IPad Training Overview: 8 Productivity Tools for the Classroom

Interactive Whiteboard Apps – ShowMe, Screenchomp, and Explain Everything

ShowMeScreenChompExplain Everything

These three powerful applications convert your iPad into an interactive whiteboard. Those of you who use your whiteboard in your classroom will find this extremely helpful. Especially if you’re teaching an online course and common classroom objects like a whiteboard must now become virtual. Although these applications are created by separate companies, they share three important features that you would want within a virtual whiteboard program. One, is the ability to illustrate your thoughts. Using your finger or stylus you’re given the ability to draw everything from simple text to complex labeled drawings. With the added features of multiple colors to illustrate with, drawing on your tablet is rather simple and only limited by your own creativity. The second feature that is crucial for a virtual whiteboard is the ability to record and present narration. Each application provides you with a record button that allows you to record your voice in real-time. You have the option to record as you draw or simply create your text or illustrations first and then record your voice afterwards. The third feature that all three programs possess is the ability to share your whiteboard session with others. All three programs use an outside web address to record your sessions and share them with whomever you like, as long as you provide the link. Fortunately ShowMe and ScreenChomp are both free programs. Explain Everything has a price tag of $2.99, but with all the features that come with the free applications I feel you shouldn’t need to purchase anything. ShowMe and ScreenChomp both require you to register them online if you wish to utilize the sharing options. Registration is free and simple. According to Apple’s App Store you also have the ability to share your recordings with the community or keep private.

Here is a quick video on how virtual whiteboards work. ShowMe is the main application used in this video.


For more information on ShowMe click here.

For more information on ScreenChomp click here.

For more information on Explain Everything click here.



Evernote, is another free application that will help your productivity in the classroom by providing you with the ability to stay organized by saving any ideas you can think of. This program allows you to capture photos, take notes, create lists, and record voice reminders. Everything you record or create is searchable and can be synced across multiple devices. Evernote can also be accessed through the web, so if you are using a non-Apple product, you can still access all of your notes and information. Another great feature of Evernote is the opportunity to view webpages and save them for later use. This works much like using “favorites” in Google Chrome except Evernote takes a snapshot of the actual webpage and can be accessed off-line. Some practical ways that you can use this program in a classroom are by taking snapshots of your lecture notes, whiteboard, or even any text in a book for your later use.

For more information on Evernote click here.

Penultimate and Skitch: Evernote add-ons


Penultimate is a simple and free handwriting tool for the iPad that gives you the experience of writing on paper with the added power and flexibility of Evernote. Like Evernote, with this application you can take notes, keep sketches, or share ideas. Even though the text is in your own handwriting it remains searchable with the text recognition capability of this program. You can store your Penultimate notes in notebooks, projects, categories, or topics. Once you create a Penultimate note, it is synced to your Evernote account automatically. According to Apple, you can also view your list of notebooks as a carousel or sort and scroll in a fast grid view. Penultimate also allows you to insert, delete, duplicate, and reorganize pages within and between notebooks. Like the virtual whiteboard applications mentioned before, Penultimate gives you the ability to draw complex illustrations using multiple color or create simple handwritten text using your finger or stylus.

For more information on Penultimate click here.

Skitch is another Evernote add-on that allows you to communicate important ideas and increase production. This program allows you to take a picture using a device and add labels or text. This program also allows you to use arrows, stamps, and other items to help clarify the ideas your creating. Skitch, like the other programs we’ve reviewed in this blog is free to download and use. You can easily crop or an image and add captions. An added ability to this program is the opportunity to share your creations using email or airdrop. You can also post to a social media streams such as Facebook or Pintrist for your students to see and display your ideas. If you’re sharing your ideas with others who may not have an Apple product, unique links can be created to help you share your notes and images with students and faculty alike.

For more information on Skitch click here.

VoiceThread and Audio Memos


VoiceThread allows you to create and share your conversations around documents, snapshots, diagrams and videos. You can talk, type, and draw on the screen as the application records your actions. Your recorded threads can be easily shared and your students can join the discussion from their devices. Because this program is web-based, it can be accessed by students who may not have Apple devices. This simple program is easily accessible and records your discussions a lot like the whiteboard apps we shared at the beginning of this blog. According to the Apple App Store website, with the free version you can make five free voicethreads using this application. After that, you can purchase another five voice threads or upgrade to a Pro subscription, which allows you to create an unlimited number of voice threads. Sharing is made easy by allowing you to send an email. This application requires you to create a voice thread account where all of your threads will be stored.

For more information on VoiceThread click here.

Audio memos is a type of voice recorder for the iPhone and iPad that allows you to increase productivity and organization in the classroom by recording reminders and memos in an easy to use format. This program is free except it is ad supported so you get most of the full version features with no limits on recording length. The ads are very small and not distracting enough to warrant not using the program. You can send recordings to others by email with sizes up to 3 MB. You can record even when your devices in sleep mode and this program pauses automatically in the event of an incoming phone call when used on the iPhone. Recordings can be saved and shared with anyone which in my opinion, makes this program and easy to use organization tool for the classroom whether it be brick-and-mortar or virtual.

For more information on Audio Memos click here.

About Dustin Sponsler

Dustin R. Sponsler, M.Ed., is the eLearning Design and Support Specialist for the Miami Regional Campuses. He has earned his Master of Education degree at Ashland University and recently graduated from Rio Salado in Arizona with a degree in eLearning Design. Dustin can be reached by email at sponsldr@miamioh.edu