Monday, March 12, 2012

Hubs and Wireless Receivers for Mice

videoThis is my 1st full wireless set up. It uses 5, 7 port USB hubs which are daisy-chained together so that one cable only plugs into the laptop's usb port. A very effective plug and play system. Note the Salient VM-223 Pen Mouse on the desk used for ultimate teacher control of the system from anywhere in the room.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

MOUSE MISCHIEF CASE STUDY

To View Full Article click on this link.
St James Primary NSW Australia Case Study

Teacher Engages Students,

Covers More Material with

Interactive Participation Tool

“Mouse Mischief engages students…. Lower-achieving students are more likely to be involved because there’s no embarrassment in giving a wrong answer.”


Joe Stewart, Teacher, St. James Primary School

St. James Primary School teacher, Joe Stewart, understands the challenge of engaging today’s computer-savvy students. To make learning interactive and fun, Stewart pioneered the use of Microsoft Mouse Mischief, a free add-in to Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 and Microsoft PowerPoint 2010. Now, students are more engaged and Stewart can instantly assess their understanding, while getting through material faster.

Business Needs

Joe Stewart, fourth grade teacher at St. James Primary School in Yamba, New South Wales, Australia, calls today’s students the “constantly connected” generation. “Children are surrounded by technology from an early age, from cell phones to DVRs to Facebook,” he says. “It has really impacted the way that students respond to teaching and lesson content. I still do ‘chalk and talk’ lessons, but as soon as I put something up on an interactive whiteboard, they’re instantly engaged. They can touch, manipulate, and participate in the content. Children have come to expect this level of interaction.”

In 2008, St. James started purchasing interactive whiteboards (IWBs) for some classrooms. An interactive whiteboard is a large interactive display that connects to a computer and projects the computer's desktop onto the board's surface. Teachers can then control the computer using a pen or mouse. Unfortunately, Stewart’s class did not receive an IWB.

Not to be deterred, Stewart learned that he could turn a commercial gaming system into an IWB for about AUD$70 (U.S.$62). During mid-2008, he worked nights and weekends to create one of these homemade devices. Stewart’s goal was to give kids a way to interact with material that he projected onto the IWB; however, the device was designed so that only one student at a time could participate. “I wanted to develop a multiuser device so that more than one student could use the IWB at once,” Stewart says. The main problem with any IWB is that whoever is using it usually has their back to the class. If there is more than one person trying to use the board they usually cast so much shadow over it or they physically block the board from the rest of the class. This often causes an instant breakdown in engagement for the students in their seats who can no longer see what is happening.

Another major disadvantage of the IWB is the amount of time wasted as each student, one at a time, walks out the front, selects their answer then hands the pen to the next student who walks out the front to answer their question. This turn-taking delay and slow pace of the lesson can be very frustrating for students, especially those who don’t get a go as you will often run out of time.

Solution

In March 2009, Stewart came across Microsoft Mouse Mischief, an add-in to the Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 presentation graphics programs that is free of charge and enables teachers to create interactive presentations. When installed, the Mouse Mischief application adds a tab to the Ribbon of the PowerPoint user interface, which teachers can use to add interactive elements to their presentations, such as multiple-choice questions. Large groups of students can answer questions using mice connected to the teacher’s PC. Stewart obtained a beta copy of Mouse Mischief in June 2009 and installed it on his copy of Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007. He was also able to buy every student in his classroom a mouse for about AUD$14 (U.S.$12) each.

When a teacher opens a Mouse Mischief–enabled presentation, students can choose icons for themselves and use these custom cursors to answer questions. Once students have selected their answers, the teacher displays the correct answer. Teachers can have students answer questions individually or as part of a team, to encourage both competition and collaboration in the classroom.

Stewart’s students love Mouse Mischief. “Lessons can be quite noisy, but it’s busy, excited, happy noise. ,Mouse Mischief is often fast-paced where every student gets to answer every question and every student gets feedback simultaneously.” Stewart says. “I can ask students to name the species of a snake or find missing apostrophes in a sentence,” he says. “Students are collaborating and shouting ideas. Normally, if I say, ‘Name the species of this snake,’ one student raises his or her hand and says ‘Cobra,’ and I write it down. Then the next question is asked, and the next hand goes up. A lesson using this traditional method of teaching takes so much longer than if I teach the same lesson content with Mouse Mischief. , which takes a long time. With Mouse Mischief, the whole class is working together to answer the question at the same time. Every student is engaged and is able to participate simultaneously. They all work from the comfort of their desk and no one blocks the screen.”

