For a few years now I've had an Elmo document camera (like a video camera) connected to both my computer and an LCD projector; with this setup I can project what's on my computer screen or whatever I put under the document camera. Think of it as an improved overhead projector!
I've been less than happy with the LCD projector; color, which is fairly important in a math class, especially when graphing, appears washed out, and the bulbs for those projectors run into three digits. I've said for a while now that I'd rather have a large screen TV up on the wall--the image would be crystal clear, and the cost would be equal to one Elmo and one bulb.
I now have a 70" Sharp television, and it's beautiful. It's *so* much easier to view, everything just "pops". My principal also gave me an iPad and a mount that essentially allows me to use the iPad camera as an Elmo. Additionally, I can project anything from the iPad up onto the TV. Think of the possibilities! Anyway, my principal asked me to try all this out and see what I think, and let him know if perhaps this is a direction the school should move regarding technology.
OK, I've only been using this setup for less than 2 weeks now, so it's possible I haven't had enough time to be sold on it yet, but to be honest, I'm just not seeing how an iPad makes my teaching or my students' learning any better. The iPad seems like overkill when I use it as a glorified Elmo, and since being a document camera isn't its primary purpose, it's not even as convenient to use as an Elmo is. I've been told, "there are all these apps you can use, and..." but it's so much easier (and seemingly more effective) for me to write on paper than it is to use apps. If I'm teaching graphing, I'd rather do it on paper under a document camera than to use a stylus or, even worse, my fingertip, on an iPad. When I work a problem out it's easier to do it naturally, with paper and pencil, than it is to try to use the iPad as a glorified whiteboard.
It's like I'm trying to force the iPad to fit into my teaching, and it's not working, and I'm not really inclined to change my teaching so that the iPad fits in. It's supposed to be my tool, not vice versa. And I haven't even mentioned the once- or twice-daily glitches that I encounter; they're not horrible, but they exist, and they take 30-60 seconds to fix, which is more than enough time for a class to start getting off-task.
I mentioned to some students today that what would be ideal for me would just be to get the Elmo image up on the TV. One student remarked, "The iPad is a solution in search of a problem." He's quite right.