As an instructor, there are clear benefits to engaging students while they are working on difficult problems in the classroom. Dr. Nancy Aguilar-Roca teaches ecology and physiology, and regularly asks students to predict whether an experimental change will cause the line on a graph to go up or down. Dr. David Kirkby teaches quantum physics in an active learning classroom, and often demonstrates how to solve a problem before asking students to work in groups on their own problem sets. Dr. Renee Link projects molecular structures in her organic chemistry class, and asks students to draw in the bonds that will form.
In each case, the instructor likes to move among students and talk to them while they work, occasionally asking students to project an answer onto the main screen, or to project their own writing on the screen. Does this sound intriguing to you?
- Do you wish you could draw on your lecture slides during class?
- Would you like to be able to walk around the room while writing on your slides, instead of being stuck behind the podium?
- Are you looking for a simple screencasting tool to record short videos for your students?
Doceri is a tool that OIT has licensed for use on UCI classroom computers, and it may be the answer for you.
With the Doceri app on your iPad or Windows 8 tablet, you can create presentations and graphics with annotation without being tied to the classroom podium. Doceri is a digital whiteboard application that allows you to draw, or insert and manipulate images, and annotate with pens, highlighters, brushes, and shapes. The Doceri app is free for iPad, and costs $4.99 for Windows tablets (sadly, no Android support). The companion application, Doceri Desktop, is licensed by OIT and installed on all smart classroom computers. If you want to control your own computer, the desktop license is $30.
The app on your tablet connects with the classroom computer, giving you remote control of the computer from your tablet. You can then open files, folders, or applications on the computer, or take a snapshot of anything on the desktop and annotate over it. These drawings are then captured by UCI Replay.
You can record your annotations with audio, and export or share the presentation or videos. This is a relatively simple way to make course videos that include drawing on the screen. You can learn more about using Doceri at UCI via the Classroom Technology Support website.
If Doceri is not quite what you need, you might consider one of these other options.
- Explain Everything is an iPad app that allows writing and audio capture. If you have an iPad Pro (with its better handwriting capture), you may want to explore this tool.
- Dr. Amanda Holton uses a tablet computer when she teaches chemistry. Her Surface Pro sends a wireless signal to an HDMI adapter like this one connected to the projector input at the podium. She walks around carrying a full Windows tablet laptop, and can run both her slides and her audience response system from a distance. The setup requires a large amount of tech support, but allows her to run the projector as a second monitor so she can see the presentation view of her slides on her tablet.
Note that tools like Doceri require the instructor to be comfortable problem-solving technology issues during class time. We have had instructors report that there is often a lag between drawing on their iPad and seeing the writing on the screen. Older iPads (before iPad Pro) are not great for handwriting, and this is also a limitation if you need to write words or equations.
For more information or to try out a tool in an empty classroom, contact Classroom Technology Support at firstname.lastname@example.org.