Classroom Technology

Technology in the classroom is always a hot topic in academia and rightfully so – when it is bad it can break your stride during lecture and when it is good it gives you an awesome technology high. As such, I have been on the quest for the ultimate technology setup for the last four years. I am happy to report that I am getting close.

This semester I set out to change the way I deliver my lectures – I vowed to use my iPad as much as possible, bring an “interactive” chalkboard to the classroom, and to not be attached to the podium at the front of the classroom. Here are the tools that have gotten me close to a daily technology high …

1) My new iPad
2) iPad VGA Adapter
3) A nice bluetooth remote
4) These excellent apps –> DropBox, Keynote, and Paper by 53

Using Drop Box, I can easily create lectures on my laptop, upload them to the cloud, and have them available on my iPad whenever I want. The Keynote app for iPad is great and easy to use – I have not created an entire presentation using the app but it is easy for quick edits. It also nicely goes into presentation mode which shows you the current slide, next slide, presenter notes and presentation time. Lastly, the Paper by 53 app has allowed me to bring an interactive chalkboard type presence to the classroom. Instead of using the white board, I can use the Paper app to draw out equations, show formulas, and best of all, I can quickly erase them all when I am done and start over. Using this setup, I can sit with my students and work through problems on the iPad while they watch on the big screen – moving me away from the podium and into a better teaching space.

There are still some tweaks that I need to make to my presentation style but the upgrades I have made this semester are already paying off. I am always looking for new teaching apps that can bring more to the classroom experience – right now, I am starting to experiment with the TED app, iTunes U, and Wolfram Alpha. I will post an update about my teaching trials here again soon. For now, here is a picture of what I take to class – definitely weighs less than my laptop bag (my shoulder thanks me!).

Links to products:
Apple iPad
Apple VGA Adapter
Keynote App
Paper by 53 App
Presentation Remote

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