This is an excerpt from a post on classroom 2.0 for a question about smartboards vs. promethean boards. It still bothers me that significant amounts of money are spent on certain “educational” tools when incredibly less expensive alternatives are available.
Recently, I decided I better give [Interactive Whiteboards] a full test ride, but my school wasn’t about to fork over several thousand for a board. Instead, as part of a summer school class, I had my students build a wiimote whiteboard for me. They supplied the wiimotes, I supplied the projector, and we built some infrared pens together. The total cost for the supplies for the infrared pens (we made six of them) and two batteries for the wiimote was about $20.
The students made a wiki all about it. Check it our HERE.
The only problem was that a maximum of two kids could work on the board at one time. Everyone thought it was neat, but most of the class was just sitting there waiting for their turn at the board (there were only six kids in the class). There are a lot of things I can use it for, but there isn’t much I can do with it that I can’t do with a projector on the whiteboard.
My advice is to scrap the whole interactive whiteboard idea and make sure every teacher has a projector in the classroom. You’d have to have this anyway with the whiteboard. With all the money you have left over, buy a bunch of laptops. These will be much more useful to the students than a gigantic monstrosity of a board that renders a regular whiteboard useless. If you still want the functionality buy a wiimote and a infrared light from Radio Shack for about 1% the cost of an interactive whiteboard.