I was watching the weekly episode of iPad Today just now and they showed a video message from a viewer. The guy in the video was a teacher, and he talked about an iPad app that is one of those apps that are complete game changers for the kind of people that would use it.
Air Sketch (On sale for $7.99) is basically smartNote for teachers: it has the same ability to draw/write on blank pages, images or PDF files as well as several different pen types and highlighters, but it adds a feature that makes all the difference: it transmits everything live to a computer, which can then be connected to a projector. What’s even more, it requires no computer-side software other than an HTML5 capable browser.
The possibilities here are endless, but the reason I’m writing this article as part of the Student Diaries series is that this is perfect for teachers- like the teacher in the video. Using the app he is able to walk around the classroom with his iPad strapped to his hand (using a case with a hand strap) and at the same time write on his iPad for all the students to see. It is quite simply a wireless, digital blackboard that is instantly compatible with any room that has a computer connected to a projector.
The college where I did my BBA had a full range of tech at their disposal, including touch screen computers allowing them to write on a screen and display it live with a projector. My current college however is a dump, at least the part of it that we’re in- there’s a computer an a projector, but that’s it (aside from an overhead projector). With an iPad and this app, a teacher would suddenly have the same capabilities as a teacher at the other college, and also walk around the classroom at the same time. The downside is that writing on a capacitive screen isn’t as accurate as writing on a screen with an active digitizer, but a little bit of practice with pan/zoom and it wouldn’t be an issue. For things like math formulas and graphs you might not even need to do that, since you can utilize the entire screen. You can instantly clear the screen, so no need to save space.
I haven’t downloaded the app myself as I’m not a teacher, but from looking at how it works and seeing videos of it in use I have to say that it’s probably one of the apps that I’m the most impressed by on the iPad, ever. It’s apps like this that show that tablets do not need to be toys- the only thing stopping them from being productivity devices is software.