Through this method of teaching, Stewart can also instantly assess how many students get an answer correct, so he can review the material again if necessary.

Benefits

By using Mouse Mischief, Stewart can better engage his students during lessons, cover more material at one time, and better assess learning. And because the application is so cost-effective, St. James Primary School was able to save thousands of dollars by not purchasing the additional hardware to complement their existing IWBs to be used as Student Response Systemss. .

Attentive Students, Enriched Learning

Stewart is excited about transforming the way students learn and participate in class. “Mouse Mischief engages students. The children love the ability to select answers and draw on screen,” Stewart says. “Lower-achieving students are more likely to be involved because there’s no embarrassment in giving a wrong answer; it’s anonymous participation. They can have a go, and no one will judge them.”

Mouse Mischief had a remarkable impact on one student in particular. “One of my students was unsuccessful at math; he couldn’t focus and had trouble understanding,” Stewart says. “When we did multiplication lessons using Mouse Mischief, he went from being the lowest-achieving to the highest-achieving student in a week. The child was an avid gamer at home, but in a normal classroom environment, he just tuned out. Mouse Mischief completely changed him. He told me, ‘When we use Mouse Mischief, learning is fun.’”

More Time to Teach and Review

When Stewart uses Mouse Mischief to teach, he can move through lessons much faster than he can when he uses traditional methods. “When I put concepts into Mouse Mischief, I can complete lessons quickly, which frees up time to cover more material,” he says.

Better Ability to Assess Learning

Stewart receives immediate feedback from students on whether they understand or enjoy his lessons. “Using a continuum chart, students can anonymously let me know if they loved a lesson or hated it,” he says. “If I see that most children loved a lesson, or understood the subject, I know that I am doing a good job.”

Inexpensive and Easy to Use

Stewart was able to equip his class with Mouse Mischief and a mouse for each student for about AUD$500 (U.S.$450), in comparison to the thousands of dollars that most student-response systems cost. “Mouse Mischief puts a powerful teaching tool within reach of just about any teacher,” Stewart says. “It has made a huge impact in my classroom.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wireless Mice for Mouse Mischief

Recently I was given two new brands of Microsoft Mice to help implement Mouse Mischief in the classroom. They are the Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 and the Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000. Both are perfect for use with Mouse Mischief. Special thanks to Mj Bailey for arranging these mice for me.


There are 40 in total. 20 are the 3500 model. 20 are the 4000 model. They are both amazing mice - just perfect for Mouse Mischief and other whole class multi-mice applications that I use.

The following information compares each of  these Mice. The 3500 model, although it is not as feature rich as the 4000 model seems to be better for the following reasons.

1. The 3500 model is slightly smaller in size and better suited to children's hand size.

2. The range is greater for some reason. More than 15 metres. I don't understand why as both should be built to the same specs and use the same frequency and receiver. The 4000 model was erratic at ten metres. This may just be an anomally as I have only tested one of each.

3. The button configuration is perfect for Mouse Mischief. The 3500 model has distinct and audible clicks. The scroll wheel is also distinctly clickable. The 4000 model is almost silent when clicking. The scroll wheel also rolls smoothly. There is no distingishable click when scrolling. Also, it is capable of horizontal scrolling as it is also a tilt wheel. This feature isn't necessary for Mouse Mischief. It also has a side button which is configurable. I will disable this button using the sofware provided as students don't need this feature either and it could cause problems with other applications.

The tracking capabilities of both are excellent. They use BlueTrack technology which means they can work more reliably even on uneven surfaces. Same type of tracking that my MousePen uses and that 1st ellusive mouse I bought that I can't get any more!
The battery life of each is also excellent. The 3500 model claims 8 months and the 4000 model claims 10 months!! They also have an on/off switch which is essential.

