Tuesday, July 22, 2014

ShowMe the Backgrounds!

One of my favorite apps to showcase in professional development workshops is the whiteboard app ShowMe.  The free app is very simple and intuitive to use.  Touch the record button, speak and/or write and draw on the whiteboard and then touch the record button again.  The tools are not elaborate -- different colored pens, eraser, the ability to insert images -- but they are still powerful.  The finished products get stored at Showme.com where they are searchable (if you want them to be) and likeable.  You can follow users to find and share their ShowMes.  Teachers can create classes and see all their students' Show Mes.  Teachers can easily use ShowMe to create flipped lessons, but students can also use it to demonstrate their understanding of a topic or create something unique that can be shared with the world.  When I am facilitating iPad PD, I ask teachers to create short intros using ShowMe.  It's a fun way to get started and often teachers share that they like the idea enough that they plan to try it in their own classrooms.

On Sunday ShowMe released a great update that allows users to create ShowMes with different backgrounds.  A great app just got better!  When you tap the insert image button, you see 4 options now, including Choose a background:

When you touch Choose a background, you see the options for backgrounds:

The free options are the whiteboard, a grey background, a green background (I love this one because it looks like my chalkboard), and a black background (blackboard!).  For $0.99 you can buy some other background packs -- a lined paper pack, a graph/grid pack, a coordinate plane pack, and a dots grid pack.  I immediately bought the lined paper pack and the graph/grid pack because these will come in very handy for teaching science.

I can see where some people might be disappointed that these backgrounds have created an in-app purchase in what was once a totally free app, but I like this as an option.  Instead of charging for the simple features, everyone still gets the app for free.  For people who don't need these new backgrounds, they still get the beautiful simplicity of ShowMe without extra cost.  For those of us that need the lined paper or the graph, paying $0.99 seems like a great bargain to get these very usable backgrounds.  Here's a look at a quick ShowMe I made tonight with the new graph background.  Thanks, ShowMe, for the terrific update!

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