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Using The iPad as a Recordable, Wireless Whiteboard

by | Dec 11, 2011 | 1 comment

One of Apple’s great improvements of the iPad2 was the ability to project almost everything done on it, including browsing. This went a long way to making the iPad2 more of an instructional tool. If only there was a way to make annotations during instruction and then maybe record that so students could review later…

Well, I’m glad you asked. You can do this now in a relatively inexpensive way.

AirSketchThere are a few approaches to getting this done, but for this posting, I’ll go over the easiest and least expensive way. An iPad app called Air Sketch allows you create a wireless whiteboard using your iPad, computer, and projection system. And, if you combine this with the latest (free) QuickTime player’s ability to record the Mac screen and audio, then you can record a movie of your demonstration for playback at another time.

Air Sketch comes in a free version (black and white annotation only), and a $9 version which adds multiple colors, pens, access to photo library for overlays, and zoom/pan capability. The setup couldn’t be easier.

The Wireless Whiteboard

Once you’ve installed Air Sketch, open it, and click on the icon in the lower left of the screen to see the IP address it has created on your network for connection. By default, it uses the 8080 port (so not to interfere with any existing web server that may be running on port 80). This port can be changed if necessary.

Air Sketch Setup

Air Sketch assigns an IP for connection.

Next, open a browser on your computer and enter the IP address with port number assigned by Air Sketch. (In the example below: This will produce a blank webpage with the Air Sketch logo in the lower right. (I’ve already written “Hello!” in the example below.)

Air Sketch on browser

This is what you’ll see on your connected browser.

Now, as you write on your iPad, your sketching will be duplicated in realtime on the browser of your computer. If your computer is connected to a projector, then you may roam the classroom freely with iPad in hand and adding annotations to your instruction.

New Screen Recording in QuickTime

New Screen Recording in QuickTime

Recording The Session

Should you want to record the session for playback in the future, QuickTime (OS X 10.6 or later) has you covered. Open QuickTime and select New Screen Recording under the File menu.

This brings up a window that allows you to make microphone input and quality settings.

Recording Settings

Recording Settings






Once these settings are made, you’re ready to click on the red record button and begin your session.

The following video is a quick session I made using this same setup:


While you can use your finger to make these annotations, I recommend purchasing a stylus (about $10) to give you finer control.

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