Interactive Whiteboards on the Cheap!

Many schools may be struggling with integrating technology into the classroom, because of finances.  Here are a few ways your school can bring interactive technologies into classrooms at a fraction of the cost.

Cheapest option -(Elbow grease and about $50) uses a wii remote, a ball point pen, an led light, a battery, a blue tooth connection from your computer, a free software from Johnny Chung and a projector. For a step-by-step video tutorial and pdf download manual

Here is an overview by Johnny Chung

Second Option – ($249) Wacom Graphire Wireless tablet- Control your computer from up to 30 feet away using a blue tooth connection.  Pass the tablet of to the kids and they are in control of the content being projected in the comfort of their seat.

graphire

Third Option – A Three Way Tie ($499) – The three leaders in interactive whiteboard software, mimio, Promethean, and Smart Technologies, each have their own version of a wireless handheld tablet (no I won’t be the one to tell you that the Smart version is actually a Graphire with a different name and a heftier price tag, but someone should!).
At 500 bucks a pop these are still cheaper than purchasing the entire board, plus you can legally use the software, which brings along a few perks as well.  Probably the most beneficial is that the large expensive interactive boards must be mounted in a room, however with the purchase of the wireless tablets you can bring interactivity to any classroom that has a projector hooked up to a computer.  mimio already has this advantage since their system is easily transported, but the mimio tablet is about $250 cheaper than the mimio xi.  Click on the images below to learn more about the products.

mimioPADActivSlate50airliner

For all of these options it is best if you have a projector that you can hook up to your computer, which all in all are pretty expensive no matter how you cut it.  If this isn’t an option then what about a television set that you have in your classroom.   No television set in your classroom, then it might be time for a trip to Goodwill or an auction to find the biggest and cheapest old clunker of a TV set that you can find.  Just make sure it has the red, yellow, and white input ports so that you can connect it to your computer.

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