Wii Interactive Whiteboard Tutorial

Instead of being envious of teachers with interactive devices such as Smart Boards, I found the next best thing. I was able to use free software, a Wii Remote (Wiimote), and an infrared pen to make my own Interactive Whiteboard for about $50! I created the tutorial below so you can make your own Interactive Whiteboard yourself (probably without even consulting the your school tech).


Having trouble seeing the video above? Try it on YouTube or our iTunes Podcast

Directions for creating your own interactive whiteboard:
Hardware you will need:  A projector, Wii Remote (Wiimote), infrared pen and a computer (Mac or PC) with Bluetooth capability.  Free Software Download here (download before attempting to connect to bluetooth)

Step by Step: (Based on using a Mac. PC models may have slight variations)

  1. Download and install software created by Johnny Chung Lee.
  2. Open Bluetooth on your computer (if you don’t have bluetooth, an external device can be connected)
  3. Next, open the back of the Wii remote (where the battery is located) and press the red button to let the computer and Wiimote “find” each other via bluetooth.
  4. Open software and press buttons 1 & 2 at the same time on the Wii remote (you will see a “searching” indication on the software at this time).  Software script will start to show on computer – give this a minute to load all the script.
  5. Look for the ”searching” message to to show a battery level (blue in color) and a “not calibrated” message.  Now, you are set up and ready to turn your whiteboard into an interactive whiteboard.
  6. Plug in your projector to your computer so that your computer projects on the wall.
  7. Set Wiimote on a stool, table, or taped to the projector while pointed toward the projection wall.  For quick setup, you can also use tripod with an attachment to the Wiimote.
  8. Click “Calibrate” on your computer
  9. You will see an “+” in the upper left hand corner of the projected screen image.
  10. Use the infrared pen to click on the middle of the “+”.
  11. You will see a green check-mark appear  (if no check-mark, then adjust the Wii Remote to a different angle and redo the calibration)
  12. Next check the “+” that appears in the upper right corner  (continue clicking with pen to get each corner)

NOTE:  You will NOT see a light with the infrared pen. (Infrared is not visible to your eye.)
At this point you should be able to interact with your computer on the wall!!!!

Trouble shooting tips:

  • If you have trouble connecting to bluetooth. 1. Make sure you have downloaded software. 2. Continue to press Wiimote buttons 1 & 2 or press and hold red button located under battery cover. 3. If you don’t have bluetooth, you can use an external bluetooth.
  • If software does not connect to Wiimote, be sure you have waited for all of the script (code) to load. Try hitting buttons 1 & 2 again. Keep Wiimote still and wait a minute or two for first time setup.
  • If you have trouble calibrating on your whiteboard with infrared pen, try moving location of your Wiimote slightly and make sure nothing is obstructing its view.
  • If you’re still having trouble, talk to your tech at school (they will probably love the challenge).

Optional Extras: Wiimote Mount and tripod, software upgrade to Smoothboard ($30)

Some fun websites to try . . .

NGA Kids
Build Your Wild Self
Surreal Painter
Detail Detective
Mr. Picasso Head
Looking for more? Try the resources in this LiveBinder:

Do you have any other websites that might be useful for an Interactive Whiteboard? Please let us know in the comments area below.

Theresa McGee

Hello! My name is Theresa McGee and I am a National Board Certified Art Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator teaching in Hinsdale, Illinois. My curriculum is structured around creative thinking and technology integration into the learning process. I have authored eighteen articles for the Tech4ArtEd Column in SchoolArts Magazine and several iTunes U courses for professional development. I've presented at the state and national levels including several online webinars for art educators. In 2010, I was awarded Illinois Elementary Art Educator of the Year and in 2011 I was awarded the national PBS Teacher Innovator award. I love to share ideas that contribute to the art education profession!

8 Comments

  • September 17, 2010

    Jill

    This is an awesome idea! Unfortunately I don’t have a projector in my room either. Is your projector ceiling mounted? Ceiling mounted is the best, otherwise you have to worry about where to set it, walking in front of it, etc.

  • September 17, 2010

    Theresa McGee

    Jill,
    Yes, my projector is ceiling mounted, but it is not necessary. I have tested the Wii White Board out with a projector set up at table level and it works just fine. Even from a ceiling mount, you arm will block the image a bit. I also do my best to stand to the side so that I don’t block the Wiimote from seeing the tip of the infrared pen.

  • September 17, 2010

    Melissa

    I justed watched the wii whiteboard tutorial on youtube and I am FASCINATED!!! However, I’m confused on one thing—-what kind of infrared pen do I need to get? I think I understand that because the wii is set with the computer…that’s how it is communicating and we don’t actually ‘use the remote’ for anything but a connection right? Anyway, more info on the infrared pen would be great! I can’t wait to make this!!!!!!!

  • Hillary Andrlik + Theresa McGee
    September 17, 2010

    Theresa McGee

    Melissa,
    If I think I understand your question correctly . . . Yes, the computer and Wiimote “talk” to each other. Then the infrared pen “sees” the stationary Wiimote to help you interact on a whiteboard surface.
    I bought my infrared pen from the Wii Teachers site. However, there are several places to buy them online. You might want to check out a Wii infrared pen review (it also links to other online sources to get your pen) Hope this helps!

  • December 1, 2010

    Jing

    I’m having major problems with the wii controller position. I have to get the wii remote SUPER close to the white board in order for it to work, and the calibration goes all over the place. I don’t know how to fix this issue. Maybe it’s the wii remote?

  • Hillary Andrlik + Theresa McGee
    December 1, 2010

    Theresa

    Jing,
    When it comes to calibration, keeping the wiimote still is absolutely essential. Do you have it taped down to a surface or on a tripod?-if not, try that as your first step. I have my Wiimote set up about 10 feet off of the whiteboard. You can also have the wiimote face your white board directly or off to the side within a 45 degree angle.
    Another thing to look at is the infrared pen you are using. If it is low quality or if the battery is low, it may impact performance. I noticed a big difference when I changed the battery in my infrared pen. When in doubt, ask your tech person (something I do regularly). Keep us posted on how it is working for you.

  • December 23, 2010

    Jan Santos

    This is an awesome idea! Unfortunately I don’t have a projector in my room either. Is your projector ceiling mounted? Ceiling mounted is the best, otherwise you have to worry about where to set it, walking in front of it, etc.

  • [...] use it to form a line for asking questions, getting supplies, or more recently, taking turns at the Interactive Whiteboard. Each of these activities have threatened my sense of order and organization and would benefit from [...]

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