iPad Pro Using iPad Pro for lecturing? Expert tips and suggestions?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by ozone, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. ozone macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #1
    I've read a few of the threads about using iPad Pro for education. I'd love some feedback on my situation, which I think is relatively simple.

    I teach undergraduate and graduate classes. Unlike most of my colleagues, I don't lecture using PowerPoint slides. Right now, I have an old Windows Tablet (Win7 - hp 2170) with a wacom based pen. I connect to a portable or built in projector via VGA (no HDMI on my old tablet). My workflow is basically:
    • I used Windows Journal to write on as I lecture, and mirror to the external screen - basically, a digital chalkboard for me.
    • I sometimes go to documents in my DropBox and will import them into Windows Journal to annotate if I want to highlight a document.
    • I usually print everything to PDF afterwards so that I have a quasi-permanent copy of what I did in class. The PDF is then sync'd to DropBox.
    • ... and that's about it for now. I know I could do more, but I try to focus on good delivery of my lecture material and class discussion, rather than too many bells and whistles.
    Our building has fewer VGA connections as things get upgraded or replaced, and the old Windows tablet is pushing 9 years - it's starting to misfire. I was considering getting a Windows Surface 4 or Surface Book but....

    • I had the original Windows Surface, and frankly, the palm rejection was sporadic and frustrating while I was writing. I hear it's better now... I think...
    • I don't anticipate needing another notebook - I have enough MacBooks, and I prefer a desktop at work so I don't have to worry about hauling a notebook to and from work when it's not necessary.
    • As expensive as the iPad Pro is, it's 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of a Surface.
    • I thought about getting a more recent Win7 tablet off of eBay, but then I'm paying for aging technology that is not longer supported or has easily available accessories.
    • I hate doing Windows updates.
    So, I'm inclined to give the iPad Pro a try. I did buy a Samsung Tab Pro 2 years ago... but it didn't work out quite as nice as I thought. The appearance on the screen was rather iffy, and Android is actually kind of cumbersome. In the end, I just reverted to the tried and true Windows 7 tablet machine.

    Could I replicate my current style of teaching with the iPad Pro? What accessories are there? How is the Apple pencil for writing with? What's the best lecture/note writing app? GoodNotes? Something else? How could I get my lecture notes off the iPad Pro onto a common folder? I do have Evernote - is that good for lecturing and then syncing? (Note: I tried Evernote using my Samsung, and it's appearance was not very smooth.)

    Any insights would be appreciated. I fear my old tablet is really dying...
     
  2. mpetrides macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    #2
    If I understand you correctly, you want to be able to use a tablet (IPP or Surface) as a digital blackboard--handwriting as you lecture and projecting the hand written material. And when you're done you want to be able to save what you projected and print a hard copy. Is that correct?

    If that's correct and if you have a projector that has HDMI inputs and WiFi in the room where you lecture, then you should be able to connect an Apple TV (3rd gen, $69 version should work fine) to the projector via HDMI then use AirPlay mirroring to send whatever appears on your iPad Pro screen to the Apple TV and, thus, to the projector.

    The Apple Pencil works VERY well at allowing handwritten notes in a variety of apps. I prefer GoodNotes but there are a number of other choices.

    When you are done lecturing, you can simply save the notebook you wrote the lecture in and print it out to a wireless printer or, alternatively, export it as a PDF and send the PDF to your laptop, either by emailing it to your self or by saving it to iCloud Drive or Dropbox. GoodNotes lets you create as many notebooks as you like and organize them into folders (categories). So you could have a different notebook for each lecture and a category for each course you teach or a category for each week's lectures, whatever organization scheme works best for you.

    I have a first gen Surface Pro and the iPad Pro + Apple Pencil is much more responsive and reliable, IMHO.
     
  3. silverblack macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #3
    Check out my old thread:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/ideas-on-using-the-ipad-pro-for-teaching.1944290/

    The linked video was only done with a regular iPad. The iPad pro has made Goodnotes so much better. The app allows pen only annotations, therefore you get perfect palm rejection. Also, it can turn off the pressure sensitive ink, so you writing looks much better as in Journal. I can't say enough good things about GoodNotes. Try it, you won't be disappointed.
     
