Author Topic: School Experiences  (Read 18255 times)

Offline tiktok0

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on: March 07, 2008, 07:36:45 PM
Thought I would post some of the things I have learned.  I am a computer science teacher in high school and have been working with another math teacher, a former engineer, to get the wiimote project usable in the school setting.  I currently have a smartboard as well and my goal is to make the wiimote as close in use as the smartboard for ease.

Here are some things we have learned.

1)  The IR light is important.  The first few weeks of the project was spent with a radio shack light that the wiimote had a real hard time tracking.  The Vishnay lights work well.

2)  It is impractical in a school-like setting, as well as probably anywhere that wants to use this permanently, to use batteries for the wiimote over time.  We have attached a power cord to the wiimote.  The wiimote now draws power while plugged in but will continue to work if unplugged (batteries are still there and will recharge when plugged in).

3)  While the wiimote was impractical being wireless, the light pen itself is impractical being wired.  We are currently using old dry-erase markers for the pens with a AA inside.  Some of the images of rigged pens have things on the outside, which will never work.  Everything needs to be internal with easy battery replacement, although the batteries will last quite a while.

4)  The current version of the pen uses an industrial strength click switch which takes a bit of getting used to as you learn to click and release as you move the pen around.  Before taking this to the next level, we need a new  switch system.  Our current work involves coming up with the right tip-switch idea.  At the very least, if a click switch is used (as it is easiest to make) get one that is silent.  The clicking noise bothers me to no end.

5)  As the pen should be usable on any surface, we want to make sure it is seamless at the tip and durable.  The current solution involves using the same caps that the dry erase markers come with, with the outer edge cut away to give a form fitting plastic tip.  If you use red or green caps, the IR light bleeds straight through with no trouble and the IR pen works the same.  Black and blue caps block the IR light entirely.  Capping the tip ensures you are not putting excess pressure on the light.

6)  After trying several different programs, the closest I have found to the Smartboard's software is a program called Jarnal.  Jarnal allows quick access to different pen sizes and colours, easy erasing, and the ability to easily add and manuever between slides.  The interface is all readily available and easy to pick up.  The software has built in line-paper, graph paper, and blank backgrounds which all come in handy especially in math classes.  Also has the ability to export directly to PDF, which I then post my in class notes online.  Limitations include the slide previews not autoupdating as you write, using the line tool will only write one line at a time then defaults back to the pen you were writing with, and no built in circle/rectangle drawing tools.  The program is in java, so I think my next step will be to modify it myself when I get some time.

7)  The wiimote has a limit on distance for accuracy.  Putting the wiimote off the sides is proving to be a difficult prospect for multiple reasons - a) you block the wiimote if you move to that side (and teachers are always going all over), b) one side is more accurate than the other with the angles.  Straight on position seems to be the best, as in having the wiimote and the projector lined up directly.  Once you are used to writing with a projector with a smartboard, you learn how not to ever block the projector image as you write.  If you are not blocking the projector image, you are not blocking the wiimote.  This being said, a large projected image needs the projector farther back, 9' range.  The wiimote is awful at this distance as it makes everything squiggly.  The wiimote should be placed closer, approximately 6-7' or closer if you can.

8)  If you buy $3.00 worth of parts from Mouser, they will send you a giant 2000+ page catalog for free...which probably costs them $5.00 in paper/shipping.  Quite funny.

9)  A metal light pen casing is probably best, or a strong plastic, as our newest small problem has been found - students accidentally drop the pens.  A dry erase marker can be dropped or thrown with no problem normally.  Triple it's normal weight and that plastic becomes quite brittle and splits when dropped.

10) Showing this off with a game like Crayon Physics gets people's attention.  Have some fun.



Offline Iceman1979

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Reply #1 on: March 08, 2008, 01:54:08 PM
Here is the pen I came up with that might work well for what you are wanting. The 17 degree led works great without any side caps ( I havn't tried it with so it might just improve it).

http://www.wiimoteproject.com/ir-pens/my-ir-pen-finally-complete-t537.0.html

The battery is easly changed out. My next model will allow for easy led changing and a rubber o-ring to help give the led some support.

Thanks for posting your findings. If I can't find a drawing program that meets my needs I will just write one for windows using .net.

Thanks
John



Offline tj60647

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Reply #2 on: April 24, 2008, 01:26:05 PM
2)  It is impractical in a school-like setting, as well as probably anywhere that wants to use this permanently, to use batteries for the wiimote over time.  We have attached a power cord to the wiimote.  The wiimote now draws power while plugged in but will continue to work if unplugged (batteries are still there and will recharge when plugged in).

Any recommendations/details on "attaching a power cord" to the wiimote?  Thanks!



Offline richwhite

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Reply #3 on: April 24, 2008, 02:25:52 PM
I am aware of a few people using this (or something very similar) -- http://www.amazon.com/Power-Adapter-Battery-Eliminator-Camcorder/dp/B000XQTH28



I use batteris myself though

Rich
The Edusim Project

http://edusim3d.com


Offline RiXtEr

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Reply #4 on: April 24, 2008, 11:41:50 PM
You could always use this for power
http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=BLUELIGHT-CHARGE-WII&cat=GAM 
solder the leads off the battery and connect it to the charger (it runs off of usb).

As for the LED I bought a little over 100 (I think 107) for under 30 bux from digikey (QED123) they will take up to 1.7 V and 200 mA. I drilled a hole down the center of it until I was about 1/16" from the diode itself and tracking improved greatly. It shoots out the sides more now instead of just the tip.