In fact, the 3500 model is virtually THE mouse that I have been searching for, since I began working on this project over one year ago. (See blog post below for other suitable mice that I have purchased.) All the specs are exactly as I described months ago for the perfect mouse. Its size, button configuration, blueray tracking, frequency and range, on/off switch and battery life all make this the better mouse for this project. It is also quite robust and sturdily built. It is almost as if this mouse has been developed based on what I desired the perfect mouse should be over a year ago. It is also much better quality than the other mice I have purchased. These other mice were about AUS$11 each delivered. I did experience some issues with them and the suppliers though. They still work well but as the saying goes, "You get what you pay for."

The major advantage of the 4000 model is the fact that when clicking the buttons it is virtually silent. When there are 25 mice all clicking at the same time it can become a little annoying. I would love to get student feedback on their preferences.

Finally, if it come down to cost (and this is meant to be an affordable SRS) the 3500 model I believe is cheaper by about $10 each. Please correct me if I am wrong. Either mice would work perfectly (I just want to make more tests with the range of the 4000 model). They are great mice. I wish I had come across them last year.

Again, thank you so much Mj. They will be put to great use. It appears that there may be some very exciting opportunities for me on my return to work. I can't wait."






MMMM. All these mice. But first get rid of the dog.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to set up wireless mice.

Here is what I have found. Mice with the side buttons are not as good for this project as if children press these side buttons, they can change websites. Mouse Mischief isn’t affected by this though as it is not web-based. As I use other multi-mice applications that are web-based I need this feature. Children can’t help it and accidently click these buttons and the web page changes. The 3 button mice are the go. I have, in fact pulled apart the mice with side buttons and removed or disabled the side buttons to stop them working.


Following is a few pictures of the packaging of the mice that I found to work the best, have the best battery life, the best dpi – up to 1600. Many wireless mice only offer 1000dpi. It also had the best range of 15 metres – 5 metres more than most other brands. It uses 2 aaa batteries. I found that it generally out-performed the other mice. I haven’t experienced any issues with interference. When mice become unresponsive, or behave erratically, it is due to the software you are running.

Sometimes, a child may complain that their mouse isn’t working. Mostly it is fine but sometimes I move the student closer to the front of the room, closer to the box of hubs and receivers and this “smooths” out their mouse again. I believe that this is a battery issue as a fresh set of batteries fixes the problem. This problem is more evident with the mice that have a single aa battery .

All mice are specifically coded to work with only the receiver they are packaged with. I guess it is possible that 2 mice could use the same frequency, but these mice have the capability to “frequency Hop” between 16 channels. Apparently, there are also 64000 codes that can be used so chances are you should not experience any crosstalk. There are claims that 10000 units could be used in the same room without issues. I don’t think you could even fit 10000 mice in one room! Haha

They also had a blue-ray optical light as opposed to most mice which emit a red light.

The battery specifications are also listed and this appeared to be better than other mice I checked out. They use less power but have 2 batteries = 3 volt in comparison to mice that use a single aa battery = 1.5 volt. Maybe less output power equals less range equals less battery life as there is only one battery. (Just a thought.)

Here’s the pictures. Zoom in to read the details.


The button configuration also works brilliantly for MouseMischief. When voting, A=left click, B=right click, C=middle click and D=left/right click. They can do all this with a single finger. To vote “D” one finger is used to press both buttons simultaneously by pressing the tip of the buttons together. This isn’t achievable with some other mice that have the left and right click buttons separated within the casing.


In the photo below, you can see that the mouse on the right has buttons which are not as suitable. The middle mouse has the side buttons. The left mouse proved to be the best. Sadly, I can no longer find them. I can find heaps of similar types but not this exact mouse. Maybe you can.

I also use a mouse pen to retain control of the platform from anywhere in the room. It is excellent as it works directly on clothing. You can freely move about the room and control the program.


I have the model VM-223


It has an inbuilt laser pointer too. They appear to be on sale for $80. I paid about $130 for mine nearly 3 years ago and it is still going strong. I use it a lot!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I also have purchased this wireless touchpad with full qwerty keyboard for less than $50. This is pure genius as it gives you full control of all features and functions of both the mouse and the computer from anywhere in the room in the palm of your hand. It is a must have for this program. This is also passed around the room for children to use to individually answer questions with any interactive lesson in any application. A very quick way of engaging students as they don't need to leave their seat to go to the front to select their answer. They love the fact that they can participate from the comfort oftheir seat. Also, the added advantage is that no one blocks the board when answering questions. I just LOVE it too!
 
