Before You Start
To create an interactive whiteboard, you’ll only need these 5 things:
- a computer with Bluetooth (all Macs have this built in; if you have a PC without Bluetooth, you can get an adapter for $8 here or at your local computer supplies store)
- a Wiimote remote
- an LCD projector (if you don’t have one, you can build one out of an old overhead projector)
- an infrared pen (see below)
- the software listed below
To build your own infrared pen, check out this video. (You can find accompanying written directions here.)
You can also purchase an infrared pen for $15 on the Penteractive website.
Software to Download
This is what allows your Wiimote to communicate the IR pen’s position to your computer via Bluetooth.
- if on a PC, click here, scroll down and download “cross-platform Java version”
- if on a Mac, click here, scroll down and download “Mac application”
(NOTE: If you’re on a PC and get a “WinSock” error when you use this software, install Pentabulous! instead. If you’re using Windows 7 and neither Wiimote Whiteboard nor Pentablous! work, try the trial version of Smoothboard. I suggest it as a last option because, after the trial period, the software requires a one-time $30 fee.)
This software allows you to create interactive lessons to engage and motivate students.
Please note that there are TWO pieces of software to download here — ACTIVinspire 1.5 AND the ACTIVinspire Resource Pack.
- click here, choose “Register” in the upper right corner, and complete the form to create an account
- once registered and logged in, click here
- click “download version 1.5” and complete the form
- click “download ACTIVinspire Resources Pack” and save it to your desktop
- install ACTIVinspire
- install the resources pack, which contains images, sounds, and more that you can use in your flipcharts
There are two types of ACTIVinpire software: the personal edition (free) and the professional edition ($99). According to the licensing agreement, the free version of ACTIVinpire can only be used on Promethean boards, while the pro version can be used with any hardware.
HOWEVER, if you’re a teacher and apply for the teacher consent license, you can legally use the personal edition for free with any hardware. (See the details here.)
- to apply for the teacher consent license, click here and complete the form
NOTE: The Professional Edition of ACTIVinspire gives you A LOT of additional features and might be worth the price if you use the software often (you can get a pro trial to try it before you buy it). This page lists the features available in the professional vs. personal editions.
For more information on ACTIVinspire, Wiimote Whiteboard help, and integrating the board into your classroom, scroll to the bottom of this post.