For the past couple of years, we’ve had a couple of teachers requesting SMARTBoards for their middle school classrooms. The request has evolved a bit as teachers wanted the interactivity in their projection. Considering the evolving nature of our middle school teams (teachers change grade level teaching teams and classrooms fairly often), we’ve been hesitant to invest in the expeninstallation purchase and installation. Currently, all middle school teachers have tabletpcs and projectors in their classrooms, but we would still like toincrease our student interactivity options. Here are some of the pieces we’ve used or tested:
- Various “notebook” apps with inking on our tablets. A few faculty used the SMART Notebook until SMART clarified its EULA to state using it without a SMART product was illegal.
- Classroom management and screensharing software – Dyknow, SMART Sync, etc.
- OneNote shared notebooks – we began using these several years ago and teachers who were early adopters are beginning to move beyond it.
- Synchronous collaboration tools – IWB websites, Google Docs (more on this in the future)
- Low-end IWBs – MIMIO, interactive projectors, Wiimote projectors
- Document cameras
- Wireless projectors
I think I’ve finally found what we’ve been looking for – iPads. I know – tons of hype and we already have tablet laptops for all of our kids, but the iPad offers something we haven’t had befowireless reliable wireless collaboration tool. Here’s what I want for each teacher exploring this concept:
- An iPad
- An AppleTV
- An HDMI converter
- SplashtopDV ($4.99 as of today – limited time pricing)
- Projector and VGA cable (We already have these)
- Content-area apps
- Some of the IWB apps
- Teachers can use the iPad as a remote for their school computer while the computer is connected to the projector (VGA). This can help teacher classroom management as the teacher is able to circulate around the room. The iPad can be passed from student to student to demo/practice/share. I’ve tested Splashtop with OneNote on my school tabletpc, and it was pretty slick.
- Teachers can use one of the many content-specific or presentation apps projecting remotely via the AppleTV. Again, this can be passed from student to student.
I think this configuration would provide more bang for the buck than a SMARTBoard, especially with middle and high school students. My theory has always been to choose the best most flexible and inexpensive tools for the job(s) at hand. This feels like we’ve found it.
What else would you add?