I have written here about Doceri, an app that allows you to control your computer from the iPad, annotate your computer (screen) with the iPad, and project a blank screen for giving notes with your iPad. Doceri went a long way toward changing how I did things in the classroom; I didn’t use my interactive white board after I had Doceri. The two problems with Doceri, however, were its mouse funcitonality was less than smooth (i.e. the way it allowed you to control your computer from the iPad) and it wasn’t immediately clear how to share the annotations / notes with others (Doceri, nicely, records a screen cast of whatever you do but then saves it in a proprietary format, and I never got beyond that).

About a month ago, our tech director (thanks (again), LS) got for me Splashtop, an app that is essentially identical in purpose to Doceri. I was excited to play around with it, and I finally have to the extent that I can say something substantive about it. In short, it’s great. It has three advantages (over Doceri) and one disadvantage.

First and foremost, it’s more than half the price (Doceri = $50; Splashtop = $20); more on that below.

Second, its mouse functionality is great. I have had no problems at all controlling my computer with Splashtop, including in the trickier situations (anytime you’re in a corner, or near another window; in short, any situation that requires precision), and its multi-touch gestures are more intuitive. A final bonus: when you call up the on-screen keyboard (for, say, typing a Google search or entering a username and password on your computer), Splashtop adds its own top bar which includes arrow keys; those alone make life much easier.

Third, it allows you to save your notes as .jpgs, and it installs a Splashtop folder on your desktop where they are stored. This makes accessing them (for sharing; more on that in another post) very easy.

The only drawback I’ve found so far is that the actual writing is somewhat finicky. There is a delay between when you write on the iPad and when the stroke appears (only a second, but enough to sometimes be confusing, especially if you’re writing quickly), and sometimes strokes, especially short, quick ones, aren’t registered. This seems to be especially the case when writing in the smallest size pen. I am wondering if these difficulties are with the app or with my stylus (using the basic Targus stylus from Best Buy); that is something I’ve not yet been able to explore, but I’d like to try a stylus with more of a rigid / pencil nib, than the more common compressable-bubble nib, to see if that has any effect.

So I’m liking Splashtop for its price, its mouse functionality, and its sharing and file management. I’m guessing the writing will come with some practice and/or a shift in my equipment.