Monday, March 4, 2013

Tools, Gadgets, and Widgets - Reflector

When teaching, I usually demonstrate on a chalkboard or white board. At some venues, the chalkboards are just a little bigger than an old-fashioned school slate. I usually end up blocking the students' view.

Himself told me about a pocket projector which could be connected to a tablet or smartphone. Whatever you want on your tablet can be displayed large on a white wall. I thought this would be great until an Amazon search showed me devices that were around $300.00 for what I wanted to do. Bummer. At this point, I can't justify the cost, and I'd like to see a demo before I shell out that much money.

A Google search brought me to Reflector, an app that allows you to mirror what's on your iPad2, or iPhone4S to your Mac or PC via Wi-Fi. This sounded too good to be true. This company is very sure of their product because they allow a free 10 minute trial. I like a company that allows me to see what their product will do before I buy.

I downloaded the program, opened up a doodling program on the iPad and miracle of miracles, what I was doodling showed up on my laptop. I now had an overhead projector I could use to teach when teaching small groups. I could sit anywhere in the room and my hand or body won't block the display. The $12.99 price of the program was worth the money.

The doodling program wasn't going to help and after reading and hearing about people using Sketchbook Pro, I went to investigate that. Again, a $5 investment that would be a great tool since one of the brushes has a chiseled edged like the calligraphy pens.

The downside to Reflector is the reflection doesn't fill the entire laptop screen. One sees a tablet screen in the middle of the laptop screen. This device will work with a small group (under 12 people) that can sit close to the laptop, but I can't see it being any better than the chalkboard for a larger group.