As for a classroom environment I wish there was a way to use 2 wiimotes in windows (I still don't understand C# enough to get the warper.cs running for the second wiimote) for better tracking. I see potential for having more than one led being tracked, multiple kids drawing, board races, etc. I am a tech coordinator at a small public school ~400 students K-12, budget is always tight and smartboards are expensive.

I am still not giving up on the idea of making a LED array that shoots light across the board and when your finger breaks the light it reflects back to the wiimote, it would have more of a smartboard feel if I can get it working. Anyway great post, keep up the good information.



Offline UndCon

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Reply #5 on: April 25, 2008, 12:22:51 AM



Offline tiktok0

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Reply #6 on: April 26, 2008, 11:13:52 PM
We took a 3v battery charger, from an old cell phone I believe, cut the leads and soldered it directly to the battery contacts on the wiimote.  Then we shoved the batteries in, it was a tight fit when the batteries were in but no problem.

Was a problem when the wiimote fell and stopped working altogether - possibly from the contacts having too much pressure and becoming loose in the fall.



Offline jmitchell

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Reply #7 on: April 28, 2008, 09:29:22 AM
I have yet to fully implement the wiimote whiteboard in my classroom but have spent a great deal of time experimenting and agree with much of what tiktok0 says. The only exception might be the best program to use. I realize jarnal is free but for just 19.95 you can own Annotate!Pro (http://www.annotatepro.com/). It can write on top of any program running on the desktop.

My hope for next school year is to have 2 wiimote whiteboards set up for instructional use and a learning center (6th grade math). We'll see.

Wiimote Whiteboard Expert and seller - http://penteractive.us


Offline richwhite

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Reply #8 on: April 28, 2008, 10:32:59 AM
These are free too you might want to give a shot on your Interactive Whiteboard:

http://Kindlelab.com
&
http://Edusim3d.com



-

Rich
The Edusim Project

http://edusim3d.com


Offline KDReeves

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Reply #9 on: May 13, 2008, 08:55:26 PM
Working back-to-front, I do like Jarnal for this application. I've spoken directly with SmartTech regarding use of the Smart Notebook software and their legal people are going to get back to me; however I was given a green light to keep working in the interim.

I'm also in a high school setting, and am happy to tack on a few things.

I am looking forward to a Vishnay-equipped pen, but I'm having pretty decent luck with the Radio Shack LED for now.

I did purchase the BlueLight recharge docking stations and have been using it with great success. I like this solution because I can mount the Wiimote on a microphone stand without cables, as well as set it on the projector or place it on a table surface nearby if there's one available. The flexibility of being untethered is appealing to me. Security of the Wiimote at the high school level, however, is something to seriously consider!

I use a nearly flush-mounted plunger-style no-click switch and adore the thing. It's really comfortable and totally silent. I can imagine the click would be quite irritating. A spring-loaded tip switch is a nice idea, but I worry about damaging the IR emitter. I'm working on a similar project in the interim.

Sounds like we're having similarly good experiences thus far.

Keith David Reeves, B.Mus., M.Ed.
Instructional Technologist
Battlefield High School
Haymarket, Virginia


Offline tiktok0

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Reply #10 on: August 29, 2008, 07:16:11 PM
Question to All:

My school has no budget for new projectors even though the interest in the Wiimote been building immensely (and yet for some reason they bought another five SmartBoards).  To further show off this project and incorporate it into more rooms, I would like to find a better software than Jarnal.  Jarnal has been decent, but not perfect.  The SmartBoard Notebook software is better.

So, question:  Is it legal to use the SmartBoard Notebook software with the Wiiboard?  Our school legally owns several SmartBoards and the software specifically states it is legal to install the Notebook software on all school comps provided we do not use it with a "competitor's product".

Does the Wiiboard count as a competitor?



Offline benpaddlejones

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Reply #11 on: August 29, 2008, 08:12:06 PM
tiktok0
I would like to find a better software than Jarnal.  Jarnal has been decent, but not perfect.  The SmartBoard Notebook software is better.
Microsoft Office Onenote is way better than Jarnal. Multiple drawing tools, various grid sizes & ability to integrate Microsoft objects, websites and multimedia. It comes as part of the 'Professional Office Suite'.

So, question:  Is it legal to use the SmartBoard Notebook software with the Wiiboard?  Our school legally owns several SmartBoards and the software specifically states it is legal to install the Notebook software on all school comps provided we do not use it with a "competitor's product".

Does the Wiiboard count as a competitor?
Read your licence, it will define "Competitor" in the definitions. I would say yes the Wiimote Whiteboard is a competitor. However, you will find most IWB software requires the hardware to be detected or it either won't work or a massive watermark will cover the screen to allow learning objects to be constructed but not used without the precence of a Smartboard.

Benpaddlejones :)

p.s. This would be better as new thread rather than activating a 4 month old thread (this can upset a few of the Forum gods). You will also get better responses.




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Offline kiwikid

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Reply #12 on: September 08, 2008, 08:48:30 PM
Hi
For my science fair project I'm doing so work with the wiimote whiteboard in classrooms. I asked the makers of the smartboard if I could use their software (Smart notebook, or somthing like that)with the wiimote and they said yes but strictly only for my sciencefair project. So wether or not they allow it for just anyone I don't know.



Offline Matt Ledding

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Reply #13 on: July 28, 2009, 04:09:27 AM
I think that prometheum has a *free* version of their software if anyone wants to use it with the wii iwb.



Offline davidjmortimer

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Reply #14 on: July 30, 2009, 01:09:09 AM
On the power side of things I have a battery pack that clips into the wiimote with a usb lead on it. Plug it into a wall adapter and you have a constantly charging wiimote.

I notice the same thing is at wiiteach.net, the image is...

Cheers
DJM