Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tegrity and iPads in the Classroom

I’ve been interested for some time in how instructors are using iPads in the classroom so I was particularly excited to attend “Tegrity + Tablets = A win-win for connected instructors” at the annual Tegrity Users Conference last week in Seattle.  Professor Kevin Walters demonstrated an intriguing set of techniques that I couldn’t wait to try myself.  He has figured out a way to walk into any classroom on his campus and , without installing anything on the lectern computer, have the presentation that is displayed on his iPad screen appear on the overhead projector in such a way that he can walk around the room, advancing his slides and writing on them with a stylus.

Step-by-step here is what he does:

1.       Save his presentation to dropbox as a PDF.  He also uses PPspliT, which is a PowerPoint add-in that splits animation effects into different slides.

2.       Open the presentation on the iPad using a ten dollar app called Air Sketch, which lets you annotate PDF documents and images live. On the iPad you can an IP number that you can then copy into the browser window of a computer on the same local network and then annotatefrom the iPad in real time.
3.       Start recording from the lectern PC using Tegrity.

All the processor and network intensive stuff happens on the lectern machine and the iPad just has to run the PDF viewer.

I downloaded Air Sketch and tried it myself.  It worked great on an open network although I have heard of people running into firewall issues on certain campus networks.

Another PDF reader that Professor Walters referenced was GoodReader, which I didn’t try as Air Sketch worked fine.  

Another app that I downloaded (for $5 this time) was Splashtop.  With Splashtop you can do an install on your PC and log into your Google account and then run Splashtop on the iPad and log into the same Google account.  Once you have done this, you can ‘see’ the PC from the iPad and take control.  I was able to run Photoshop, enable VPN, and do anything else my PC can do, but from my iPad – well worth the five bucks!

Another thing that I want to do but have haven’t had success with yet, is to have my iPad view go directly to an overhead projector wirelessly.  I have an iPad to VGA projector cable but to add wireless it looks like I will need to spend $100 on an Apple TV receiver and probably another $50 on an HDMI to VGA adapter for it if I want to use the airplay setup in classrooms with older equipment.

Screenshot from iPad remotely launching Photoshop.

1 comment:

  1. I accomplish a similar feat using www.doceri.com. The attraction for me was something as simple as their stylus. I can have my students draw on my wireless iPad (tracing a wiring diagram for example) having it project on the big screen via PowerPoint. The Doceri stylus is superior because it has a built in "eraser". Flip the stylus over and it recognizes it as an eraser. It also recognizes the palm of the person drawing on the iPad thus ignoring unintended palm gestures. I did use Splashtop but that was a problem for students because of their palm on the iPad screen causing all kinds of unintended activity.

    My biggest challenge has actually been our campus wifi network. It has not always been the most user friendly for things such as this. It completely blocks Apple TV as an example which would make direct wireless iPad to big screen use a cinch!