Monday, May 6, 2013

Use your iPad as a document camera

The iPad camera is probably the most popular feature of the iPad. It's easy to use and teachers, no matter how "savvy", can find ways to use it in their teaching right off the bat. And with the iPad Mini's high performance HD video, it's only getting better. So it makes sense that teachers start using their iPads as document cameras. Paired with Airserver or Apple TV, it makes a powerful combo.

At this year's METC Conference, I came across a booth from a company called MAX Interactive Cases. But it wasn't their cases that caught my attention, it was their iPad stands. We recently purchased a few to check out their pros and cons. Here's what we learned:

MAX Handstand:
$59.95 ($49.95 educational pricing)
Works well with iPad and Mini

This is a nice low-cost stand. It's basically a gooseneck with a mount.  I was a bit skeptical about the sturdiness of the neck, but was pleasantly surprised when it arrived. It's fairly easy to use (I don't think I'd want it to be really easy). I imagine it will loosen up over time. A "C" clamp attaches the stand to any table. The mount has a ball and socket joint that lets you move the iPad freely. It also came with two mounts, one for the full sized iPad and one for the Mini. The only knock I have is with the actual mount. It has a four point clip that you connect to the iPad holder. I can see the possibility of breaking one of the clips if you aren't careful.

Mount for the Handstand. You set the holder on the mount and slide up or down to attach/detach. 
MAX Handstand DX
$199 ($179.99 educational pricing)
Works with iPad, but not Mini
Cupcakes not included

The DX is the high end model. It has a very sturdy arm that is also easy to move. The mount rotates so it's easy to position the iPad in any location. Another nice feature is the iPad mount itself. There is a locking mechanism that holds the iPad mount to the arm. It grabs the iPad on all four sides for increased security. I couldn't get it to securely hold a Mini even in its case. I didn't see if there was a way to lock the actual arm to the table, but I might have missed that. If you have the funds, this robust stand will do the job nicely. 

Overall, I don't think you could go wrong with either stand. Being able to get a $50 stand for a classroom is a nice buy. If you are careful with the mount on the Handstand, I think it's the way to go because you can get three Handstands for the price of one DX. 

If you are a CPS employee and want to test one in the classroom, just let me know. I'd be happy to bring it out to you and see what you think. 

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