Drawing on screen

One of the more common questions we’ve been asked in the CTIL team is how to incorporate hand drawn content – such as equations, graphs etc.

I saw a tweet from James Clay, leading to his post on just this issue  – using a tablet as a separate whiteboard.

To summarise his post –

  • Start a teams meeting in the app, on the main computer.
  • Join the same meeting from your tablet.
  • Go to share, and select “screen” – that will share everything on the tablet’s screen.

I’ve tested it, both with an iPad and an Android Samsung tablet with success. A couple of points that I realised

  • Make sure that both the audio and mike are off on the tablet, to avoid any feedback.
  • Get the drawing package ready – so you can quickly switch to it.
  • Don’t forget to leave the team meeting on the tablet, once you’ve left it on the main device.

I’ve also tried using the tablet as a visualiser in the same way – by sharing the video, rather than the screen. I used a tripod and tablet holder. The tablet holder didn’t fit the iPad well without its case; however as I wanted to see the screen, the rear facing camera made sense, so I had to wedge it in a bit. Trying to get a good angle, so I could write on the paper, while still seeing the computer for any chat and talking – was a bit of a challenge! It was much easier with the tablet on the desk next to me, using the drawing package!

For a phone, though, that’s a little too small to draw on, I could see a phone (and home made stand) working well.

As you can see, writing under the tripod isn’t easy!

The whole other question is  “what’s the best app” to draw and annotate. But, I’ll leave that for another time.


I’ve got teams, they’re multiplying…

… and I’m losing control.

Well, not quite, but it feels like that at times. Communication is so important. Methods of communication that suit everyone is so difficult. Teams have exploded recently, I’ve been added to quite a lot – I’ve actively joined some, mostly outwith the University, but I’ve not got the time to keep up with them, though I’d joined them for the range of information they offered.

I find teams difficult, in particular, the fact that I can’t sort out particular posts that I want to save. With email, I use folders extensively. Sometimes a post from a particular person goes to “their” folder, other times it’ll go to a subject based one. [Or it just lurks in the inbox … ] With teams, though, it stays in a team – I can’t sort it based on my personal logic. We’ve also realised as a group that some of the channels haven’t been named well, so changing them seems like a sensible solution – until you’re looking for a file in Sharepoint – and can’t quite remember what the channel started its life being called. I’ve also discovered that setting yourself to do not disturb while logged into teams on the laptop doesn’t really work if you forget to close the app on the iPad!

For all I grumble,  it’s got a lot of benefits, especially for information I need now, but not necessarily in the future. And I’ve discovered how to pin chats, favourite individuals, and the general differences between a group chat and a team – so it’s getting easier. I still prefer Slack, though …

This last week was very hectic, getting exams ready for next week. It’s really difficult; as we know that one size doesn’t fit all. That said, our team is small, and we can’t provide a custom set up for everyone, much as it would be good to be able to do. Making something that covers all needs has been a huge challenge – but I think we’re there! The next few weeks will be hectic, but it’s now a much clearer process having done the first week’s worth. That’s also why my Friday post has become a Sunday evening post.

Going forward to next week – I’d really hoped to be able to get time to have some more informal, 1:1 coffee break / chat times with colleagues. That didn’t work at all, nor did trying to catch up on the backlog of draft posts in here. It’s a new week tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have time.

On a more personal front, the Lego model is being constructed and my garden is far more prepared for the summer than it’s ever been before/

Things I’ve read this week. 

Martin Weller’s Jaws and the Online Pivot – It’s years since I’ve seen Jaws, so I’d forgotten some of the plot – reading his post reminded me of the plot – and as always, he made pertinent points.

One of our students reminded us all of the importance of having routine during lockdown (wish I could managed to stop by 4pm each day!)

An article in today’s Observer looked at the issues facing Universities in the move to fully online teaching – up till now, as it’s so close to the end of term, most online teaching has been mostly communication, supporting students to prepare for assessment etc., rather than introducing new content. And, it’s generally with students who know the staff. In September, we’ll be in the same position as Australian and New Zealand’s Universities were in February – albeit we’ll have had more warning.

Steven Anderson’s tweet highlighting the important of activity over tool, using one of Prensky’s quotes.

What I’ll try to do this week

  • Get those at least 1 of those draft posts finished
  • Actually do some of the craft, reading, photography, and other things I’d planned to do in lockdown. Though, to be fair, had the weather not been so dry, they may have been done. On reflection, being outside trumps most things.

And a photo – this was taken one evening on a walk down on the beach.

If we can’t be 2m apart, lets just look opposite ways