Interactive Whiteboards in Australia

News, ideas and discussion about interactive whiteboards in education

Posts Tagged ‘software’

Exploring 3D shapes on an IWB using Google SketchUp

Posted by rosiemacalpine on January 30, 2009

In a recent post on Promethean Planet forums, Mark Robinson suggested using Google SketchUp to create 3D shapes with a class. That prompted me to have a look at the program. I was initially worried that it would be too technical, but the good news is that it is very easy to start looking at shapes on the board. Here’s a quick video showing how to use it.

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Step 1: Download and install.

It’s about 40mb and can be downloaded here

Step 1b (optional): Watch this 3 minute video on how to get started in SketchUp.

Step 2. Open the program


I clicked Choose template, then choose the second simple template, then clicked the button at the bottom (Start using SketchUp)

3. Start drawing!

Click on a square or circle to add shapes to the page. Then use these tools to explore.

image Click on this tool, then click on your flat square or circle, and drag. You’ve turned a flat shape into a 3D shape!

image Click here then drag over your picture to view your shapes from any viewpoint.

image Use the zoom tool to zoom and out.

It’s a powerful program but I really liked that it’s simple enough to get started straight away. I would love to leave this on the board for a group of students, leave them to explore and see what they discover!


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Saving time with drag and drop

Posted by rosiemacalpine on December 8, 2008

As I’ve become more confident with using my whiteboard and the software, I’ve discovered some quick tricks to getting things on to my flipchart page. These tricks have been tested with Windows XP and Activstudio – however, it’s worth experimenting with other software and nd operating systems in case some of them work for you, too.

1. Arranging windows.

This is something I use a lot and it’s a big time saver. You can use the buttons in your right hand corner of the screen to minimize your window or change the size of it. Instead of manually adding files or pictures through a menu, you can just drag them on.

When you use these buttons to restore down a window, it usually makes it only slightly smaller (which is not all that useful as you still can’t see your other windows). However, you can now drag the  drag this window so it only covers half the screen. Next time you arrange  it,  it will automatically go to this size.

One more thing:  You can also double-click the title bar (the blue bar at the top of the window) to make your window smaller or return it to the full size. Much quicker!

2. Dragging things from your web browser

In the picture below, I’ve got a Wikipedia page about quokkas in one window, and my flipchart page in the other.


To drag a picture, click on the picture then hold down your left mouse button and drag it onto the other page. In Activstudio you get a pop-up menu asking if you want to add it as text or an image. Choose Image – choosing add text will add the web address of the image to your page.

To add text, select it with your cursor then drag it across.

3. Adding things from your desktop/ other windows.

You can also add sounds (wav or mp3), videos, and other files from your desktop or from folders.  For example:

  • A downloaded YouTube video of building a bridge to kick off your lesson on forces
  • A Word file of the worksheet that accompanies your lesson – so you will find it again next time you use the flipchart
  • A sound file of a rainforest parrot, which you have made transparent and added over the top of a picture of the parrot (found on google images)
  • A picture of your class on excursion, set to the background of your page

When you drag these types of files on, you have the option of adding them as links or as embedded files. I would also recommend adding them as embedded files. If you add them as links you have to keep the original file in the same place. If you’ve made a flipchart for school using a picture from your home desktop you won’t be able to see it on another computer.

Choosing the embed option keeps a copy of the file inside the flipchart so you can always get it. You can share it with other teachers and they will also be able to see your added videos, sounds or other files.

And as always, check copyright before using other people’s stuff.

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