Board Cam – One of the Tweed Geek’s Top 2012 Educational App Picks for the iPad 2

by Dr. Luanne Fose - The Tweed Geek on February 23, 2012

Board Cam iPad App Icon

Over the past few months, as more and more faculty discover the beauty of using the iPad in the classroom, I have been questioned about iPad 2 applications that can be used for whiteboard projection in the classroom while simultaneously recording the content as video. Due to the delay on the market of anyone providing an inexpensive app to do this, some faculty have resorted to “jailbreaking” their iPads and piecing together some rather unorthodox methods to meet this need. Not being one that wants to jailbreak my iPad, nor being one that would suggest that others participate in such “vile behavior” (ah… spoken like a true Apple zealot), I have been waiting impatiently for a solution to this dilemma. Enter the app Board Cam. If you are in need of a document camera or whiteboard device for projection on your iPad 2 that includes video and audio recording capabilities, this app is for you!

With Board Cam, you can record a video of anything you’re doing on your iPad 2 screen. Board Cam turns your iPad into an enhanced document camera by allowing you to provide “live” presentations while interacting with image backgrounds stored on your iPad (including .jpgs of your PowerPoint or Keynote presentation slides) or while drawing on a whiteboard, which you could record as video and then later post online in PolyLearn Moodle. If you’re looking for an iPad application that will help you create Khan Academy type videos on your iPad, this app can do it!

Board Cam allows you to record what is on the screen as you talk or to use the front or back iPad cameras to capture anything you can point to from the iPad. For example, the iPad’s back-facing camera can record anything a traditional video camera can; the iPad’s front-facing camera can be used to record a short snippet of you lecturing (basically a talking head shot.) Talking head lectures are not something I encourage faculty to pursue since I am an instructional designer who is concerned mostly with active learning and pedagogy. However, sometimes a short capture of one’s face (emphasis on the word short here) can help a student feel less alienated in a course that is held completely online. (Let’s be honest, shall we? None of us are that interesting to watch on video for long periods of time – even me, with all my animated facial expressions! Pleeeeze!)

As the Board Cam advertisement claims: “What you do is what they see.” This is the perfect app for a “Learn By Doing” university like Cal Poly. Board Cam would be an excellent tool for creating front-loading content for your hybrid/blended learning course. (For more information on front-loading, see my previous blog post:  Will Video Technology Kill the Classroom Lecture?)

I’ve created a little video demo of Board Cam for you to see how it works. Check it out!

Click here
for more information about Board Cam at the iTunes Store – only $9.99!

(Note: Board Cam is also available for the iPhone and iPod Touch models that include an integrated camera; however, the external video output feature is only currently available for the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.)

Are you an impoverished teacher and don’t want to shell out any dough for educational iPad apps? Would you prefer a freebie app that does something similar? Check out Educreations Interactive Whiteboard for the iPad 2 at the iTunes Store. Although, in my opinion, it’s not quite as good as Board Cam, it is FREE! Another upcoming contender in this arena is Explain Everything for $2.99. I haven’t had time to review this one, since I just stumbled upon it today but it does appear to have some advantages over Board Cam (such as the way you can export the final video out to YouTube, your email account, or to Dropbox.)

One Final Note: Are you tired of writing on your iPad with your finger or does your “highlighter-type nub stylus” make your writing on the iPad look like a 1st grader? Although Steve Jobs clearly stated at multiple venues that he did not intend for us to use a stylus with the iPad, the use of a stylus is a reality for most of us who want to scrawl notes on our iPad using note taker app of some sort. A stylus is especially useful when implementing a tool such as Board Cam. If you’re looking for a quality iPad stylus, consider the Jot Capacitive Stylus by Adonit. It is far and wide the best stylus for the iPad that I have used so far. Check out this independent video review of the Jot on YouTube.  

~ Dr. Luanne Fose (The Tweed Geek)

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