No SmartBoard? Use an iPad!

After finally getting my own iPad this Spring, I have found that I am using it almost daily in some of the classes that I’m teaching. At my school, I’m still using a chalkboard, so I have no Interactive White Board. But, I have found some great apps in the last few months that give me some of the functionality of an IWB.

I should preface this post by mentioning that I have an original iPad, so no mirroring is possible to a projector or external display without jailbreaking the device. I’m not quite ready to take that step yet, so these apps will do all of this without having to jailbreak your device.

First, I went to the local Best Buy and picked up the Apple Dock-to-VGA adapter for $30. I knew that YouTube videos and videos that I had installed locally on the iPad would play through the VGA adapter to a projector, so that was my first plan. Then I started thinking about ways to project documents and/or websites from my iPad.

The first app I found was called AirSketch by Qrayon, LLC. As the description in the iTunes Store states, “Turn your iPad into a wireless whiteboard! Annotate PDF documents and images live.” There are several apps available that will do this, but what is unique about AirSketch is that it will do it wirelessly! All you need is a laptop or desktop connected to a projector on the same network as the iPad. All you need to do is type the server address given to you by the app in your browser address bar on the computer connected to the projector.

At my school, I don’t have a laptop or desktop connected to my projector so this wasn’t too useful for me. I also wished that I could mirror my iPad more and at least project web pages and maybe even word documents. That’s when I found 2Screens by Edwin Lam. I am really loving this app right now! It has the ability to project webpages (as it has its own built-in browser) and virtually any kind of documents. You can annotate them in real time, and even save screen shots from those annotations (which you could email to your students later). You can even annotate on web pages! And, one of my favorite features is the ability to import documents from your dropbox account easily. The app also includes the ability to turn the projection on or off at your choosing and a “laser pointer” to use for highlighting.

One final app to mention is Penultimate by Cocoa Box Design, LLC. It is essentially a free-hand note-taking app, but it will also do VGA output in real time. This is a great app for projecting notes that you might be taking in class.

One final thought…When using these apps, I have found that my handwriting is much more legible with the use of a stylus. While I don’t ever use one while using my iPad normally, I find it really helpful for these.

So, if you aren’t luck enough to have an Interactive White Board in your classroom, but you have an iPad, here are some ideas for you. If you have any other great apps, please mention them in the comments!


  1. Kim Aromanda

    I also have the iPad 1 to project the apps I use a document camera with the brightness turned all the way down. It is not the best way to project them but they are still interactive and are able to be seen by everyone.

  2. Anne Van Meter

    I was really impressed with Splashtop. I do have a classroom computer to link to – so it does everything (my flash simulations for science, geogebra for math, website markup for environmental) Free desktop download and $9.99 for the iPad app :-)

  3. SLT-A77

    ???????????? ????, ?? ? ????? ????????? ?? ???))))

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