Saturday, June 7, 2008

wiimote, youmote, now what?

I have had a great time letting my inner geek come out to play this week. I learned about Johnny Lee's wii remote tricks several weeks ago, but with the end of school . . . This week, we wrapped it all up so I bought a wii remote, went on a shopping spree at Radio Shack and built the infrared pen that works with the wii remote and Johnny Lee's software to make an interactive whiteboard. It all worked! For far less than $100! Thank you Johnny Lee!

Clearly, I need to make more of these with students next year. I did invite a couple to try it out with me, but they were busy with their newfound love for karaoke--we'd just learned how to turn our computers into karaoke machines via Karafun. Fluency lessons, that's what we were doing, fluency! I highly recommend a fluency lesson via karaoke, especially at this time of year.

What I'm really struggling with though, is what to do with my new interactive whiteboard. After I played around a bit, I couldn't think of anything that I wanted to teach differently. I'm really fortunate to have a tablet and a projector while my students have laptops. Maybe that's why I'm struggling? I'm making another one right now for our art teacher who is really excited about having an interactive whiteboard, and I'm hoping she'll give me some ideas. Could it be the subject (I teach language arts)? Maybe there's something about the software that comes with the commercial whiteboards that makes educators find them so powerful? I need to visit in a classroom and see a teacher who is a power user. I'd love suggestions for resources.

I'd love to hear from others. When they were expensive, I could just dismiss interactive whiteboards as a cost that we just couldn't do, but at around $60, I need to investigate and find out if I should use this technology to help my students learn.