Thursday, February 27, 2014

iPad App Review: Splashtop 2

I live in Minnesota, and the winter has been rough. When the semester changed a few weeks ago, I was looking for a way to spice up my Spanish classes. I needed a challenge! I really wanted to utilize more technology in my teaching presentations but wasn't really sure what to do. I do not have an interactive whiteboard in my classroom, but do have a projector.

I revisited an app I had looked at a year or two ago, Splashtop. I had tried it but it had some bugs, or my school's network had bugs, or the planets weren't correctly aligned...you know what I mean. I decided to give it a try again, and am thrilled. The app itself is a little spendy at $6.99, but for me it is worth it.

I began by putting all of my lessons into PowerPoint presentations, or added to what I already had, and added audio, video and other media right in the presentations to make transitions in my class go much more smoothly. Each PowerPoint has all of the steps/notes/activities for a full class, and we teach on 80 minute blocks. I won't say that making these is quick, but once you get started it does get easier, and of course once I do it, I will have them for future years.

Here is where Splashtop comes in. I downloaded the app to my iPad, then downloaded the streamer to my computer and walk through the set up. I stream my computer to my iPad, and start the PowerPoint. By using my iPad then, I am able to control the PowerPoint from in front of the projector screen, or from any place in the classroom. I am not locked in to standing at my computer. It took a few days to really get the hang of it, but now I love it. The students like it, too--and were quite impressed when I first started navigating slides from my iPad. It was like magic!

The Spashtop website has other apps for the classroom as well, so please check it out.

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