Ok, this is just a personal project I’ve been working on, but I thought I’d post pictures because it’s been kind of fun to tackle.
I’ve hacked together an old Nintendo NES controller, a card reader, and a USB hub. The components I chose fit surprisingly well inside the controller down to the location of the cord. All I really needed to do was to cut a couple of access slots and scrape out some of the guts so everything would fit. This necessitated gluing the buttons back, thereby making them non-functional, but it was worth it. At first glance, you don’t realize it’s not an actual controller. But, plug in a couple of USB devices and an SD memory card and the differences are obvious.
Why post this here? Well in addition to being a neat thing, I think this project is akin to the Edupunk ethos that I first blogged about a couple of months ago. I’m currently developing a presentation on this idea with my friend Matt over in KSA. The gist is, if can’t find what you want, build it yourself. Not only, can you tailor your product to better suit your needs, but you’ll know how to solve any problems you encounter thereafter.
So, if you want clickers in your classroom, use Twitter or even Facebook to get it done. If you want a cool card reader, get an old NES controller from eBay. If you want an interactive whiteboard, buy a wiimote and download the free software. And, if you want something nobody’s even heard of, try cracking open the case, switching things around, and building it yourself. You’ll enjoy the challenge.