Why iPad/Apple TV is better than IWB (Interactive Whiteboard)-Companion Post

Ryan Orilio, Apple Distinguished Educator (@ryanorilio), posted on his blog recently that the iPad plus Apple TV can easily take the place of Interactive Whiteboards(IWB), ones like SMART Board. An interactive whiteboard is nothing but a gigantic mouse without it’s software. His cost analysis and recommendations were dead on. The iPad and Apple TV can do much more at half the price. District leaders need to pay attention to this!

And it got me thinking: why not a side-by-side comparison just to prove the point further?

For a list of apps, descriptions, and cost click here.

The left hand column is IWB and software with only a projector and desktop/laptop computer. The right hand column is how the iPad and Apple TV can take the place of the Interactive Whiteboard at about half the cost.

SMART board + SMART Notebook iPad + Apple TV Solution
Color reveal, shade, pens, shapes, text Explain Everything App, ShowMe, etc.
Insert sounds into presentation Keynote Sound insert, anything on desktop can be played through Splashtop Whiteboard App
Play videos within SMART Notebook – wmv and flv only (no mp3) Splashtop Whiteboard App (play anything from internet), Youtube App, mov from Dropbox, VideoConverter app to play any video on iPad
Annotate over web browser – annotations DO NOT stay with browser outside of software Splashtop Whiteboard App
Explain a Website App – annotations stay with area of site as you scroll and move.
Make handwritten notes Whiteboard App, Splashtop Whiteboard App, Skitch,
Spotlight text/image on web Splashtop Whiteboard App
Kids can interact by going up to board and using fingers to move objects around or picking up a pen to write. Teacher can pass around iPad to kids and do the same with Splashtop Whiteboard App or Explain Everything in Presentation mode (moving objects around) or write with pen.
Control your desktop from board onto which the screen is being projected. Splashtop Whiteboard App from iPad (no cords), Airplay to Apple TV to projector.
Record Actions (writing, typing, browsing) on page Explain Everything App (with embedded web browser), Screen Recorder App, Show Me
Screencast with SMART Recorder Explain Everything App (with embedded web browser), Display Recorder App, Show Me, Explain a Website App – annotations stay with area of site as you scroll and move.
Splashtop Whiteboard App plus Screencast-o-matic OR Reflection/AirServer Applet for computer plus screencast-o-matic  to record iPad actions.
Import PPT Slides to Annotate – no animations carry over Keep animations and annotate over anything on iPad screen with Splashtop Whiteboard App
Document Camera Ability – Stationary Use iPad camera as a document camera – but mobile
Board Cam App – annotate over whatever is being displayed through iPad’s camera.
SMART Response system – which is an extra cost and NOT cheap Nearpod App – not only can you poll and quiz students from the app, but you can manage the pace of the lecture (they see what you allow them to see and when).
Display Documents Good Reader App, Dropbox App, Google Drive App, Cloud On (which is 17+ i think for those districts that pay attention to those things like mine does), Evernote App
Any other kind of manipulation SMART board with desktop or laptop computer and projector Splashtop Whiteboard App
Erase Splashtop Whiteboard, Explain Everything, Whiteboard App

 Limitations of the IWB

IWB + Software iPad + Apple TV
Absolutely no mobility – Teacher is stuck at the board and often gets in the way of projection. Teacher can walk around the room.
Students have to get up in front of class to interact. Teacher can pass iPad to students at their desk. Great for the shy kids. Less wait time.
Projects only one screen from one device (computer). Airplay allows anyone with iPad 2, iPhone 4s, or iPod 4th gen or greater to project onto screen. Includes most Macbooks.
Needs to be calibrated often (especially if there is another classroom above). Never needs to be calibrated.


14 thoughts on “Why iPad/Apple TV is better than IWB (Interactive Whiteboard)-Companion Post

  1. I agree, that the iPad/AppleTV combination is better than the IWB. However, I don’t think any of them are of great value when it comes to the learning outcome.

    Give each student the opportunity to bring their own device instead.

  2. Niels, BYOD is definitely the way to go, but what about the kids that don’t have their own technology? About half of my students cannot afford even a cell phone. A class set of iPads equalizes those opportunities.

  3. Great points, but why not just use the laptop the teacher may already have and project using an app such as Reflector. Then there is no need to buy another gadget for $99 (though I agree Apple TV is preferable to a $1000 and up whiteboard).

    Also, just because a device allows interactivity doesn’t mean it will be used in an interactive way. I often see the IWB used for nothing more than to present content to a passive classroom. Likewise, the Apple TV with Airplay can be used in a similar way. It is up to the teacher to select apps that engage students and provide true interactivity not only between the students and content but also between the students themselves.

  4. Thank you for your comments. The reflector app is great! BUT the Splashtop Whiteboard App can’t be used in conjunction with the Reflector App. The Splashtop Whiteboard app controls your desktop/laptop while allowing you to annotate over it. The Reflector App only goes one way.