  4. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #4
    Thanks! Yes, your summary is spot on, so your suggestions and advice are most appreciated.

    However, do I need Apple TV? I'm assuming the iPP can just output to the projector via an HDMI dongle, yes? I lecture or present in several classrooms over the year, and I rather not take yet another device (Apple TV) along if I can avoid it.

    Have you tried Notability? I've heard good things about that. I'm less concerned about file structure. I used to use OneNote, but then I got frustrated, because I had both a filing system for my then Windows machine, and then another filing system within OneNote... it just became cumbersome. So I prefer to output my lecture as a PDF to my specified folder in DropBox instead.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 25, 2016 ---
    Thanks. Just so I understand... in Goodnotes, turning OFF the pressure sensitivity makes the writing look better, yes?
     
  5. silverblack macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #5
    Yes, turning off pressure sensitivity (ball pen) makes the writing looks better than pressure on (fountain pen).
    Also, you don't need Apple TV. Just use vga or hdmi adapters, although they cost almost just as much.
    Notability is good, but you can't hide user interface like with GoodNotes.
     
  6. artfossil macrumors 6502a

    artfossil

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Location:
    the Great Plains
    #6
    I carry HDMI and VGA adapters AND an HDMI cable in my iPad bag. That way I can present anywhere in the university (Apple TV if available or if not HDMI and once, over in the land that time forgot, I had to use VGA).
     
  7. DGGoingUphill macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2015
    #7
    Question to you all about adapters. I haven't used the IPP with projectors much yet, but it seems that HDMI works much better than VGA, not just in hookup, but in that it looks like notifications do not show on the projector with HDMI, while they do with VGA. Notifications seem to show on VGA even when I turn on do not disturb. Anyone else seeing this behavior? Maybe it was a bug fixed with the latest update?
     
  8. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #8
    Thanks... wasn't aware that there was a fountain pen mode, although I should have guessed.
     
  9. JD2015 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    #9
    Goodnotes over notability any day. Much better functionality, especially in your role.
    Over notably apps are explain anything and final argument as well to help give you other features and options. All of them are very cheap and well maintained.
    Microsoft packages also now offer Apple pencil ink support. Not sure if this will have a use for lecturers in a classroom but sure will for marking assignments in word format than having to convert it to PDFs.
     
  10. username: macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2013
    #10
    Don't invest in an iPad for presenting. You will just get too many issues with compatibility.

    Have you considered a surface 3? If your work is windows based, it would be a lot easier and mirroring to another Windows machine is very easy.
     
  11. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #11
    I was just at Best Buy to check out the devices. The sales associate also recommended the Surface Pro over the iPad for compatibility reasons and for the fact that you get full computing power for almost the same price, although he did admit that Apple had superior apps. Surprisingly, the local Best Buy has yet to receive the Apple Pencil.

    A bit confused now as to which will provide what I need. I'm fairly comfortable with MS given that I've been using a Windows tablet and Journal since 2003, so it's the familiar vs the new.
     
  12. mpetrides macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    #12
    I think it's a matter of personal preference, as well as what works best with the equipment your university has. I've been an Apple person since the Apple ][, so even when I worked at a university that primarily used PC over Macs, I did all my work on my Mac and then, at the last minute, transferred the finished PowerPoint to a flash drive to use on the PC connected to the projector.

    Similarly, I've always found that if a given function is available on an iPad, it works more effortlessly and more reliably than the comparable function on the Surface. In the past, of course, decent styluses weren't available for the iPad, so handwritten notes and PDF annotation on the iPad was a non-starter. But with the advent of the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil that all changed. The stylus on my Surface has a slight offset which I find annoying and on a few occasions I lost work because OneNote on the Surface flaked out on me (it's been so long that I can't recall the details, sorry). So, in my case, the iPad Pro is a much better choice. Besides, all of the devices I use daily are Apple products, MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad mini, iPad Pro, so if I encounter a problem, figuring out a workaround is just a whole lot easier for me working with tools in my "native" environment. YMMV.

