Thursday, May 31, 2012

Universal Interactive Whiteboard Software - top 3 so far

Don't you wish there was a universal interactive whiteboard program - that could work on any IWB whether it was a home made WiiMote to a $10000 interactive LCD/LED screen. One that had all the functions you needed and could save to a couple of file formats that just about anyone could open content. Oh and cross platform too please.

Me too - still haven't found it yet either.

But here are 3 that come close...

eBeam ScrapBook. My pick for Primary to middle school, ebeam scapbook is a solid IWB program that does not require you to own an eBeam or have one connected for it to work. With things like video and stroke playback, the ability to bring in just about any image file plus flash animations and video its a well rounded package. Saves as either proprietary, HTML PDF, PPT, JPG, or PNG. Cross platform.

Microsoft OneNote. Seriously overlooked and most people don't even know they have it. This is my pick for middle and high schools plus tertiary and training centres. Great range of tools and drawing capability. The handwriting recognition is fantastic and the math symbol recognition is great if a little buggy. The sharing function is great if you are online and want to share your notebook.
Saves files as Onenote, PDF, DOC, HTML.

Open Sankore. I've just come across this and Wow! - Just wow! Free and fantastic - this is a little different but once you get used to it holy cow. This is one of the most feature-full IWB programs I have come across. It's a regular IWB in many respects with a smaller gallery than most but nothing that can't be expanded. But the widgets/apps that you can add are amazing.

Imagine being able to embed just about any file from the web
Imagine having a google map working within your whiteboard - wikipedia and wikictionary as well.
Imagine being able to have a page as big as you want (scrolling)
Imagine being able to embed working websites into the document
Imagine being able to create your own widgets with a just using HTML and CSS

I'd give this a go in a classroom - the interface is non standard but does make sense and auto saves your work until you want to export it. It has a nice extended desktop function for interactive pen displays.
Exports only as Sankore or PDF.

Friday, May 25, 2012

iPads, tablets and IWB's


They are starting to pop up in primary and secondary schools all over Australia and from the blogs I read - all over the world. Mostly on a trial basis to see what teachers and students can do with them in the classroom.

One of the questions I have been asked at conferences recently is "How do I integrate my IWB with an iPad?"

There are a couple of ways to do it...

  • AppleTV method - With the release of iOS5 the new AppleTV and a new projector with HDMI - you now have a great solution to getting content from the iPad to the projector wirelessly. 
    • How does it work? Connect the AppleTV to your projector and link it in with the same wireless network as the iPad. The iPad will recognise that there is and AppleTV on the network and let you mirror what is on the ipad to the AppleTV and therefore the projector.
    • The downside to this is that anyone with a iPad will be able to push their iPad screen to any AppleTV screen on the network. In some schools that would be too much temptation for some kids.
  • Cloud Whiteboard solution - Use something like the eBeam connect cloud whiteboard. This lets you control who gets to participate and track participation. With the additional free app of eBeam Snapcam students/teachers can send photos to the whiteboard. It will also work with laptops and Android tablets as well.
    • How does it work? You connect your laptop to the IWB as per normal - go to eBeam connect, login and start a new board. up in settings there will be a meeting number that you can show to students so they can also join the board after logging in on the iPad.
    • The downside - Its a bit slow at the moment due to it being a beta program based in the US. 
If you know of any other way to integrate the two technologies feel free to leave a comment so I can follow it up.