iPad as a Document Camera

I have been using my iPad a little differently lately in my classroom. I have a document camera in my classroom but due to its location, it’s not the easiest to use. It’s also very difficult to allow the students to use. Instead of using my document camera for activities such as Daily Oral Language or Math Word Problem of the Day, I have been using my iPad.

To do this you need an iPad 2 or later, an art app that allows the use of layers, some way of mirroring your iPad display to your computer or projector (I use Reflection) and a stylus.

It works like this…Take a picture of the document you wish to use with the class using the camera on the iPad. Import it into your favorite art app that allows layers. Create a new layer on top. This will be the layer you use to make your notes. Set up mirroring on your computer and iPad. Use your stylus to make your notes or better yet hand the iPad to students and allow them to make the notes.

Screencasting with an iPad

These are some additional notes from Screencast Camp that I attended in August of 2012.

The Quest for the iPad screencasting app…
By Anton Bollen

Currently there is not a real good solution for using screencasting to capture how to use an iPad or it’s application. This presentation will explore some possibilities…


  • Use a document camera to record video…easy, gestures are captured, details are harder to see, less polished. Adorama.com for tutorial for recording iPad with a video camera.
  • Use iPad mirroring to record screen (Reflection MAC or PC or Air Server Apps) and use Camtasia to record the screen….no touches or gestures get captured, inexpensive $15,
  • Use a video capture box/card
  • Jailbreak your iPad…display recorder app
  • To Visualize Gestures

    Gestures are important as they show how to use an app, much like a mouse on a traditional keyboard
    Create graphics to show touch and animate within Camtasia, such as a circle animated in different ways.
    Use a green screen to record various actions using your hand, then use the resulting video in Camtasia to layer over captured screen cast.


    GestureWorks software with fonts showing icons for gestures

    Screencasting 101 Notes and Ideas from Screencast Camp

    Screencasting looks like it can be a good tool for providing simple to complex tech support for teachers. Students can also use it to create mini videos commenting on a picture in a foreign language or explaining a concept in a subject. Here are my notes from this morning’s session at Screencast Camp 2012 at TechSmith in Okemos

    Screencasting 101
    By Anton Bollen


    Tech support
    Teams- feedback, sharing across time zones and places

    Who is the audience? What is the expected quality level expectations for the product? As quality increases- time required increases..

    Two types of Screencasts
    Basic- audio and video is recorded at same time, no post production, less professional looking, less flexibility for output formatting.Quick easy way to show a skill, providing tech support
    Prof- video and audio recorded separately, editing necessary, scripted, huge time commitment, can add annotations/drawings
    Tools for Screencasts

    Basic Tools-
    SnagIt, Jing (free download) use Jing to record foreign language report using a picture

    More Advanced-
    Screencast.com (can create a table of contents)

    Remove icons from desktop prior to recording screencasting, right click…
    Short lengths work best 2-3 times,
    Break them up into short sections, to make it easy for user to find what they need.
    Two column chart for organization… One column indicates on screen action, paired with script
    Prep ahead of time
    Use a plain background, grey will make the application stand out
    Bigger cursor makes it easier to follow
    Possible create a screencasting account on your computer
    Pay attention to size of viewers video, optimize what you need to show, advanced programs will allow you to zoom in.
    Recommended dimensions 1280 x 720 (16×9 ratio) in SnagIt it will show the size. Good for YouTube videos.
    Sizer …PC only
    Audio matters, use a good quality microphone. Snowball microphone is pretty good quality around 100$
    Watch your surroundings, background noises should be limited, for separate audio use Audacity

    Applications and ideas for schools
    Install Jing as part of image for teacher and student computers.
    Use screencast for directions and tech support.
    Need to create dummy classes to use for tech support

    Blogging with the iPad

    I think this is going to make it easier for me to be more consistent with my writing here. Although to be fair, I think this has been my most productive year ever on this site. What is it that will make this possible? The new EduBlogs App for the iPad. I use my iPad far more than I use my laptop now, so this will be an easier way to write on my blog. The set up was quite easy, just log in with your user name and password, then select your blogs to be added. That’s it! Creating and editing a new post was also super easy.

    Follow Your Heart

    This is what teaching should be about….

    Follow your heart,
    Can you discover the light that burns bright in you?
    Follow your heart,
    Always remember there’s no one that shines like you.

    This is from “Follow Your Heart” a song from Night Ranger’s latest CD “Somewhere in California”. Teaching and school should be about helping students to find their talents (the light that burns bright in you). It should also be about giving them the strength to remember that they are unique and valued.

    Journey to the Stars- For Free

    If you are a science teacher, here’s an excellent opportunity from NASA and the American Natural History Museum to get the DVD (and teacher materials) for the show Journey to the Stars. Journey to the Stars is an amazing journey through the life span of the stars in our universe. The show is narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. Fill out the form on this site: to get your free DVD and teacher resources. Another cool fact about the offer is its not limited to one per teacher. You could get copies for your students as well (maximum of 50).

    Screenshots on an iTouch

    Its pretty easy to make screen casts of software programs using a PC or a Mac. However its been difficult to take screen shots of an iTouch app. An easy way to do that is to press and hold the top button (Power) and the home button at the same time. If you hold it you should hear what sounds like a camera taking a picture (nice touch Apple) and the screen will flash. Your picture has been taken and saved to the photos app on the ITouch in the Saved photos folder.

