Innovation in Education

IDF Fall 2008 - Technology is an important building block in education, and with a little ingenuity, it doesn't have to cost the earth.

Sticking with the importance of education, Craig Barrett invited Dr Johnny Chung Lee up on stage to talk about the innovations that he has made for the classroom. Lee forms part of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and as such researches the way that we, as humans, interact with computers, with a mind to improving that interaction.

Lee demonstrated how he had created an electronic white board using a Nintendo Wii remote as the base component. The demonstration showed how using simple and cheap equipment, the classroom experience could be enhanced. Considering that electronic white boards are far from cheap, the ability to create one using something as simple and cheap as a Wii remote is great news for cash strapped schools.

Lee has documentation and instructions to replicate all his projects on his website, and actively encourages others to make use of his ideas. He also encourages others to create their own innovations, and gave two important pieces of advice to any would be inventors:

1) Always document and share your research – if you’re going to create something, make sure that others can benefit from your work and perhaps even improve on it.

2) Don’t become overly obsessed with performance – Lee was keen to point out that you’re better off bringing something useful to the table, even if it doesn’t perform as well as you might have initially wanted it to.

If you want to learn more about Lee’s creations using the Wii remote, check out his website by clicking here.

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