Haiku Deck Makes IPad Awesome Presos (review)

For me, dragging my laptop from office to classroom to teach is can be a pain. As you can see, my laptop lives on a stand, connected to a second monitor, complete with a wireless mouse and keyboard. Chuf, chuf, chuf to the classroom.

My desk in the Hampshire College Library

Inconvenience aside, when I am teaching with visual aids, I feel like my laptop is a barrier between the class and myself. The laptop obscures my face and in order to do demonstrations from the internet, I feel like I am tied to the seat where the laptop is living during the class. To that end, I made it a goal for myself to use my iPad more in teaching this year, especially since some of our classrooms have Apple TV which allows users to beam images and texts from iPads directly to screens. Fortunately, I found a new, neat, free presentation app for the iPad called Haiku Deck.

Michael Rose over at TUAW wrote a neat little review that provides a strong overview of the app’s features, but I want to talk about using this app in the context of teaching.

The Good

  1. Clean text that is easy to read on a screen.
  2. Timesaving, instant access to Creative Commons images. It’s a pleasure to build presentations in this app.
  3. Ability to easily swipe through slides while presenting.
  4. Easy export and sharing. I like the idea of tweeting some of my presentations.
  5. Free on iOS, a major plus since I was about to buy Keynote for iOS.

The Not-So-Good

  1. Paying for additional layout options.
  2. An app that only works in landscape mode whether presenting or editing.
  3. To my knowledge, you can’t repurpose slides between presentations. This is a disappointment since I sometimes like to repurpose slides across presentations I do. I wish there was a way of keeping a cache of slides in the app that could be recycled across presentations.
  4. Not as easy to embed URLs into presentations, which can be a help sometimes when doing more technical demonstrations.

I road tested my first presentation during several of my classes last week. It looked good on the screen. The image quality wowed my students. Overall, I really enjoyed teaching from the iPad, especially now that I can be cord free with Apple TV. The pad sat on my lap and I felt like Mr. Rogers, in a good way.

Best of all, I made eye contact with everyone in way that was not possible when doing presentations with the laptop. I had a blast and I think my students did, too. Thanks, Haiku Deck, I think this is the start of a beautiful relationship.