Embedding Audio and Video in Keynote for iPad

For secondary educators, an iPad with wireless mirroring can be an excellent substitute for an interactive white board.  In talking with a number of secondary music educators this weekend at the Technology Workshop held at the Perpich Center for the Arts, many IWBs are idle in secondary music classrooms.  Put nicely: most secondary programs are so centered on performance and hectic schedules that the creation of interactive lessons is a “secondary” consideration (pun intended); and many of the “flashy” resources (pun again intended) are of little interest to us.  With all sincerity, if Keynote would include the ability to annotate slides, most of us would need little else to effectively use an iPad in our rehearsals as a teaching tool.  This was a feature that seemed to be included in a beta of the app–I have written Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) and asked for this to be put back into the program:

However, an elementary music teacher asked me about embedding SOUND into a Keynote presentation.  This teacher immediately focused on the point that makes the iPad less ideal for an elementary music teacher than an interactive white board: objects.

Yes, that’s right…go back and read that again, because I just admitted that this is a scenario where the iPad (as of 2/26/2012) isn’t as capable as an IWB.

Although I love Keynote for iPad, and prefer it above all other presentation apps (or desktop/notebook programs), it does have some limitations, primarily when it comes to objects.

If you are an elementary teacher and you love to have students manipulate objects (e.g. build a measure from a number of self-cloning music notes), you can’t do that in presentation mode on the iPad (although, you COULD in slide edit mode).

If you want to embed audio and video, it SEEMS that you can’t.

The trick with video is to save it in an iPad friendly format (m4v), and get the video into your camera roll (photo album).  The way to put video on the camera roll is different on Macs and PCs, and requires physical tethering to a computer and using iTunes to select what files are uploaded to your iPad’s photo album.  If you have an existing video and need it saved in an iPad friendly format, you can use Handbrake (a free app) to do that.  There are a number of programs that can convert a YouTube video as an iPad friendly video, and from time to time, there are apps available that convert YouTube files directly to your camera roll.  Apple approves these and deletes these on a semi-regular basis.  Once a video is in your camera roll, you can insert it into Keynote for iPad the same way you would add a picture.

What about audio?  This is a bit more tricky.  What you can do is to embed an audio file into a blank movie using iMovie for the iPad, and to save the movie to your camera roll (photo album).  When your non-video is in the camera roll, drop it in your keynote presentation, make it as small as possible, then send it to back, make its opacity 0%, and set it to AutoPlay.

Both of these are NOT ideal solutions, but they are solutions.

My other thought: is there an app, which likely has both the moveable objects and audio that you desire, that can used in the place of a created “IWB” lesson?

However, for the teacher wishing to make an interactive lesson as they would on an IWB, the iPad is not a perfect replacement.

Here’s another thought: what if SMART or Promethean brought a version of their program to the iPad?  Then you could have the best of both worlds (but at the same time, this might cause the market for IWBs to disappear, so perhaps a different developer needs to bring such a program to the iPad).

That reminds me: I’m going to go and e-mail Tim Cook about these items again!

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