AirSketch (from Qrayon LCC) is an iPad App that allows users to share real-time drawings with computers on the same Wi-Fi network.In the classroom, AirSketch can be used as an inexpensive whiteboard substitute.An instructor can model how to work a math problem by writing on the iPad and having the problem displayed in near real-time through a computer connected to a data projector.
Example of equation drawn in AirSketch
While there are many whiteboard tools in the iPad App Store, AirSketch has the advantage of being able to share its contents on a data projector without the use of a VGA dongle.This is done by using a built-in web server to generate a web page that can be accessed by another computer on the same Wi-Fi network.The steps are simple:
The iPad can be passed around a large classroom, giving students an opportunity to participate in an activity that might be difficult or time-consuming, particularly if students are asked to come to the front and share.Adding an image as the background can increase interactivity. For example, an anatomy professor can have students identify parts of the human body by projecting an image and having students pass the iPad around to identify and mark anatomy. A math professor can ask students to solve equations. An art professor can ask students to critique a photograph.
Example of anatomy image that students can write on in AirSketch
Wireless projection is only one of the innovative features of AirSketch. While other Apps require software to be installed on the receiving computer, AirSketch needs only an HTML 5 compatible browser to share content. Users who need finer drawing capability can use two fingers to zoom in and a pinch gesture to zoom out. Final work can be saved and shared with students in JPEG or PDF format.
While AirSketch has great potential as a classroom tool, there are enhancements that would make it even more valuable. Users would benefit from being able to import PDFs or other common document formats that could be marked-up as part of instruction.Having the ability to quickly change the size of a line or the eraser would be helpful.AirSketch has the potential for a presentation tool if stacks of slides could be imported and then annotated as a group.Finally, one for the future - it would be great if multiple iPads could be used to collaborate on a single drawing.
Example of how an image might be marked up in an art class
iPad-using instructors should give AirSketch strong consideration for their classroom drawing needs.A free version is available at the App Store for those who like to try before they buy.
Math equation was created by Seattle Pacific University student, Michael Richards.
Head lateral anatomy image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lateral_head_anatomy.jpg
Interstate-90 traffic jam photo was taken by David Wicks.