    As for the HDMI adapter, I had actually forgotten that existed. To be fair, I retired 4 years ago, so the times I mirror my iPad to a projector these day it is to the projector in my home theater--and that has an Apple TV attached to it all the time. We use an Apple TV and AirPlay for presenters at our Apple User Group (typically 3 or 4 different individuals per meeting) and it works quite well, albeit with occasional glitches. However, the HDMI adapter might be a better choice for your purposes, since it's smaller and requires no upfront configuration. OTOH, it would really frost me to pay $49 for the adapter when I can pay $20 more and get an Apple TV that serves many other functions as well.
     
  13. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #13
    Yes. The irony is that as I type this, one of my Windows machine - the original Surface in fact - is going through an update and it's taking forever. It seems that Windows, despite getting a lot better, goes out of its way now and then to annoy me. :D
     
  14. username: macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2013
    #14
    I think Apple products are the best "personal" computers. They work best for me. But when I try to present, or multitask with a group, or work with other computers on other OSs I find it time consuming and difficult.

    Take your example. Wouldn't it be great to just get an iPad pro with the pencil, have your keynote/PowerPoint or notepad on there, and all you have to do is AirPlay to the PC connected to the projector to mirror your iPad screen.

    But to AirPlay to a PC you need third party software installed on both the iPad and the PC.

    Question: how exactly are you connecting to a projector at the moment? Because you can get VGA and HDMI adapters for the iPad.
     
  15. silverblack macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #15
    I had a surface pro 4 for about a month, hated it. It was totally unreliable. PowerPoint constantly crashing when inking, especially when using the undo function. About every few days, the whole OS will crash and could not wake from sleep. See this long thread of people reporting the problem. After 57 pages, it is still no where to be fixed.
    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us...p/f9a73aca-c13a-4e26-a1bf-f409eed1a96e?auth=1

    Finally, while the new surface pen is good, it is no where as good as the Apple pencil. You have got to try it. For me, I would buy the iPP just for teaching alone because of the pencil and Goodnotes. Surface does not even come close in teaching experience.
     
  16. iPadDad macrumors 6502

    iPadDad

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2014
    #16
    Go iPad Pro, if you hit an obstacle, there is always a way around with iPad. And I am sure the good things about the iPad Pro and living in an Apple eco system will make you smile and FAR out way the the bad, If there are even any you come across while working with it.
     
  17. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #17
    You can probably do them with Dropbox, Documents, Notability.
    What you can do is save your notes as PDF and save them in dropbox. Sync dropbox to the Documents app so you basically store them offline on your ipad. The main draw of pdf for me is that Apple devices tend to hand PDF documents very well, and I find the ability to zoom in on a document very handy.

    When you want to lecture, open the respective file in Notability. This creates a copy that resides in another app so you preserve the original copy.

    Notability has very basic annotation tools, but it is this simplicity that I appreciate. Switching between the various ink functions is very fast and straightforward compared to other apps like PDF expert where due to the myriad of options available, many of them tend to be hidden deep in submenus and this makes accessing them quite cumbersome.

    You can then have Notability sync a copy of your inked notes to dropbox as a backup. Any ipad will do, though you will probably at least an ipad Air 2 because I find the ipad mini a tad too small for writing (it can be done, I do it in class but sometimes find it quite cramped).
     
  18. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #18
    To be honest, so far, after 15 years of teaching and research, it's mostly "just me", so I guess the whole personal computing ethos is alright.

    At the moment, I'm just projecting to a projector via VGA (or HDMI) connector. Sometimes, the lecture hall has a built in projector, sometimes I have to bring one, and some have a full computer with media console. In any event, there are usually both VGA and HDMI connectors. What I'm finding now is that the VGA connectors seem less reliable in some rooms - and when combined with my aging Windows HP tablet - I'm having to seriously rethink how I present. Chalkboards have long disappeared, but I really rather not use whiteboards. I like having a record of what I write.

