If you follow my tweets then you will have seen me tweeting about the up and coming SMART Notebook iPad App. You might also have seen me asking questions of my Promethean and Easiteach contacts to see if they had any plans for apps of their own. Interestingly, the conversations with my connections in the U.K. seemed to indicate that the app wasn’t a great priority. One of them told me that until schools were buying class sets of iPads they wouldn’t consider it… I pointed out that things were very different here in Australia and that schools were already buying whole class sets of iPads. Either way, although I have seen screen shot images of ideas for a Promethean App, it didn’t sound too promising!
The search for apps was also prompted by a school emailing me to ask how to solve the problem of being able to project from an Ipad onto their ID (Interactive Device) but not being able to interact with it at the same time. Of course, having the iPad connected the projector sends the image they’d like to share to the screen but, as far as I am aware, there is no way to then control the IWB using the iPad. It’s just not powerful enough. I think sometimes people forget that iPads are not laptops… not yet anyway!
I am aware of apps which allow you to see the desktop of your laptop or pc on your ipad and control it from there. However, I’m not sure how that would benefit you if you already have the capability to control your computer from your interactive device. Why would you want one student controlling from an iPad at the front if you have multiuser capability on a 90 inch IWB? The only exception to this might come from the new Epson projector range. They have controllers, pens and annotation tools built into the hardware themselves. You don’t need to have a computer attached in order to interact with the content that you are projecting. However, as we know, just annotating over something is NOT in any way an effective use of an interactive device. You’re going to loose the power to create and run TPACK-based, effective resources. You will limit the power of the device you’ve just spent thousands on.
Although there is no iPad app for Easiteach in the bag at the moment, no way of running Next Generation on your iPad, they have come up with something else that I wanted to share. I didn’t know about this until @laurenjbutler showed me at a recent course I was running. RM have created an Easiremote. This tool requires two applications. One, sits on your iPad or iPhone , the other on your PC or MAC.
The Easiremote allows you to control your pc using your Smart device, effectively turning it into a slate with basic pen tools, mouse clicks and some easiteach control features. Of course, you still need to have your ID connected to your laptop but you can now have the freedom to control the board with your iPad. If you have an iPad stylus it’s very much akin to having the old Activ Slate I had in my classroom back in England. However, the app has a few extra features including a built in, on screen, keyboard. In contrast to the slate however, you have to hold down a button representing the left mouse button whilst you scribe on your pad to write. Without a stylus, my handwriting can be pretty hard to ready too! So you’ll need to get one of those.
The good news is that the Easiremote is currently free to download from the iTunes store. The bad news is that it is currently only available for apple devices – no android app at the moment I’m afraid. You could use this app without having Easiteach. It will let your iPad behave like a mouse. I can use it with Inspire and SMART Notebook 11. Of course, none of the shortcut pens, text or cursor tools are compatable with these peices of software but, if you compare what you have to an Activ Slate… it’s the same. You still have the ability to move around and operate the menus on your toolbars using the iPad – you just don’t have the handy short cuts that Easiteach users get – shortcuts that don’t exist on the Activ Slate anyway! Of course, the keyboard works with all of the IWB software as it’s native to your smart device. Just remember to select the text editing tools in your IWB software so that it knows where to type! That’s a bonus on the Activ Slate 😉
Is it cheaper than buying a slate?
Well, if you’ve already got iPads in your school then yes. However, if you’re at decision making point then you will discover that RM have a slate that’s about $200. Considerably less money than an iPad! It will only act as a controller for the IWB though – It’s not an iPad!
How does it work?
The Easiremote works with two separate piece of software. You have one installed on your PC or MAC and the other as an app on your iPhone or iPad. When you set up the software on your computer you are asked to input a password and to choose a port. The software will then tell you what your IP address is.
You then head to your SMART devices and run the app. You enter the IP address of you PC or Mac (don’t worry it was given to you when you set up the software on it) and your password, then hit connect. You’ll be greeted with a screen like the one pictured here on the right. As you can see there are arrows to allow you to move forward and backwards between the pages of your Easibook, Left and right mouse buttons, there’s an E button and shortcuts to the pens, text tools, cursor and an onscreen keyboard. As you move your finger around on the screen you are using it like the roller ball or laser of your mouse. You have complete control over where your cursor goes and, as you’re using a portable device, can wander around your classroom controlling your IWB from where ever you like. I love that. I always give my students the IWB itself and I have a slate; in this case it can be my iPhone or an iPad!
How do I get it?
Head to the app store and download the easiremote. Then head here and download the client for your machine. It comes with some easy to follow instructions to get you started – so give it a whirl. You don’t have to wait until you get infront of your interactive device either. I’ve been messing about controlling my MacBook on my living room couch 😉 Don’t be surprised if your partner thinks you’re a bit of a nerd when you excitedly whisper “cool” as you control your computer with your phone/iPad though 😉
How much is it?
It’s completly FREE! My favourite kind of cost 😉 However, this phrase does appear in both the app and the computer download text:
At present, we are offering this as a free download
So get in quick!
As for the others?
As soon as I can get my hands on the iPad app for Notebook I’ll let you know! It does look exciting with the opportunity for students to add content from their iPad straight to the IWB collaboratively. I love the idea of them taking snap shots of their work and sending them to the IWB for us to view. 30 different document cameras in one room – all working together 😉 Ooohhh it’ll be fun when it gets here.
In the mean time. Have a play with Easiremote and let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