $4945 to spend on resources that deliver a serious educational return on investment.
I'm glad that I'm not alone in feeling that way. You make some great points about the pedagogy surrounding technology. All too often, I've seen situations where large sums of money are spent with little thought or investigation into outcomes or less expensive alternatives. As you point out, those large sums can be spent a lot better.
I love technology and finding good uses for it in the classroom, but people can make an even bigger difference. Instead of buying 3-4 IWBs, why not hire a part time reading specialist to help struggling readers. If the money is earmarked for technology, why not buy a cart of rolling laptops that each student in a class could use instead of just one student going to an IWB to "interact" with it. Why not have 15-25 students interacting with the teacher, and each other, at the same time? (Google Docs, Wikis, etc.)
Great points Mike and Ben. I couldn't agree more about the use of the resources available. I love the idea and the interaction of IWB's but without sound strategies it's just another expensive toy in an area where money is already too tight.
Thanks for sharing, I'll probably give the $55 IWB a shot and hopefully begin a discussion in my school about how and why we are using these resources.
IWB's are only toys where they are being used as an expensive projector screen. Perhaps you should ask the kids what they think. In most cases the answer is they improve their experience significantly.
The answer to avoiding the Toy issue is professional development and a whole school approach. This is a new technology - it needs gestation and reflection.
Many of you seem to have forgotten that the Wiiremote is not the only cost here. Why, they only replace the board (and even then you need a decent whiteboard anyway? Clearly the majority of the cost of an interactive classroom is: Projector installation (pretty expensive if done correctly); ongoing supply of projectors and globes; the cost of the computer and associated software. The boards themselves are only a 3rd of the cost in a decent installation.
As for not enhancing learning. This is very naive as a significant part of the experience in indeed significance, the improvement in structure caused by teachers collaborative creation of interactive lessons as well as the ability of reuse and re-purpose.
I agree that learning is done through collaboration and doing, but the environment to facilitate that is also critical. As such, the interactive experience triggers substantive communication and focuses the learner through a more significant environment.
For me the 'simply works' factor of a proper SmartBoard like setup with a decent low throw projectors makes this so much better. The Wiiremote approach is 80% of the way there and it is worth doing, but it is not a final solution and we should not compromise of the setup as the simplicity of use is what will bring the low tech teachers to the party. Remember this is in primary schools by necessity a blackboard replacement as well.
The Mac version is at: http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/29358
Seems to work very well although placement of the remote is still a bit tricky. A Tripod seems to be the best solution. Experiment with placement (angle from board and distance) until you find a position that works. If all else fails, Wii games are fun!