These are the 7 port hubs. They are powered by ac adapters. They are simply the cheapest ones I could find at a local department store. They are branded “Zipp”. They are good as each hub contains 7 green led’s to indicate if the receiver is connected to each mouse. This has been handy as at first, some didn’t connect. You could tell at a glace which one. Simply unplug it, then plug it back in and this usually fixes it. Hubs that don’t contain the led may prove more troublesome. These hubs cost AUS$20 each. You can get them much cheaper off ebay. About $5 each!!
It is important to label each mouse and its receiver so as to avoid confusion if you disconnect the hubs and mice. I simply used liquid paper and wrote a number on each mouse and corresponding receiver. I used stickers on the hubs and AC adapters so that I could label each of these too and write on each hub as to what was plugged in to what and where. I now use 5 of these hubs. At first, it can look like a tangled mess. They do get very warm so I like to be able to keep the box lid open when they are all plugged in to the laptop. I’m not sure if I have experienced any problems when they are stacked directly on top of each other – in regards to decreasing wireless reception as the receivers are then very close to each other. I leave them separated mainly due to the heat they give out. I have thought of binding them all together to “tidy” it up but I don’t want to fry anything. I have thought of constructing a skinny plywood box about half a metre long only just wide enough for the hubs and power board to fit in and mounting them in this. This would keep the units separate, and all cables could be routed neatly. But as this works and time is precious it will have to wait. Also, sometimes the simplest ideas are often the best.


What will I buy next?

This has been the best mouse for the best price that I have found in the last few weeks. I purchased one and it works as well as I need. I does have the side buttons though. I purchased it because it has 2400dpi. This is HUGE when compared to other mice which only have 800-1000dpi. It should provide better tracking especially in the drawing programs. The voting feature shouldn’t be affected as you can actually hold the mouse in mid-air and vote. It does use a single aa battery though and its battery use isn’t as good as THE ONE I wanted.

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320498551990&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:VRI

Anyway, for under $10 delivered, I don’t think you could go too wrong.

This mouse below is probably the closest to what I had before. I will be buying one now to check it out. You have motivated me. It is dearer, about $14 delivered, but it looks like it has all the features I need and want. I’ll let you now how it compares.

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=160373378543&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

The link below is for a wireless mousepad with qwerty keyboard that fits in the palm of your hand. This does provide the ultimate teaching tool and master control for almost every program including MouseMischief. This enhances this platform even further making going back to your desk to access the computer’s keyboard virtually obsolete doing lesson instructions. My first principal gave me the advice, “That a teacher on his feet is worth two in his seat.” Using technology in the classroom is great, but many teachers seem chained to their desks and laptops. I hate sitting down to teach hence the reason for purchasing a wireless mouse pen, tablets, laser pointer etc years ago to instruct my class away from behind the desk. Here’s the link to this awesome device for well under $70. I won mine for less than $50.

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=390132789888&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

My advice is to check out many wireless mice on ebay or other sites you like. Make a comparison on range, dpi, battery life, and check the mouse has an “on/off” switch on the bottom. This will greatly extend battery life. Even if you turn off the mouse with this switch it doesn’t disconnect it from the receiver. You can come back in to the program at any time, as long as it was originally loaded when you started the program.


Anyway, please don’t hold me accountable if the mice I suggested don’t work for you. I have recently contacted my partners at Microsoft who are developing MouseMischief and asked them for their advice regarding their suggestions for their preferred or best brand of mice for this purpose.

Their response was, “PS - We are not yet done with our own mice testing so I don't want to jump the gun and recommend a model of mouse to you too soon. I'll let you know as soon as we've nailed down some models.”

So we are somewhat still in unchartered territory. You need to purchase mice that are within your budget but will still do the job. There are models of wireless mice that sell for over $40 each and I don’t think they would do the job any better than the ones mentioned. My ebay watchlist contains 14 different wireless mice that I have been checking out. It’s a bit of an obsession – weird hey! Please type in wireless mice and check the specs for yourself before you commit to a major purchase. Always buy through ebay using paypal and don’t send money to an email address. (I learnt the hard way.) I have contacted several sellers as to if they can do a better price for multiple units. They reply, that these are already so cheap and they can’t give any further discount. Well I believe they can but it is not going to be significant unless you are buying hundreds of them.

