Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Digital (or Virtual) Word Wall

This is an idea I got in 2006 when I first started working in education. I would walk into classrooms and see entire walls filled with paper printed and laminated, containing the vocabulary words for the week. When you consider schools are in session 9 months out of the year (not counting the breaks during the year), that adds up to a lot of paper, toner and laminate. Why can't we do this digitally?

It took a year before I found a way (okay a rough way) to make this happen.

I bought a digital photo frame (roughly 10 - 15 inches in diameter), made PowerPoint slides of technology vocabulary terms, saved them as jpeg pictures, put them on a flash drive and plugged the flash drive into the photo frame. Quite the process, but it worked.

Here's a picture of the finished product:

When I first started this, I did this for the vocab words:

Then I learned how to get the rotation function on the photo frame to work and was able to make a file folder of these:

What would be on my wish list for this?

1. A bigger screen, backlit to make it easier to see in a classroom

2. It needs it's own memory. The photo frame I used didn't have it's own memory, so you had to use an adapter to plug in a flash drive.

3. Wireless File Transfer: Instead of having to plug in a flash drive to transfer the picture files, instead I would love to be able to transfer the files either via Bluetooth transfer, or, with the case of Apple, using the Apple Remote Desktop.

4. The ability to use a wireless tablet or iPad/iPod to remotely control the slideshow and be able to write on top of it, like you do with interactive whiteboards.

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