Teaching from an iPad

January 24, 2013 Part of the experiment of this semester is how to teach from my iPad. I like to record my lectures and make the videos available on the web. The procedure I use is worth documenting here later, I might do it here later this term, as part of the larger context of what I am doing… but for today, I wanted to explain what I have done for teaching from the iPad.

First, I am using the slides that come with the book by Harton and Pyla, "The UX Book". The book website http://www.theuxbook.net, has lots of good information about the book. The publisher's site has the Powerpoints for the material. Like many professors, I usually edit the slides to match the order of presentation that is more natural for me. From the slides, I produce a PDF and then I place them on the course website.

My original idea was to present from my iPad using a PDF viewer so that I could write scribbles on the slides. I thought I would save the version of the slides at the end of the lecture with my scribbles, but I rarely have "significant" content in my scribbles. More likely is me underlining and highlighting parts of the slides. Since the lecture is video recorded, I wouldn't need that.

Now, on to the video recording. I typically use QuickTime Player and record the whole screen of my class. I have used Camtasia in the past but find that QT works just as well and it is simpler to setup (just one button). After the class, I export the video to different resolutions using QT Player and then move those files to my website.

To accomodate the iPad, what I did was looked around for software that would allow me to AirPlay to the laptop. I found a piece of software called Reflector http://www.reflectorapp.com which basically turns your Mac (there is a Windows version) into an AirPlay receiver. That is, from my iPad I can select AirPlay to my Mac. Since the Mac is connected to the classroom projector, all students get to see what I am doing on my iPad. And more importantly, since the Mac is recording its own screen, I get a QuickTime capture of what my iPad is doing in class.

The cool part is that Reflector allows multiple iPads to connect to it at the same time. It shrinks each so that they occupy 1/2 of the screen. This is fantastic for a classroom, as I can put up some notes and ask a student to put up his/her iPad with his/her notes. Again, over the semester, I will be sharing situations that might have occurred in the classroom where AirPlay and the iPads come into play.

Some of the other tools I have been using include:

  • The Bamboo Stylus Solo http://www.wacom.com/en/products/stylus/bamboo-stylus/solo
  • Different PDF annotator softare, among them: iAnnotate PDF and PDF Expert.
  • Several free hand drawing apps, among them: Adobe Ideas, ShowMe, Sketch Rolls, Paper, and Nebulous.
  • And of course, Safari and Chrome.

Finally, I needed to add a wireless microphone (hands-free). I selected the xTag USB from revolabs http://www.revolabs.com/products_wm/xtag.htm. I liked it because it was small enough and was about the only one I found that was not a headset mic. I didn't want to be wearing a headset in class…

This page has links to the videos for the first day of classes. http://dopey.cs.vt.edu/courses/lecture/cs5714-S13/01-22.xml Check them out to see the quality of the recording. I used the microphone from day 2 and one, so check out the difference in the audio comparing against day 1.

That's all for now… more to come later.

-- Manuel

Posted on 01/24/2013





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