I would love to hear how you get on and what you decide to do. Also, I would love to find out more about what you do and how you enhance the educational learning environments for children using technology. It has been great sharing these ideas with others on all sides of the world who shares this passion. Maybe one day our paths will cross. Until then…. Keep up the awesome work. If there is anything else you need or don't understand, please let me know.

ENJOY the benefits of a true Multi-User Interface and unleash the powers of interactive technologies at a fraction of the price.


 

Class Ahead of the World

Class ahead of the world


Marsha
3rd March 2010





St James Primary teacher Joe Stewart has brought new technology to the classroom.

THIS bunch of fourth graders is the only class in Australia to trial technology that could revolutionise the way in which our kids and those in third world countries learn.

St James Primary School teacher Joe Stewart was so jealous when another class was presented with an interactive whiteboard (IWB) last year that he went home and built his own.

A Wii remote, a doorbell and a projector later, Joe had his own IWB but he still was not satisfied.

“Once there’s two or more kids writing on an IWB, they become very un-interactive and no one can see the board,” he said.

The floodgates had been opened for Mr Stewart’s creativity and he began exploring interactive multi-user interface like a man possessed.

“I found a program called Mouse Mischief that gave each child in a classroom an active presence on the screen via their own mouse,” he said

“I had to have it.”

He sent emails all over the world and tracked down the program’s developer in India, where they were trialling the program, and convinced the developer to send him a copy, under the proviso that he give feedback and not distribute it.

It was being trialled in third world nations as way of keeping the costs of computer technology down, at around $10 per mouse.

Mr Stewart said that a class can be set up with Mouse Mischief for around $500, in comparison to the thousands that an IWB costs.

“It’s only a tool and it’s not used all day,” he said, adding that when you pay thousands for something there’s the tendency to try to get your money’s worth.

“The class love it, they can collaborate and all have a presence.

“Kids love technology and it’s my obligation to pursue it as much as possible.”

The full article at dailyexaminer.com.au/story/2010/03/03/class-ahead-of-the-world/

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mouse Mischief Beta is Here

Microsoft have just released their multipoint program called Mouse Mischief. It is free to download and very easy to set up. You can trial it with just a couple of mice to get the idea. Lessons are easy to create using the powerpoint addin.

Download it here.

http://www.microsoft.com/multipoint/mouse-mischief

Have fun!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

MyMouseGames

With this multi-mice platform you can connect as many mice as you want. I have 25 connected here. This is the games dashboard where all your saved games are kept. Here you you can select games to play or edit.
In this Classroom page, each student or user gets to write their own name using the onscreen keyboard. This feature gives feedback to each student and the teacher at the completion of every session.
There are a variety of games that you can choose. There are competitive, collaborative and parallel gaming platforms.
In pursuit of expanding the Multi-Mouse educational advantages, I learned that the Dickenson Brothers in America won the Imagine Cup in Egypt in 2009. They developed a platform using silverlight and multipointweb which enables multiple mice to simultaneously play educational games. Here's the link. http://www.mymousegames.com/ My classroom in this site is called joestewart. I have started designing a variety of games to use next year. The children absolutely love these games. They are fun and very engaging and from an educational perspective are just excellent. Content is easily developed to suit any lesson content. I extend my congratulations and support to the Dickenson brothers especially Jimmy who has been an enormous support to me and the students in my class. Thank you for the wonderful games platform arena. We will use it a lot throughout 2010.

MOUSE MISCHIEF

This was the second multi-mouse platform that was made available to me. I have been using this software now since June 2009. It is the best Student Response System (SRS) that I have come across. It far surpasses anything else I have seen in regards to features and functionality. It is still in its development stage so I can't share the software. Hopefully Microsoft will release a beta version in the middle of January 2010.

After all Mice are activated and the teacher enters the password, a screen appears which allows you to select any lesson you have created.



The teacher then selects a class which is easily customisable to accommodate any student names.
I now have many classes using this. Also, I have set it up for English Based Activities, Maths Based Activities etc.



The children then get to select their very own cursor. These cursors are excellent as they are easily identifiable by individual students as they are different colours, letters or numbers and point indifferent dirrections. Usually, students select the cursor that begins with their name. I've had to add a few extra cursors of the same letter for those students who have names starting with the same letter.



In the next screen, children get to select their name from the list. Then the lesson can begin.



