As a child I was lucky to live close enough to the Art Institute of Chicago to visit the Thorne Miniature Rooms. I imagined how different my life would be living during the historical time periods depicted in the extraordinarily detailed 3-dimensional interior designs. A new interactive game from The Art Institute of Chicago, Escape from Thorne Mansion, allows me to take a virtual leap back into those rooms.
The interactive adventure begins in a 16th century French parlor with a cryptic note explaining details to escape the mansion. Clicking on different areas of the image reveal verbal clues at the bottom of the screen and open doorways to gain entry into the next room. Your students will enjoy the challenge escaping the labyrinth of rooms using the clues found along the way.
Escape from Thorne Mansion could be easily integrated with a study of linear perspective, composition, or design. Alternatively, create a literature connection at school or at home incorporating the book, The Sixty-eight Rooms reviewed in an earlier post.
Connecting with Music
Other than the light strum of a harp in the French Anteroom, the Escape from Thorne Mansion interactive missed an opportunity to couple era music with the room design. So, I’ve decided to pick up where the Art Institute of Chicago has left off and pair a few Thorne Room images with sounds from the time (click the widget to the right of the image to listen).
The Thorne Miniature Rooms create an amazing opportunity to connect history, literature, and music with art and design. How else do the Thorne Miniature Rooms connect to your curriculum?
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).
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)
- Download and install software created by Johnny Chung Lee.
- Open Bluetooth on your computer (if you don’t have bluetooth, an external device can be connected)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Plug in your projector to your computer so that your computer projects on the wall.
- 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.
- Click “Calibrate” on your computer
- You will see an “+” in the upper left hand corner of the projected screen image.
- Use the infrared pen to click on the middle of the “+”.
- 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)
- 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).
Some fun websites to try . . .
Do you have any other websites that might be useful for an Interactive Whiteboard? Please let us know in the comments area below.
We were excited to view The Art Institute of Chicago’s new Modern Wing at the educator open house. The new edition designed by Renzo Piano makes the Art Institute of Chicago the second largest art museum in the United States. The layout and design of the new galleries that now house the museums 20th and 21st century art collections are impressive but, as educators we were truly amazed by the new Ryan Education Center.
The new eduction space boasts five classrooms, three huge studios, the new Crown Family Education Center and the new David and Marilyn Fatt Vitale Family Orientation Room. Not only are these educational spaces truly state of the art but, have one of the most sought after views in the city as they look onto Millennium Park. The image above was taken on my phone in one of the new studios.
Along with the fantastic educational space , The Art Institute previewed new interactive software and resources featuring pieces from their collections. This July they lunched that material online in an interactive website for kids called the Curious Corner. The site is geared more towards the elementary age child but, also has resources for educators and parents. Visitors can choose form three different categories of interactive games such as Story Time, Match Up and Play with Art. The Match up section is one of our favorites it lets you match texture, shape or sound. Below is a short clip of some of the interactive games children can explore on the site.
(Trouble viewing this video? Try this link.)
Below is a couple of ideas for utilizing the Curious Corner in the classroom.
- Use the “Story Time” games as an introduction to teaching children about the messages, stories and meaning behind many pieces of art.
- Use the “Match Up” sound game as an individual activity for analyzing the parts of a work of art. As a student matches each sound to different area of a piece of art they will notice new details and better understand what is happening in the image.
- Use the Cornell Box section of the “Play with Art” game to have students create a still life that is meaningful to themselves. Print the completed computer still life images and have students use the grid drawing processes to enlarge the image. Choose a media such as colored pencil or chalk for students to add detail to their personal still life drawings.
- Use the “Match Up” game as an introduction or extension activity for concepts like texture and shape.
Share how you could utilize this site in your classroom in the comments section below?
(Trouble viewing video? Try this link.)
Check out MTV Engine Room as the visual creators of a new generation battle for top bragging rights. International teams of young artists compete in a series of multimedia challenges for the chance to control the famous New York Times Square billboard. A great way to show students real world applications of art.