Sunday, March 22, 2009

Using a 'Wii' as an interactive whiteboard

I have been experimenting with a Nintendo 'Wii' to see how I could use it in the classroom I am going to be demo teaching in a week's time. All you need is the Wii console, sensor bar and handset, connect it to a projector and project onto a clear surface (whiteboard) or connect to a TV (then there is no need for a projector). The Wii can connect wirelessly to the internet, so I have been trying out a few websites to see how interactive you can be. It works perfectly! I am writing a maths unit on perimeter and volume for a year 5/6 class and the first site I came across was the BBC skillwise. Once I got used to the controls I decided this would be an excellent student lead group maths activity.

It has fact sheets that the students read through first. Then they go to the Quiz site of which there are 3 levels to choose from. My instructions to the students will be to work their way through the activities, recording their answers and the process they went through to the get the answer in their maths books at the same time. At the end of each level they will find out the answers so they can correct their work. When they next meet with me for group instruction we will go over the activity together working on any problems or wrong answers they may have encountered.
Save the games you want your students to use by storing them in the Favourites page.

I then tried it out on my PSP and it works well. Save the games to Bookmarks so that they are easy to find. Two students could use a PSP at the same time.

Using game consoles opens up loads of new possibilities for classroom teaching and learning!
The only problem is that I need two projectors in the classroom now!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A hurdle to get over

I ran a mimio course the other day, and by the end of it I realised what the 'big hurdle' teachers have to get over! Replace what you do on the whiteboard in your classroom with your mimio/IWB software! If you are modelling your story writing, use the mimio/IWB so that you can save what you have done and revisit it the next day. I remember a few years ago it was custom to write your daily stories on large sheets of paper, fasten them together and they would become a reading activity for students. Do the same with your day to day modelling, save it as your 'Writing Modelling' file, add a few graphics or photos and turn it into a reading activity, or save it as a proof reading activity.

I was in a classroom the other day and saw that the teacher had drawn a numberline on her small whiteboard that was at her teaching station, and written the exercise.

I suggested to her that she create a numberline suitable for her children's level in IWB software, save it to a gallery, and start a numberline file that she could archive and use over and over again (and add to). It is simple enough to create your own numberlines (if there is not already one in the clipart libraries, check Mathematics, or check online in the Softwares website) by using the tools that come with the software. Once you have created the numberline, group it so it won't come apart and add it to your Maths Library in your IWB software. Turn on your Grid (usually in the View Menu) to make it more precise.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Individual photos and Visual Roll

An interactive early morning activity that I read about in 'Dragonsinger's blog is to have all the photos of your children in a grid and their names in another grid. Children as they come into the room in the morning can drag their name and place it on their photo. The names left are the children that are probably away for the day. This is a particularly good activity for young ones as a practice in using the IWB/mimio everyday and sets the routines for the day.

It is a good idea at the beginning of the year to take head and shoulder photos of your students and place them in an easily accessible folder both on your computer and in your IWB/mimio software.

To further extend this idea each photo can have an hyperlink to their own page on a wiki.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Smartboard concept writing software

I am a big fan of Inspiration and Kidspiration and use them for all curriculum areas. But if you have a 'Smartboard' then you will have similar software called 'Smart Ideas Concept Writing' that works seamlessly with the Smartboard touch technology.
- easy to add more symbols
- easy to move symbols around
- has a note feature
- uses symbols for hyperlinks and notes
- remembers the changes you made to the symbols (such as colour and shape)
- software is easy to use and navigate around
- the strongest feature for me was the converting of ink to text and inserting into a symbol


- less graphics available, can download more from website (Inspiration accesses internet for more)
- can only change colour of symbol outlines (can't adjust thickness)
- doesn't show spelling mistakes

The first example shown below is Smart Ideas and Inspiration below that. Overall I was very impressed with Smart Ideas, so if you have a Smartboard in your classroom, use it for all curriculum areas as I use Inspiration or Kidspiration. Here are some Kidspiration and Inspiration examples. WeeMee Character Graphics created in Weeworld