 It was developed to be primarily used in developing nations as they don't have the funds for children to access technology. The benefits of its use in our classrooms during 2009 has been amazing. The children in my class were so excited as they were the first class in Australia to use this experimental software. Everyone who has seen it agrees that it far surpasses any Student Response System that they have seen. CEO sponsored me to build a simultaneous multi user Interface. 25 wireless mice with a 15 metre range capable of concurrency and simultaneous individual use, all hooked up to one lap top. The learning curve over the past year has been HUGE!!! My whiteboard can now accommodate my whole class with individual cursors for each student that track and score their progress. They can all click and drag objects simultaneously - all 25 students, draw simultaneously, use on screen keyboards and numeric keypads simultaneously to enter data on the screen in their individual workspaces, vote on multiple choice questions using their wireless mouse by using the mouse buttons eg left click = A, right click = B, middle click = C, left/right click = D etc. I've been so busy with this project that it has taken up so much of my spare time. It has been hectic but I reckon I have the 1st true collaborative multiuser interface in an Australian classroom which is now virtually a plug and play set up in the size of a shoe box. I found the best thing about this is that once I got more than 2 students using the traditional IWB out the front, the rest of the class couldn't see what was happening. This new system allows every student to interact simultaneously from their desks, no one blocks the screen, you don't have to waste time as kids wait to take turns and it is so much more engaging.

Class set of Mice on desks ready for distribution.
video



Presentation to Education Lecturers at Southern Cross University.
video

Setting up 30 Mice to be used by 1 laptop




When I first started asking in May 2009 if you could have more than one mouse connected to a computer the anser was "Yes, but they would fight over the cursor".
I wanted to connect 30 wireless mice, each with its own unique cursor. I spoke to many people in I.T and Computer stores without any success so I was on my own.

I now know that it is theoretically possible to connect 256 mice to a computer and operate up to 10,000 wireless mice in the one room without interference!!!!
Here's photos of my set up.

As you can see, each mouse has a micro-receiver pluggeg in to a usb hub. The usb hubs are 7 port hubs. I now have 5 of these. The first hub is plugged into the laptop. The other hubs all plug into this one.

HOT TIP!! Number each mouse and micro-receiver. This helps if you run into difficulties if a mouse stops working. As each receiver is specifically coded to the mouse at the factory, you can keep track of what is plugged in to where.

You are now ready for MULTI- MICE fun and games.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

TEAMPLAYER and Multi-Mice


I made a dozen or more pens for my students to use the wiimote iwb but there now was another problem. 1. The wiimote can not differentiate more than 1 IR Pen. 2. Once there are more than 2 students out he front the rest of the class cannot physically see the screen. The Interactive Whiteboard is really a MONOACTIVE white board.

I wanted a system that could engage more than 1 student at a time. I pressed the issue but was told by many experts that this could not happen effectively. I wanted multi-touch!! Even commercial products didn't really offer this, at least not affordably.

After trolling through dozens of sites looking for a solution I came across this website. Yes, the photos are of my class using it at the start of the year with wired mice and the quote is mine.



Wunderworks, a company based in the Netherlands very generously gave me the program for my class to trial in exchange for feedback and support with this developing technology. A very special thank you to Maarten Terpstra for all his support and advice throughout the year. The children LOVE this software. Now every student can use the board at exactly the same time. The Sandbox projects are excellent and have so much potential. I use it frequently for spelling, maths and collaborative learning. Every student is engaged 100% of the time. No one has to wait for their turn. All can interact with the shared "learnspace" without having to leave their seat.




Wht a HUGE, HUGE advantage. Simultaneous interaction with the whiteboard from their desk!!!!! Previously, so much time was WASTED as students, one at a time came out to use the board, click on the object then hand the pen to another student, return to their seat, wait for the next student to walk out the front for their turn, click and drag an object, hand the pen to the next student, return to their seat and wait for that student to walk out to the front etc etc. You can see what I mean. So slow and BORING!! And only a FEW got to have a turn in a lesson!


TeamPlayer changed ALL that. After the initial issues of setting up corded mice and testing its capabilities I wanted more!

Corded mice are very reliable and great if you can leave it set up, but classrooms are very dynamic places and desk arrangements change frequently depending on the lesson. Wireless mice are the solution. No matter what your desk configurations are, all students can access the board instantly. No cords to get tangled or trip over.


