SmartBoards for Poor Schools, Too
I’ve mentioned TED here before, but not ever like this. Not-inventor Johnny Lee explains his innovation better than I could, but in case you don’t have YouTube where you’re accessing your Internet — where could that be? — here’s the gist:
As of September 2007, Nintendo has sold over 13 million Wii game consoles. This significantly exceeds the number of Tablet PCs in use today according to even the most generous estimates of Tablet PC sales. This makes the Wii controller one of the most common computer input devices in the world. It also happens to be one of the most sophisticated. …
Since the Wiimote can track sources of infrared light, you can track pens that have an infrared LED in the tip. By pointing a Wiimote at a projection screen or LCD display, you can create very low-cost interactive whiteboards or tablet displays. Since the Wiimote can track up to 4 points, up to 4 pens can be used. It also works great with rear-projected displays.
You can make off-brand SmartBoards with 80 percent of the name-brand functionality with 1 percent of the name-brand cost, Lee said. He estimates his system costs between $40 and $50, depending on the project. Less than a decent textbook.
In the end, all that matters to us: Will this technology add anything to the classroom?
Let’s use an example. Does CNN’s infra-tracker-screenie-thingie add anything to their broadcasts? The New York Times article that describes it uses the headline: “CNN’s Election Night Interpreter Revels in a High-Tech Toy.” Operative word: toy.
Now the debate becomes: Why the hell would you want a SmartBoard in a classroom? What ways could you use a SmartBoard in ways that don’t make it an expensive distraction?
Answer me this and I’ll make myself Lee’s SmartBoard knockoff. But not before.
Thanks to a commenter here for the link.