“If we can make learning fun and fuel our children’s natural curiosity, we’ve already taken a giant step forward.” – Thomas Deng, USA

Here at Daily Edventures, we’re always excited to share new apps that have the potential to transform the 1:1 classroom experience, and our announcement today with Splashtop Inc. makes us very excited indeed. The Splashtop Whiteboard app, built on top of the Splashtop Remote Desktop, now turns any Windows 8 device into an interactive whiteboard. And we’re fortunate to have Splashtop co-founder Thomas Deng with us today to talk about what this app does, and what inspired its creation.  

Deng enjoyed a highly successful career leading technology development efforts at Intel, Motorola and the NASA Science Internet Office. But in spite of this success, he felt drawn to education, and in 2006, Deng co-founded Splashtop, Inc., along with company CEO Mark Lee 

Since then, the company’s Remote Desktop has enjoyed popularity around the world, winning numerous awards for innovation. More than 16 million people have downloaded Splashtop products already, and manufacturing partners have shipped Splashtop on more than 100 million devices. 

With the Splashtop Whiteboard app, now available from the Windows Store at a special launch price of $9.99 per user, teachers can connect to their classroom computer over Wi-Fi, watch video content with fully synchronized audio, control their favorite applications, and then annotate lesson content all from their Windows 8 tablet. In essence, teachers can now interact with students at their desks or from all four corners of the classroom. 

Deng is particularly excited about the fact that students and teachers are no longer limited by the physical classroom. He tells us, So much is available within just a few keystrokes or taps that engaging learners is easier than ever, whether it is the variety of educational content targeted for multiple intelligences, exercise learning at different levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, or differentiated learning.” 

And Splashtop Whiteboard makes all of these possibilities a reality, giving teachers complete control over applications like Microsoft Office or PowerPoint from their Windows 8 tablet. Teachers can use gestures to draw and highlight using different colored and sized pens, highlighters. They can use shapes, and text tools over existing content or blank, ruled or graphed backgrounds. And they can take snapshots of the screen and save them to the gallery for later use, or email them to students, parents or colleagues. 

The benefit? Increasedengagement, with the ability to both create and consume content that is more mobile and accessible to students of all abilities.  We’re thrilled that Splashtop has committed to build on the Windows 8 platform. They’re an important partner who shares our vision of anytime, anywhere learning for all, and I can’t wait to see how educators use this new tool to make that vision a reality. 

Here is today’s Daily Edventure with Thomas Deng. Enjoy!

What drew you to the field of education? Why is it important to you?
I’ve been so fortunate to have had so many amazing teachers who have been such an inspiration, and I believe strongly that great educators are our most prized resource.

My greatest aspiration is to find ways to make it easier for educators to engage and motivate their students to realize their potential. 

Can you tell us about a favorite teacher, or someone who made a difference in your education?

Of course my most influential teachers were my parents, who taught me the values of hard work and perseverance and instilled in me a lifelong commitment to learning. 

In your view, what is the most exciting innovation happening in education today?
The use of technology is the most exciting innovation happening in education today – there are so many resources available that there are no longer any excuses to have students bored or disengaged.  Daniel Pink says in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, “The joy of the task was its own reward.”  If we can make learning fun and fuel our children’s natural curiosity, we’ve already taken a giant step forward.

Is there a 21st century skill (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, or creativity and innovation) that you are most passionate about? Why?
Increasingly, success is defined not by how much you know or what you know, but rather by how well you adapt to new situations, how quickly you can synthesize new information and concepts, and how effectively you can work with others.  The 21st century skills framework provides a healthy balance for the development of conceptual knowledge, metacognitive skills, and real-world communication and collaboration skills.

If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?
I’d say Internet access would be the most valuable educational tool we could provide to every child in the world – this gives students everywhere access not only to information to fuel their curiosity, but to great educators worldwide through such amazing resources as YouTube, Khan Academy, Coursera, and EdX, to name a few.

AboutThomas Deng, Senior Vice President of Product Management, Splashtop Inc.
California, USA

  • Birthplace: Taiwan
  • Current residence: Cupertino, California
  • Education: BS/MS in EECS at MIT, currently working on a Master’s in Education through University of Phoenix
  • Website I check every day: Slashdot
  • Person who inspires me most: Fantastic teachers.
  • Favorite childhood memory: Disneyland.
  • Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Business trip to Asia.
  • When was the last time you laughed? Why? Every day playing with my three kids.
  • Favorite book: Most recently, Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw.
  • Favorite quote or motto: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
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