It's very important to get the right mice and hubs but I'll talk about that in another post.

Wireless control for the wiimote


A large disadvantage to the wiimote IWB was its buttons were inaccessible when mounted on the data projector. I developed a Fishing Line Connection Device -FLiCD - to turn on discovery mode on the wiimote without having to leave my seat. It works seamlessly and Itill use it but some people on the wiimote project said it could be labelled as a contraption.
I then set out to develop an electric wireless system.
My first attempt used a remote central locking system from a car. I pulled apart the wiimote a solder it to connections on the circuit board of the wiimote to "short out" the red sync button and therefore put it into discovery mode. This was an expensive choice.
I then used cheap $10 3 volt wireless doorbells to do the same job. The instructions are very easy to follow and takes about an hour to do. The result though is a very professional system that compares to any commercial rival.

HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE.

How to Make a Remote Control to Turn on Your wiimote.
The Final Frontier to the Professional Set Up.

1. Remove cover off Wiimote. You may need to get a special screwdriver.
2. Carefully remove circuit board from housing.
3. Locate red sync button.
4. Solder white wires from each of the bottom terminal switches. (Nunchuck end). These wires effectively short the red sync button when signal is sent so therefore put the Wiimote into discovery mode when the remote door bell button is pressed.
5. Solder black wire to negative terminal - right side of circuit board.
6. Solder red wire to positive terminal – left side of circuit board.

These four wires will then be soldered to a remote door chime. Find one that is a 3 volt – 2 AA batteries. The battery that powers the push button remote control is a 23A, 12 volt. This just sends the signal so it can’t harm the Wiimote. It will also last a very long time. Probably 2 or more years in a classroom environment. Some Doorbell remotes use “Button” Batteries. It just depends on the brand.
You can buy cheap wireless door bells from Bunnings Hardware stores for about AU$11.00

To install door chime.
The one in the photo has had the original battery compartment cut off to reduce its size. Also I have removed the speaker and the switch for the different songs. The whole unit, both Wiimote and door chime is now powered by a 3 volt AC adapter.

The first thing to do before you remove any switches, cut wires etc is to find out where to solder the white wires which will short the red sync button. Put charged batteries in both the door chime and the wiimote.
A lot of trial and error may be needed so having 2 people helps.
One person to hold the white wires, the other to press the remote and reset the wiimote.
At this stage batteries should be in both the door chime and the Wiimote. I connected up the AC power in the last step to eliminate batteries. (and to ensure that I didn’t hurt myself)
I have virtually no experience in electronics but this method works. It is safe. No matter what I did, it did not compromise the wiimote or door chime. You need to find 2 terminals on the door chime to touch the white wires to that doesn’t start the Wiimote going into discovery mode immediately i.e. Four blue leds blinking. Your assistant will pop out one battery slightly when this happens so you can check another two terminals. – it speeds up the process otherwise you need to wait 20 seconds for it to time out before trying again.
Also the door chime may sound. This can be a little annoying especially after the 20th time of the same ding song.
Once you have found the 2 terminals, press the door bell button to see if it will start the sync. Solder the white wires to these.
Tip 1; try reversing the white wires on the same terminals as there can be a different outcome.
Tip 2; what we are looking for are the terminals that receive the instruction from the door bell remote to then make it chime. It is not the speaker wires. (in a central locking system for a car that I also set up to a Wiimote, I soldered the white wires to the unlock relay. This was more complicated and more expensive as the control locking system was 12 volt as it was initially designed for a car. I then had to build a 12 volt to a 3 volt regulator so that I could send the power from the remote central locking system to the wiimote. $45 for the Central Locking System, $15 for the 12 volt to 3 volt regulator, $15 for the 12 volt power supply and a lot more components time and mucking around to set it up.
The doorbell is by far the easiest and safest way to convert your wiimote.

1. Solder the white wires to the previously determined terminals on the doorchime and test.
2. You can now cut off the speaker to the door chime and retest.
3. There is often a switch to select different tunes. I removed this too but Ihad to short out 2 terminals with a blob of solder so that it thought that it was still connected. It just made things look less complicated but it isn’t necessary.
4. Solder the red wire from the Wiimote to the positive terminal on the door chime. You can follow the wires from the battery compartment if you’re not sure which is which.
5. Solder the black wire from the Wiimote to the negative terminal on the door chime.
6. Replace batteries in the Wiimote and test. You shouldn’t even need batteries in the door chime anymore.


