Trackpad vs IWB or Trackpad + IWB

I’ve had the Apple Trackpad in my classroom for two days now and already I can see a change in my teaching!

  • For a start I can wander around the classroom and refer back to what’s showing on the screen without moving back to my laptop – that keeps me in contact with the student or students I’m working with.
  • It takes me away from the “front” of the classroom. (I don’t have a desk but I do have a seat beside my laptop which is connected to the data projector.)
  • It puts the mouse control into the students’ hands especially when using interactive websites.
  • If I’m working with a small group and want to refer to something on our class, maths or literacy wiki I will be able to do that and not lose continuity with the work we’re doing.

But does it do away with the IWB?

I don’t think so – I think students will use the trackpad to manipulate IWB notebooks (as well as interactive websites) but I doubt they’ll be able to write using the trackpad or use the popout keyboard. (I haven’t tested it on my students BUT I can’t write with the trackpad!)

I’m also not sure if it’s compatible with PCs. Sad for PC using teachers but good news for Apple using teachers. I wonder if any other teachers are using the trackpad?

I have a Mimio in my classroom – it works alongside my traditional whiteboard and is on the cheaper end of IWB products. I like it because there’s not a lot for kids to damage (I heard one teacher say at a conference that his kids had to stay at least 1 meter away from their IWB in case they damage it!) and it’s easy to set up and use.