Friday, June 17, 2011

Splashtop Whiteboard lets you turn your iPad into an interactive whiteboard

     I downloaded Slashtop Remote a few weeks ago and love using it. I find it to be fairly reliable and stable for connecting with my computer and love that I can view everything on my computer  remotely on my iPad. You can access all content from your computer on your iPad ( Flash content, videos, music, etc) and the sound is transferred to your iPad with high quality.  For those looking for a remote viewer, it is a good app which is available for $2.99 on the App Store and a free version is also available to test it out. 

     The company has recently released Splashtop Whiteboard  for $9.99 on the App Store, which has all of the functions of Splashtop Remote with the additional ability to turn your iPad into an interactive whiteboard. 

     Once connected, you can choose to annotate on the screen you are viewing or open a background to create a pretty decent alternative to expensive options like the Smart Board or the Promethean Board. Of course, it is not as advanced in the tools available but is still quite good and a far cheaper option. For just $10 you get the basic functions of an interactive whiteboard with the additional bonus of not being stuck at the front of the room. You can move about and even pass your iPad to students to let them add their contributions. 

     The app is new and could use some improvements. The arrows at the top of the toolbar let you change slides in Powerpoints but I couldn't get them to work to actually create new pages and navigate between them. Instead, I needed to create a screenshot of my pages and then open them again using the gallery. This is not too bad but it would be much better if the arrow keys made this possible. 

     There are few apps out there that produce highly natural text when writing with your finger, and this one doesn't fair a whole lot better. You can easily switch to the virtual keyboard, however, if you wish to produce more professional looking text on the screen. I will likely get myself a stylus in hopes that it will help me write better on the screen. 

How to get it and use it: 

     To use either Splashtop Remote or Splashtop Whiteboard, you will need to download the streamer onto your computer and then download the app from the App Store which currently costs $9.99. I think that this is a great price for what it does. I had recently tested Doceri which has a free app but costs $50 for each computer you install it on. I also found that the connection with Doceri was spotty, with it frequently getting disconnected from the computer. I had only tested it briefly so can't be sure if the bad connection was related to the software or the internet connection. 

Is it worth getting: 

     If your school has tons of money to spend, then it would be worthwhile to get high end interactive white board. However, if this isn't the case but you do have an iPad in your classroom, then this is a very cost effective way to transform your iPad into an interactive whiteboard. For $9.99, you really can't go wrong.