One of the more interesting, and on-going, inquiries around technology and learning is related to a device–a low-cost, multi-touch, interactive whiteboard using a Wiimote. As most people know, an interactive whiteboard is a large interactive screen on which a projector can mirror a computer’s display. Users can then control the computer using a special pen, finger, or other device. They’re used in a variety of settings including classrooms at all levels, work groups, broadcasting, etc., but cost thousands of dollars. A Wiimote is the remote controller from the Nintendo Wii computer game, which costs just a few hundred.
Johnny Chung Lee, a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, has a variety of interesting projects involving human-computer interaction. He discovered a way to build an interactive whiteboard using a Wiimote. His version is portable and can be built for a tiny fraction of the cost of a commercial whiteboard. He’s recently come out with the Wiimote Whiteboard v0.2.
Lee’s inquiry continues with his writing and reflections in his blog, procrastineering. There he writes:
One of the great, unexpected, and perhaps most influential aspects of creating these videos has been how many people they have inspired and sparked an innovative spirit in. I’ve gotten hundreds of emails from young students that express this enthusiasm. But, perhaps one of the best testimonials is this news article about kids in the Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School’s Lego Club in Williamsburg, VA. The students there, led by Kofi Merritt, are getting excited about innovating in technology by creating their own electronic white boards.
Merritt worked with four fifth-graders and a parent volunteer to build the whiteboard. It’s a great example of making the tools for one’s own inquiry.