    I don't usually use PowerPoint when I lecture: I basically just use Windows Journal as an electronic notebook broadcast to the screen. I will occasionally bring up a PP deck to illustrate a specific example, so the need to annotate it on the fly is limited. However, the problems you're citing are a bit disturbing. There's nothing worse than having the computer shut down and then being forced to restart in the middle of a lecture... which is what happened to me last week with my old tablet.

    And yes, I keep hearing how great the Apple Pencil is. Since my old Wacom based pens no longer work with it or the new Surfaces, it matters less to me now whether I can continue to use my legacy technology.

    Interesting comments. I'm very tempted to try it out. Yes, I agree Apple handles PDFs better - they're rather clunky on Windows machines.

    I'm intrigued by your opinion about Notability's simplicity. That's actually a plus for me. When I writing, I hate drilling down into a myriad of submenus for simple tasks, and I actually don't need much additional functionality during the lecture itself.

    Question: Can I use the other end of the Apple Pencil as an eraser? I think the answer is no, correct? Any workarounds?
     
  19. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #19
    Well, I am a teacher in an elementary school teaching with an iPad in the classroom. I have tried several PDF apps for presenting my teaching material, and have kept going back to notability every time. It has fewer options, but those are options that I need, and the options that it does lack are those I don't really miss anyways.

    I just need one ink, one highlighter and one eraser and I am good to go.

    I also don't want my annotated documents syncing back to Dropbox and overwriting my existing files because I want to preserve a blank original copy for future lessons, so Notability works well in this regard as well.
    None I can think of, save manually switching to the eraser function in the app and back. If I can do it with my fingers on an iPad mini in class in a snap, you can too.
     
  20. username: macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2013
    #20
    No eraser.

    Here is what I would suggest:

    - get the iPad pro and pencil
    - buy the Lightning HDMI and VGA adapter
    - plug your iPad pro direct into the projector to mirror the display.
    - open up any notes app you like ( goodnotes, notability, etc) for your electronic whiteboard
    - have any slides in PowerPoint/keynote
    - keep your PDFs saved in iBooks, notability or PDF expert (Or any PDF app you prefer)

    Seems like this would replicate your current workflow
     
  21. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #21
    Most apps have a eraser button readily available, which you just tap to switch to eraser mode.

    Also, undo is your friend.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 27, 2016 ---
    Can you mark up PDF in iBooks? It's been a while since I opened a PDF in iBooks, so maybe this function has been added, but it used to be iBooks was strictly read-only.
     
  22. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #22
    Yes, that sounds about right. Thanks.

    I really prefer to just flip the stylus to erase, rather than hunting for the erase button. Given that I'm writing rapidly, I find it faster. I've tried using the erase button before on a variety of apps.

    Sigh... I suppose I could unlearn... ;)

    Are there any other stylus that work with the iPad Pro? I'm guessing no....
     
  23. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #23
    Oh, there are lots of stylus that work with the iPad Pro -- pretty much any stylus that works with the regular iPad will work with the Pro. But I doubt any of them have the "flip end to turn into eraser" function.
     
  24. username: macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2013
    #24

    No you can't mark up PDFs in iBooks. I don't know whether OP needs to markup PDFs once he/she has saved them. If so, needs another app like goodnotes, notability etc.
     
  25. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #25
    Yes, other styli should work with the iPad Pro... just as they work on the non-Pro iPads.

    There is one major thing that holds me back from using the iPad for presentation in seminars and classes:
    • Lack of support for presentation remotes.
    It's not always convenient to stand near the iPad during a presentation. I like being able to walk around and among attendees while presenting. I've got a terrific little Targus presentation remote that I use with my Macbook Air and Surface 2 tablet. Love it. The "recommended" solution of using an iPhone/iPod Touch is so inadequate that I wonder if the people who suggest it have actually used it. There are a few bluetooth remotes that claim to work, but they aren't reliable. Not a good thing for a remote control used during a presentation.
     

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