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Why an iPad shouldn’t replace a visualiser


Product Advice

In recent times the Apple iPad has become commonplace in the classroom; when used to good effect they are a powerful teaching and learning tool. There are however many reasons why a teacheru shouldn’t replace a visualiser with an iPad.

Two hand use

To show an object or image on the classroom display, the teacher will have to try and hold the device whilst annotating or moving and pointing out different parts of the image. The teacher will only have one hand to be able to demonstrate. Being on a stand, visualisers don’t have this problem, they don’t need you to hold onto them, and so they leave the teacher to have full mobility and both hands free to demonstrate.


With an iPad, you will need to have a stable Wi-Fi connection to make the image appear from the device onto a screen. This is not good for rooms which may not have as good of a connection to a Wi-Fi. If you can’t display the image due to Wi-Fi issues, then you are losing out on a big part of your lesson. Visualisers don’t rely on Wi-Fi, you can plug it straight in and therefore no matter what, and you can display all images without an issue.

Zoom option

One of the biggest reasons that a visualiser is better than using an iPad is that many have an optical zoom. An iPad has a good camera but has digital zoom meaning that you will lose some picture quality when you zoom in. The differences between optical and digital zoom are explained in our blog here.

Image tools

Many visualisers offer several functions additional teaching tools – several are shown here on the Elmo LX-1 movie. In brief, the main tools include:

  • Split-screen – you can put an image on screen and freeze one side so you can compare it with another image, perfect for peer assessment, compare before and after and more.
  • Freeze frame – you can stop an image on the screen so the students can focus on that image until you have set up what you want to put on the screen next.
  • Annotate – a teacher, without the need to hold the iPad, can highlight areas and make notes on the live image

In Summary

Visualisers are a very strong addition to the classroom and will transform the way a teacher demonstrate, presents, shares and compares in the classroom. It is engaging and seeing the image on the screen gives the students the ability to see themselves or their teachers manipulating the object or annotating a piece of work.

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