Stephen Morris Blogs

AirSketch for the iPad

(iPad Study) Permanent link

Another interesting iPad application is AirSketch from qrayon. This application allows you to mirror to a web browser on a computer running on the same Wi-Fi network what you are drawing on the iPad. The computer can be projecting the web page onto a screen for students to watch. Initially I did not see much value in having college students in a classroom watch me draw squiggles on a sketch pad. However, AirSketch allows you to have pictures as background images which can be written upon. Aha! I have often shown in my classroom pages out of a textbook – tables, charts, worked-out examples, etc. I have used document cameras and marked the documents up for the class. I have converted documents to pdf’s and used Adobe Acrobat to view them and the clunky mouse interface to annotate and mark up pdf’s for students watching on the big screen. But now I can convert those documents to a jpg, put them into a picture folder on the iPad, easily pull up the picture as my wallpaper, and draw on it. I am now untethered to the lectern! As long as there is a Wi-Fi network to connect the iPad and computer, I can walk around the classroom, demonstrate to individual students while carrying my iPad, and using a stylus (or my finger) draw on the relevant diagram, chart, or whatever else I care to show students, while my markings show up for everyone to see. This program can also be used for students using the iPad for group work to share their creations with the rest of the class on the big screen.

iAnnotate for the iPad

(iPad Study) Permanent link

There are several iPad applications which I have found productive to use. One is called iAnnotate which allows the user to annotate on pdf’s. I have used this program to make comments on exams and papers, and then emailed the marked up pdf back to the students. What is nice about this program on the iPad is not that it does anything that could not be done before (Adobe Acrobat allowed annotations and comments), but the iPad works like a very portable tablet PC, and this application lends itself to the iPad interface. You can use a stylus or the keyboard to make notes and comments. The iPad is combining the concept of the tablet PC with the desktop or laptop computer and putting it into a small, very personal package. iAnnotate takes advantage of that interface. The touch screen interface of the iPad is also a key feature for this application – you can zoom into an area of the document, write your notes, and then zoom out and the comments can be the same size as the text. You can even write between the lines if the students haven’t double spaced the document.

University of San Francisco iPad Study

(iPad Study) Permanent link

I am part of the University of San Francisco’s iPad study. 40 faculty members have been given the basic iPad (no 3G, 16 GB) and are trying to figure how to use the device in an educational setting. In my role as Director of Technology Innovation for the School of Business and Professional Studies, I am examining the iPad with an eye not only towards productivity gains for both faculty and students, but to see if the iPad can actually improve student learning outcomes.