    In addition, this blog post is not about teaching practices but about comparing two technologies. I did not comment on how to engage students with technology at all. It is up to the teacher to use the technology to engage students.

    The Splashtop App also shows all of your annotations, drawings, etc. on the computer/laptop screen so that you can connect the projector to the laptop if you prefer to go without the Apple TV.

  5. Remember when you lock into Apple, though, that nearly all free online resources are in Flash and so will no longer be available to you. No more finding that free interactive resource that will be really helpful in tomorrow’s lesson.

    The app model effectively means that resource producers must charge for each app to cover costs. Remember that every iPad you put the app on must also pay for it to avoid copyright theft.

    There is also a practical difference in using an iPad compared to an IWB. When you use and IWB you are standing at the interface and can indicate on screen elements without interacting. At the iPad you must interact with an element to indicate it. In which case you need to go up to the tv which undermines the freedom of positioning of using a tablet.

    iPads and tablets are great and many of the pluses over IWBs are real but they also have limitations. I don’t see why each new piece of technology means the last one must be dropped in its entirety. Different tools different jobs.

  6. Sorry, I meant to acknowledge that Flash etc can be
    seen using Splashtop, but I find it far from a seamless experience interacting with it due to the transition across devices and controls.

  7. iPad and Doceri would even be cheaper if you didn’t need everything that appleTV offered. Your cost for the Doceri Desktop and stylus is less than $80, the app for the iPad is free. Total cost for the set up is about $580

  8. Pingback: Why iPad/Apple TV is better than IWB (Interactive Whiteboard)-Companion Post : Katie Regan « iPadsAndEducation

  9. Thanks for the tip! I’ll look into that. Still, you can use Splashtop Whiteboard and Reflector app w/out the Apple TV. Whatever you do on the iPad with Splashtop App will be seen on the laptop which can be the thing projected. No need for Apple TV in that case.

  10. Spencer, thanks for your insight. I guess I’m looking at it from a district level purchase. iPads are half the price of the lowest priced SMART board. When you are in a district like mine with very little money, I would think it would be more cost effective to go with the iPad and Splashtop App. With the laptop and device wi-fi or Ad-hoc networks, there is no need for an Apple TV which makes it that much cheaper. Further, along with it being mobile, students can Airplay their devices to the laptop/computer with Reflector, and more than one to boot.

  11. This blog post is very good and I think it brings up some good questions.
    1. Without a doubt an ipad and Apple TV are cheaper than a Smartboard. However, both need some sort of viewing device – either a big screen TV or a projector. You mentioned that the teacher/student could block the projection. Couldn’t they just as easily block the TV (as in you go up to point at something)?

    2. You mentioned you could just, “…pass around the ipad.” This is true, but is student movement a bad thing?

    3. The SmartBoard Notebook comes with the board. The apple combo is paid. Where I teach (In Egypt) iTunes is very tricky and does not offer many of the programs people are used to seeing in the States/EU.

    Please don’t think I’m being negatively critical. In my mind, this isn’t and easy SmartBoard vs Apple contest. I see both as being either amazing devices, or just another useless gizmo – depending on how it’s used. I’m also intrigued by the Android USB sticks that plug directly into the TV. They could be hooked up to a wireless keyboard/mouse and now you have a computer. Total cost = $100 or so. Very portable and very cheap.

    Again, thanks for the post and you brought forth a great discussion! WTG!

  12. I am 110% on board with the Apple TV, iPad and Display workflow. This is something I tried to introduce at my former place of employment (2 years ago). Needless to say, that this thinking was too radical at the time. However, I am currently getting ready to install three of these Apple TV, iPad & 60″ display setups at a local K-12 institution! I am super excited about this opportunity, but more importantly I am excited for how this will impact the pedagogical practices and transform learning!

    What always bothered me when I taught with a Smartboard, is that there is limited interaction (users) with the board and the user is directly in front of the content in which you want your students to consume. I think this is a great opportunity for us to get out of the way of teaching (literally, and yes that was an intentional pun).

  13. Hi Gary,
    Thank you for your comments. I did mention that both need a screen and projector on the list of “supplies”. The iPad would be wireless so you would no be getting in the way of a projector and your back would not be turned toward your students. Student movement is never a bad thing, but again, at the HS level, I have several that are super shy to be in front of a classroom of kids. This alleviates that. Whenever I ask for volunteers to go up to the board, it’s the same three kids that go up. As far as the iPad combo being paid – it’s a $20 app and is still cheaper than a SMART board. And I also realized that as long as the computer and iPad are on the internet, you don’t need an Apple TV at all. So that cuts the price down $100. I certainly agree that it’s not about the technology in the end, it’s about how you use it to engage students.

  14. Very informative post Katie. I love and enjoy reading your blog. Thumbs up on the information you shared.

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