In this article, I want to describe how I use an iPad, Google Chromecast, and a smart TV, to make my own ‘mock’ interactive whiteboard (IWB).
How the setup works is really simple. On the iPad I use a whiteboard app, and I screen mirror the iPad screen (using Screen Mirror for Chromecast) through the Wi-Fi network to a smart TV via an inexpensive Chromecast dongle.
It’s an amazing set-up that was actually really inexpensive, because I already owned an iPad and Google Chromecast dongle ($25), and the room I was working in had an existing smart TV.
The teacher or children interact with the whiteboard app on the iPad, which all the other students can view on the large flat-screen TV at the front of the room.
Another time, I’ll write about whiteboard apps for the iPad, but the app I used was Explain EDU by Explain Everything ($21.99 – Australian). The reason I choose Explain EDU is that it is a full-featured whiteboard app that is an inexpensive, one-time purchase. Most of the competitor apps, with comparable features, are priced on a monthly subscription model. Most of the things you could do on an interactive whiteboard (IWB) that you mind find in a professional language school, you can do in Explain EDU, its that impressive. No kidding. While there are some free whiteboard apps for the iPhone and iPad, they tend to be very feature limited. And those that offer pro-features, tend to require a subscription payment to unlock them.
For the sake of completeness, Explain EDU is the ‘education’ version of another app by the same developers, Explain Everything. The difference between the two, at the time of writing, is essentially, that Explain Everything offers cloud syncing so that multiple people can work with the whiteboard, or you can access and collaborate on whiteboards across devices including a web interface. Explain EDU doesn’t have that cloud functionality, but has all of the other powerful features of Explain Everything. It is also a one-time purchase versus the subscription pricing of Explain Everything. (You can test the app using the full version of Explain Everything free for 30 days. That will give you an idea if Explain EDU is going to work for you.)
In summary, using inexpensive technology, I was able to create my own ‘IWB’ to use with students in my private classes, without investing thousands of dollars in an actual electronic whiteboard.