I have never been a big fan of the Interactive Whiteboards (IWB). We continually cry for more student-centric problem-based learning curriculum and then we introduce these BIG TICKET devices to maintain the teacher’s control of the classroom. Where is the sense in that? We need to provide a system where the control is in the students’ hands. That IS the definition of student-centric.
IWB proponents say that we can use the Interactive Slates (e.g., Promethean Activslate) but they cost $600 a piece. What if we could spread them out so that the students have access to these slates? What if they could help control them from their seats by themselves or in small groups? What if we could do this with the iPads that we already have along with some modestly priced software apps? Sure, iPads cost $500, but you can use them for so many more things than just controlling the projector screen.
I was reading Wesley Fryer’s Moving at the Speed of Creativity blog when I happened upon his posting about Using iPads as IWBs for $5 or $10. In that posting (and I strongly suggest you read it) he introduced us to Dr. Tim Tyson who has created some quickcasts that tell you how to turn your iPads into interactive slates that can control your screen from your seat for a paltry price.
The strategy is simple. You need to have some software that will enable you to share screens between your iPad and your computer (Mac or Windows). This means that when you move things around on your iPad, it will appear on the projected screen. I found such software a few weeks ago when I purchased the app, Air Display, for $10. It easy to use and you remember that I used it to add a third screen to my laptop (Triple Screens on My MacBook Pro.)
Once you have this capability, your ability to interact with the screen will require some screen annotation and screen capture software. Believe it or not, this is available at a reasonable price.
Screen Annotation Software: Technically, you can’t use IWB-specific software to run your iPad. You might be able to download a personal version for free from a commercial website (e.g., Promethean) but it is supposed to me used on a Promethean board. I did a little investigating and found that Promethean has a SPECIAL SITUATION offer. They WILL allow you to use the Personal version of ActivInspire on a non-Promethean board “solely for the purpose of operating Resources available from Promethean Planet on non-Promethean hardware.” You just have to apply for a Teacher Consent License. You apply and they approve/disapprove it in 5 days.
If that doesn’t fit your needs, you can purchase some useful software for a reasonable price. Dr. Tim suggests Ink2Go. It provides annotation and screen captures for $20. I haven’t purchased it, but the video in Dr. Tim’s #3 Quickcast showed it to be pretty good. I think that Wes is being overly optimistic when he says that you can get this set-up for $10, but you can get it for $30 and that’s a pretty good deal. Wes recommends getting a Pogo Stylus for $15 to improve your accuracy, and that looks like a pretty good idea.
Is this going to work for us? Kathy Schrock says that she has been doing it for a few weeks at her schools and love it to death. I look forward to going to school and trying this on our Promethean Boards. You will want to watch Dr. Tim’s videos and set yourself up to have a personal IWB on your iPad.
What do you think? Will this fit your needs?
Leave a comment and keep the discussion going.