To connect 3 volt AC adapter.
1. Get your 3 volt AC adapter and cut off the connection. Bare the 2 wires.
2. There will be 2 wires. A positive and a negative.
3. The insulated one will be the positive – in this case a white wire.
4. Solder it also the positive terminal on the door chime. Where you soldered the red wire from the wiimote.
5. Put a little heat shrink on the negative wire (if necessary) and solder it to the negative terminal on the door chime along with the black wire from the wiimote.
6. Test again with batteries only in the Wiimote.
7. Take out batteries then plug in AC adapter and test.
8. Successs. A remote control for the Wiimote.

















Assembly and routing of wires.
1. Assembly and wire routing can be up to you but you may need to slightly modify door chime housing and Wiimote housing for wires to pass through.
The soldering iron is excellent for this. Melts plastic and makes holes easily. CAUTION. Don’t breathe in fumes.








Depending on how you intend to mount the wiimote will largely depend on where you want wires coming out and how you will attach the doorchime housing to the wiimote. You could simply place both units in a small electrical box which you buy from Jaycar for a few dollars. Cut out a section in the end of the box for the wiimote camera to stick out of. Hot Glue everything in place. Pass the power cable out the back. Pop rivet a bracket to the casing and mount to the wall, data projector ceiling mount or even the ceiling. There is a huge range of galvanised brackets available for less than $2 from most hardware stores. Builders use them to hang and / or join timber joists and bearers. There are so many types that one will suit. They can also be bent easily if you need to make fine adjustments to the final set up.





I’m even considering just taking out the circuit boards from the wiimote and the door chime and concealing these in an even smaller box. Use silicon to glue them in place. Just need to use the coloured lens from the wiimote for the IR camera and set it in to the end of the box. Should provide a tidy, professional unit which can be done in less than an hour and cost less than $40 to convert.

Parts List.
Soldering Iron and solder.
Wire. You can use any wire from virtually anything.
Heat shrink or electrical tape.
A multimeter to find active terminals or you can trial and error. Remember this is only a 3 volt system so you shouldn’t cause any harm. If in doubt – DON’T!!
Wireless doorbell. If you are going to install several in close proximity, buy ones that have multiple channels to reduce interference. The one for $11 has 16 different channels. You could buy different brands too.
3 Volt AC Adapter. These usually cost about $20 and are available from most electronics stores. I got mine for $1.91 each!!! What a bargain!!

Good Luck and have Fun.
Enjoy and relish in the fact that you have just created a very professional product that will equal many of its rivals but for a mere fraction of the cost!!!!!

This has been produced to enhance the teaching and learning environment of my students in our school. There is no doubt that this technology engages and enthuses children with their learning. For teachers, well the benefits are almost immeasurable. As educators, we now have the latest and the best teaching resources literally at our fingertips at all times. I believe that the time I have invested in researching, setting up, trialling and perfecting this set up will be easily recovered through the higher quality lessons that I can now provide. It will therefore reduce classroom management and behavioural issues (not that I really had any anyway) but it will help me achieve the most important goal - achieving greater academic success for my students.
Cost. PRICELESS!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The EXTENSION PEN.

This would have to be the most valuable teaching aide to compliment the wiimote Interactive Whiteboard. It is easy to make and cost less than $5.00!!!! What would a commercial IWB Extension Pen cost??? Parts List. Extension Pole - $1.17 Battery Holder - $0.61 Momentary Switch - $1.20 Tsal 6400 IR Led - $0.41 End of white board Marker Thin wire - in toolbox Solder for connections AA battery - $0.50

Its ease of use in class - PRICELESS!!!!!
video

Friday, November 6, 2009

wiimote Interactive White Board

This is the project that began it all. In August 2008 I had heard that it was possible to use a Nintendo wiimote control to make a fully functioning Interactive White Board. I love experimenting and had to give it a go. In the October holidays of 2008 I got it working so well that I couldn't stop there. This was amazing. For under $80 I had an IWB for my class. The children were so pleased. This video shows how I start up the IWB and its many uses and applications.
video
videoThe $13 Interactive Desk Top!! WOW.