Using an iPad as an alternative to an interactive whiteboard

With more and more schools (and teachers) getting iPads, I’m increasingly being asked how a teacher can hook up their iPad to their interactive whiteboard.

There are several ways to use your iPad. The first is as a way to control your computer, and the other two involve connecting your computer directly to the projector, removing the IWB from the equation.

None of these methods let you connect your iPad to your IWB. That’s not possible right now.

1. Control your PC with Splashtop Remote

I’ve written about Splashtop Remote in the past. By using it, you can’t control the IWB directly – but you can control the computer thats connected to the IWB. The app requires you to also download and install some client software on the PC that you want to control. Both device also need to be connected to the same network for this to work. You can set up a password to prevent anyone just connecting to your PC.

The way the Splashtop app works is that when you connect to the PC, the PC’s screen is mirrored on your iPad’s screen. Simply touch and click on the icons as if you now had a touchscreen PC. This can be a problem with software that wasn’t designed for fat figners and so has small icons. You might want to pre-open something like Smart Notebook before you take control on the iPad.

Control of the computer isn’t perfect. And I do find the system can run a little slow sometimes, which can be frustrating. But if you do have an iPad it does open up a new way of using your computer/IWB setup.

The Splashtop app is only £1.49 on the UK app store, and the client software is free, so it’s not an expensive gamble. Check it out

Ipad and Splashtop

 

2. Using a VGA Cable

A simple way to display the contents of your iPad screen to a class is to buy a VGA adaptor and connect the iPad directly to a projector in exactly the same way you’d connect a laptop. This works pretty well, although you are tethered by the cable and sometimes the connector can work loose. Not every app will work in landscape mode, so you do get some flickering as the mode shifts.

This does work very well with note taking apps such as Notability = especially if you invest in a cheap stylus to make writing easier.YouTube videos, BBC iPlayer and any movie files on the iPad will play very well.

Here’s a great blogpost by Marc Faulder about using an iPad hooked up to a projector via a VGA cable.

 

3. Using Apple TV

The other way to connect your iPad to a display is to buy an Apple TV device and connect that to your projector. You can then connect your iPad to the Apple TV over a wireless network. The Apple TV connects to your projector via an HDMI cable. If your projector does not support HDMI then you’ll need a converter.

This gives you the advantage of being able to be anywhere in the classroom, and to share your screen with the class. Many apps support “Air-Play” and you can also turn on “mirroring” which does the same thing as the VGA cable and display your iPad screen.

Also see this guide by Brad Ratcliffe which explains how to set up Apple TV in your classroom.

Other Links

Here’s some great advice on using Apple TV and other methods from James Hollis.

Have you tried any of these? Got any other good links to share? Put them in the comments!

Update : Just as I published this, there has been an official announcement from Smart about their forthcoming Smart Notebook iPad app. Looks interesting. More here.

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Author: Danny Nicholson

Danny is an author, Science teacher, ICT Consultant, PGCE lecturer and computing / interactive whiteboard trainer. He has delivered training courses across the UK, in Europe, and in Canada. Please get in touch with your training requests.

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4 Comments

  1. I talk about Splashtop and Doceri, another whiteboard app, on my blog in terms of both using them and comparing them: http://whsipadpilot.wordpress.com. They’re great tools with a lot of potential (neither is perfect; I wish I could combine each of their strengths…).

  2. Thanks Kimberley – I don’t have a Mac, so haven’t used that. Sounds good!

    Cheers Ed, will go take a look at your post.

  3. Although this is an old post I’d like to say that the reflection app (now called reflector) works on windows. I love it because many devices can display at once.

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