iPad Student Diaries #8: ReplayNote special

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I’ve said it time and again; the iPad is an awesome device for school use, both as a student and as a teacher. I’ve done an iPad student diaries special before with another teacher specific app, AirSketch, and ReplayNote is another awesome app that deserves a bit of spotlight.

ReplayNote is essentially a tool that lets you turns notes and audio recordings into video for easy sharing. You start the recording, draw whatever you want and narrate your drawing for a maximum of 20 pages and 10 minutes. This is then turned into a video which when played back will show the process of drawing with your audio commentary on top. The final video will be uploaded to YouTube in 720p resolution, or shared in ReplayNote format with someone who has the app.

The point of this app is to allow people to share notes easily in a way that is a lot more like showing someone something on paper. Imagine being a math teacher who gets an email from a student on how to solve an equation, and then replying with a short 60 second narrated video explanation showing the whole process- without him ever having to leave the couch. I’ve already used this to show a friend of mine how to solve an equation, and it was a lot easier than trying to explain it over IM. You can also insert text and pictures, which means this can also be used for a rudimentary screen cast for the iPad, meaning you can take a lot of screenshots and them combine them to make a video tutorial.

The app is a bit limited in some ways right now though. For one, you can’t set up your pages before starting the recording, so if you want to use a lot of pictures and such you need to insert this on the fly. There’s also no support for importing documents, like power point presentations.I can imagine a whole range of features you could add to this, such as integrating the iPad 2’s front facing camera for a video-over rather than voice-over.

It will also only export to ReplayNote’s YouTube channel, which means that you have no control over your creation once it’s up. There is that option for sharing with another ReplayNote user, however this makes it a bit too proprietary in my opinion, requiring the receiver to have an iPad. This is a brand new app though so I’m sure future updates will bring more features. Some might not care if their videos are public and in someone else’s hands, but I think most would prefer using their own YouTube channel and disabling public listing so that only those with a link can view the file- or maybe just those who are invited. That would make it easier to use this in class, where you could control who sees it.

The concept is quite brilliant though, and I was surprised how streamlined everything is even though it’s only version 1.03. It uploads fast as hell, though the conversion to YouTube format is still dependent on YouTube. There is also a special web interface for viewing the video and sharing it, but you can also view it on YouTube. The app is $4.99, which is very cheap for such an app regardless of iOS pricing traditions or $0.99-$1.99 even for very advanced apps. I can’t wait to see this app in a few months, when they’ll hopefully have the privacy issue fixed.

Update: I contacted the people behind ReplayNote and they gave me some information on upcoming releases. The first updated, expected in about 3 weeks, will address the privacy issue with using a public YouTube account and allow personal ones. The release after that will address preparation of images in order to record using a finished presentation. As for document support, they had no idea as it’s a complicated feature and they don’t have many people. That’s the least important feature though, as you can always get documents into the app by saving them as photos (simply use the screenshot feature built into the iPad!).

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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