As we experiment with iPads as a teaching tool, we’ve found a number of helpful tools that we recommend as a first point of investigation (although folks trying to solve particular problems or accomplish particular goals may want to dig deeper or further, and you should feel free to consult with Academic Technology for assistance in that digging!)
Projecting what’s on the iPad screen
You can get a dongle to physically connect an HDMI or VGA cable to the iPad. This is lousy, as the cable tends to fall out, and you end up awkwardly tethered in place, probably at an additionally awkward angle. Ugh.
We use AirPlay, which is the built in video-streaming technology on the iPad, to stream wirelessly from the iPad to some device that we can leave tethered to the projector — either an AppleTV or a laptop running Reflector in Mac OS or Windows.
Reflector essentially makes a computer look like an AppleTV to an iPad (or iPhone… or even another computer). And it provides some additional cool features: for example, you can stream multiple devices to the same Reflector app, and it will tile the different streams on the projection, a là the Brady Bunch (AppleTV would force you to choose only one stream to display).
If you are on the St. Mark’s faculty, you can download the trial version of Reflector and use the license code in this document to install it on your computer. (If you are told we need additional licenses, just let Academic Technology know.)
Control/annotate your computer from your iPad
In this case, Doceri is a good choice. You need to install the free iOS app on your iPad and the desktop controller on your computer. You can then connect to your computer wirelessly to control presentations (or other apps) from your iPad and to annotate those presentations from your iPad as you go.
As with Reflector, we have a school license for Doceri, and St. Mark’s faculty should use the license code in this document.
Hand-written notes and diagrams on the iPad
There are a bazillion options out there on the App Store, and we encourage you to find the one that best matches your needs. However, many St. Mark’s faculty have been pleased with Notability as a versatile tool for writing hand-written notes and diagrams legibly. It does not convert handwritten notes to text, but it does allow you to automatically save PDFs of your notes to Google Drive or Dropbox. For many faculty, this is often a first purchase on their “iPad Allowance“.
The general counsel that we provide is: don’t ever lock yourself into a particular app or ecosystem if you can avoid it. That is, if the only way to access your notes (or anything else) is through that specific app on that specific device, you are at grave risk should you ever lose, damage or upgrade that device. Ideally, all of your data will be stored elsewhere, such as Google Drive, and stored in a format that can be reused in other apps.