Testing out Visual Presentation iPad apps

This past week, I've had the pleasure of spending time with two iPad apps that have like functionalities, but many variances: ShowMe and Doceri. Below is my attempt to describe the similarities and differences of the two apps. This is just my opinion, and I since I haven't exhausted all the resources both apps provide, please take this post as an invitation to try them both out, and to share back with me what you think.

For someone who has used drawing programs before, both "visual presentation" apps were fairly intuitive to use. Each allows students to become teachers of the content they're learning, and empower teachers to pre/post record lessons to review concepts with students. Additionally, ShowMe and Doceri both integrate the Photo Library, Camera, and audio recording capabilities of the iPad. The main purpose of both seems to be that a teacher and/or students can record both the audio and the visual (e.g. drawings, work/annotations, maps, graphs). It's very useful when a teacher or student needs to "show and tell" at the same time. I'm assuming from the videos I've found of others, that math and science teachers particularly love that they and their students can explain the thinking process while writing, drawing, or solving a problem.

Still, there are some major distinctions. The biggest trick for me is the slide function on Doceri. It allows several layers of information that can be coupled with multiple videos, pictures, and more. I can see using this when explain multiple step problems anchored in real world information, or when putting students into groups where each student owns a slide. ShowMe appears to be more stand apart - something to cover one question, or information that doesn't need to be referenced later in the same presentation.  You get one screen that you can add layers to, but it doesn't allow the viewer to go back and forth between steps unless they rewind or fast forward the video.

When thinking of ease and simplicity, ShowMe wins out. There are 7 colors and one drawing tool, as opposed to Doceri's pre-Adobe Illustrator-esque feel with a make your own color palate, 10 drawing tools with varying thickness, opacity, and spacing (4 of which are math/physics teachers' dream). Both apps have a manual eraser, an erase last stroke function, and a clear all function, however, Doceri, also has a redo button. ShowMe once again proves to be uncomplicated because it allows the presenter to hide the toolbar, while Doceri's presenter recording will always look different from the audience's view. ShowMe's tools are simply scaffolded and presented so that even very young students can figure out how to change the colors, while Doceri requires a little bit more finesse.

Which leads to the two secret powers of Doceri, both requiring a more sophisticated user.

1. Doceri is awesome, especially if you have an Apple TV. It becomes a mobile whiteboard that detaches the teacher from the front of the class while keeping the information in one place. If a class has a set of iPads, the teacher can allow students to enable mirroring and now each student's iPad becomes the class's whiteboard. It works with your laptop or desktop computer to allow for really complex content from multiple sources in one presentation. Powerful.

2. Doceri lets you animate because you can record videos and make edits to the stops and slides aligned with your voice. This is something I have done less experimenting with, but that keeps creeping in my mind as one to launch soon. Some of the sample videos on Doceri show social studies teachers, science teachers, and artists using the animation function to make some pretty robust home videos. Check out this awesome Flight of the Bumble Bee Short Video

In the end, I've found purposes for both of these apps for unique reasons. I think they are both worth having in a teacher's tech tool kit. Teachers can give their students ownership by allowing the class to identify the strengths of both visual presentation softwares. Students research one of the apps, test it, present with and about it, and then review the presentations and arguments of self and classmates. It's the students' opinions that really matter in the end.

Please share your thoughts on the strengths and tricks of these apps with me!