    To access your photos from a computer (PC). Connect your iTouch to the computer then click on my computer on your computer. You should see a icon for your iTouch. Open it and click on the storage icon to navigate to your pictures. My path looks like this: iTouch/internal storage/DCIM/100APPLE which opens my pictures. Your path may be slightly different as I have only tried this on my own iTouch.

    What Works For Me

    After reading Will Richardson’s (tl;dr) and Free Tech for learning (What I Read First) recent posts, I thought I’d get this blog restarted by explaining how I find the ideas and information I use in my daily work.

    First of all I use Google Chrome as my browser. I used to use Firefox, but switched when Google Chrome came out and haven’t looked back since. I have 6 tabs open to start. iGoogle, Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook (at home, its blocked at school) Google voice and my Delicious bookmarks. iGoogle has just a few tabs pertaining to news, sports and weather.

    In Google Reader, I have organized my feeds into categories such as Leadership (which is mostly ed-tech), Creativity (a mixture of feeds ranging from All Things Workplace to Presentation Zen to Seth’s Blog),Fablevision (Stellar Cafe and T.J on a Journey) iTouch, and a few others. Of these feeds and categories, I tend to read the Creativity, Fablevision, Leadership and iTouch categories first followed by blogs from Will Richardson, Dan Meyer, Gary Stager, Larry Ferlazzo and Free Technology for Teachers. Often I do not have time to fully read a post so I tend to leave it as unread or mark it with a star to read later. Occasionally, I’ll add it to my delicious page, but truthfully it tends to get lost easier there. Posts that I like are also often marked as unread. I read a lot but am not really active in leaving comments… something I need to work on.

    On Twitter (@techicebreaker), I tend to scroll back to catch links or ideas that I may have missed when they came through the first time. Much has been said about Twitter not being useful or even being silly. I find that it is sometimes easier than tech support at times and you get out of it what you put into it.

    My delicious bookmarks (techicebreaker) are (somewhat) organized by grade level as I like to collect resources for all grade levels and interests. I try to share links with others through the network feature, but don’t have many teachers in my district that use delicious.

    I also use Scribd http://scribd.com (techicebreaker) as well. I find that more people have read my writing there than on this blog.

    So that is what works for me. What works for you? How do you find (and share) the ideas and resources you find?

    Standing in Line Silently…

    Stand silently in straight lines with your friends.

    Why is this still taught in schools?

    I honestly can’t think of a time as an adult where I’ve had to stand in line silently with my friends. Of course at church services and other religious occasions you are expected to stand quietly, but I don’t think it is my place to teach students how to behave in those environments. In my teaching setting now, I wouldn’t presume to teach my students how to behave in a religious environment. Even when I taught in a Catholic school this was hard for me (mostly because I’m not Catholic).

    I instead teach my students to stand in line (when necessary) and keep a reasonable (usually whisper) level of talking. Of course they know that when an adult is speaking they are to be quiet and listen to the speaker. They are also taught that different adults and teachers have different expectations.

    What do you think?

    What are some other rules/behaviors we teach that are unnecessary?

    Twitter Treats

    Here are some interesting things to follow using Twitter. If you are not familiar with Twitter, check out this link for a good introduction. http://www.commoncraft.com/Twitter.


    @WildEarth This is the Twitter stream for Wild Earth TV Wild Earth TV broadcasts from the Djuma Private Game Reserve. They have a web cam and also post live video from frequent drives through the reserve.

    @UntamedScience This is the Twitter Stream from Untamed Science and the EcoGeeks Podcasts.

    @EarthVitalSigns If you are looking for information about Global Climate Change from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory


    @Rich_Wilson Rich Wilson is the Skipper aboard the Great American III which is participating in the Vendee Globe Solo-Non Stop around the world race. This Twitter stream includes frequent updates of his trip. Also check out sitesALIVE for teaching resources. Here are a few additional resources from Loraine a technology teacher at the Jackson School.

    Space Science

    Space Shuttle Missions

    @STS_119 STS 119 Discovery scheduled for launch on February 1, 2009.

    @STS_126 This was the most recent mission from November of 2008. Check out this page for more information. http://www.space.gs/08/sts-126/

    @NASA … for general information from NASA.

    @Astrospace … space and astronautics news. http://www.space.gs/


    @LCROSS_NASA… Lunar mission to the poles to see if there is water ice near one of the poles. See also http://lcross.arc.nasa.gov/

    @LRO_NASA… The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter scheduled for launch in April of 2009. See also http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov/


    @MarsScienceLab Here’s information on the next science mission to Mars due to launch in 2011.

    @MarsPhoenix This was the twitter stream for Mars Phoenix which stopped transmitting from Mars on November 10, 2008. It is still active with news from Mars.

    @MarsRovers Spirit and Opportunity’s official Twitter Feed. Its hard to believe that they have been on Mars for five years already. For more rover information check out: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html


    @CassiniSaturn From the Cassini Equinox Mission to Saturn

    To Boldly Go…

    @PlanetQuest Looking for planets beyond our Solar System with JPL.

    It might be interesting to set up a iGoogle Page or a Pageflakes page with these feeds to use as part of a classroom science page. Or if students were studying a particular topic they have some resources to follow.
    Feel free to add other similar sites in the comments.