caramida: (teacher)
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posted by [personal profile] caramida at 07:44pm on 29/01/2010 under , , ,
Wanted: Someone who can help me figure out what I need to turn an iPad into a teaching appliance. I have a nebulous list of features in my head (including running in-classroom A/V switching and management), and I'd love to see it put into practice. I just don't have the tools or knowledge to implement this.

Anyone game?
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There are 13 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] at 03:55am on 30/01/2010
Did someone give you one for free? 'cause, not to be snippy, but that's about the only reason I see for such an exercise. The iPad is not really suited for that use. It doesn't multi-task, it doesn't have USB, it doesn't... really... do much useful at all.

You'd be much better going with an iBook.
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posted by [identity profile] at 05:06am on 30/01/2010
Not what I'm going for. I want a tablet I can carry around my classroom.

Multitasking is overrated if you have fast enough processing. The iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad apps take you right back to where you left off when you return. I like the idea of a quick, relatively inexpensive, tablet device that I can use to run my classroom A/V, to build a more interactive multimedia experience.
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posted by [identity profile] at 05:07am on 30/01/2010
If there's another piece of $500 tech that will do the things I want while being something I can carry around the classroom, show me.
posted by [identity profile] at 05:29am on 30/01/2010
I guess I'm confused. What are you going to do, A/V-wise, with the iPad? Run movies on it? What's switching and management?
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posted by [identity profile] at 05:55am on 30/01/2010
At UCB each of the big lecture rooms has a touchscreen that controls all the AV in the room. It allows you to switch from one video input to another, to run the DVD player, to raise and lower volume, to raise and lower the video screen, etc. The touchscreen was a sort of super-remote that ran a hardware hub which controlled all of this.

I'd like to have something like that software on a tablet I can carry around. The iPad will already run basic word processing, spreadsheets, play video, etc.
posted by [identity profile] at 05:16pm on 30/01/2010
They make remote software that can do things with a Mac - i.e. open Front Row, use the DVD player application, adjust volume, etc. but I haven't seen a more "universal" remote. You might be out of luck as far as that goes. Unless you luck out and the place you're teaching has a really excellent A/V setup and the IT staff with the knowledge to set it up.

Now, most of this depends on what environment you're going to be in. If you were in, say, a situation where you were projecting a movie on to a surface - like a wall - then the projector would have either a VGA or DVI input, in which case you can connect it directly to (I think) the iPad and run a DVD/video/what have you from that. Given that's probably all high schools would have for A/V, then cool. But at that point, you'd also need good stereo speaker output too. So iPad as a media player works, but you lose the remote-ness of it. You could possibly use it as a paperwork reducer - taking roll call, etc.

My only warning is that it'd be even easier to steal, so bringing it on campus is something you'd want to keep your eye on at all times.
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posted by [identity profile] at 05:37pm on 30/01/2010
In my imagination, it's software running a Bluetooth connection to the hardware media controller that connects to a Digital Projector. So I guess I need a designer as well as just a software engineer.

In addition, I'd love to have the roll-taking capability, but that could be another piece of software.
posted by [identity profile] at 06:55pm on 31/01/2010
I'm no iPad hater, but IMO iPad is primarily a good replacement for paper. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do with just one sheet of paper in a classroom environment. For that reason, one iPad is probably not that useful for your purposes. If every student had an iPad, that might be different; alternately, it could be good for one-on-one tutoring. (iPad is much more shareable than a laptop or monitor.)

If you just want to control AV equipment, an iPhone or iPod Touch is probably better. (Who needs all those pixels?)
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posted by [identity profile] at 03:39am on 01/02/2010
There are many school districts/schools that ban the use of cell-phones in class, even by teachers, even smart phones, even iPhones. Also, I would want to use it as a direct teaching tool, as well.
posted by [identity profile] at 03:58am on 01/02/2010
For AV I still think an iPod Touch would be better (it's not a cell phone) but if an iPad is the only way they'll let you bring it in, then so be it.

Anyway, for remote purposes, I'm pretty sure you just want this: It will also plug into an iPad.

Re: direct teaching tool, that's what I was attempting to argue against in my earlier post. A dozen people can't even really *see* an iPad all at once. How would you use it for teaching?
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posted by [identity profile] at 05:26am on 01/02/2010
First, there are many times when you are just working with a student or two, and something the size of a tablet would work fine for that, certainly better than a Touch. There's so much more real estate. Also, if you can do real-time mirroring from the iPad to a projection screen, it's something that all students can see. Plus something that size (I wouldn't mind a pc-style tablet computer at a more reasonable price, for that matter) is much easier to work with. There's a certain amount of direct concentration needed to manipulate a 3.5" diagonal screen.
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posted by [identity profile] at 05:28am on 01/02/2010
I can't easily pull up or wikipedia, for example, and show it to two or three students on my iPod Touch at a resolution that they can read it from 4-6 feet away.
posted by [identity profile] at 05:43am on 01/02/2010
I certainly agree that iPad is good for sharing with a small number of students.

Do you (can you?) currently use (e.g.) Powerpoint today? With a laptop? Or some other PC?


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