Things I’ve leared this week

October 17, 2008 § Leave a comment

First of all, I am not smarter than a fifth grader.

One of our high schools put on a game show last night as a fund raiser for their senior class. They asked our department several weeks ago to help with the tech side, so I spent most of this week putting together the game board in SMART notebook, and I ran the tech last night for the “show.”

You probably can’t see all of the technology in this picture, but I’ll describe how we set it up.

First, in the lower center of the picture is my laptop, which I ran from the behind the lower part of the auditorium. It ran through a 50 foot VGA cable to a projector in the lighting booth. The laptop has a bluetooth module which was connected to a SMART airliner slate on the stage. Which is another thing I learned. Even though the specs on bluetooth say that it’s good for 16 meters, we stretched that limit and came out fine.

I had a second CPU set up on the stage with an interactive scoreboard done in Flash. The student running the scoreboard used a wireless mouse, also stretching the limits of the wireless capabilities and came out like a champ.

Using the “freeze” option on the projector, I was able to show the question, freeze the screen, then switch to a slide where the student could write their answer using the airliner slate. If we needed the student to “save” the contestant, or peek at their answer, I could unfreeze the screen. If not, I could switch back to the categories screen, all without showing the audience what I was doing, then unfreeze the screen when we were ready to proceed.

The 5th graders did a pretty good job of using the airliner. It’s hard to write when you can’t actually see what you’re writing and there were a couple of times where they forgot to select a pen on the slate before they started writing, but overall, it was pretty glitch-free.

I learned that the technology behind game shows really isn’t that much different than what we’re using in our own classrooms, and that running a game show like this can be done with a trunk full of equipment and two people.

The setup, though, take a lot of time and energy in order to make for a smooth outcome. I had a lot of fun doing it, but I’m glad it’s over.

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