Monday, 5 August 2013

Using Driving Instructor Software

As a Driving Instructor I'm always looking for ways to improve training methods and introduce new ideas. Having been a fan of the Android operating system I was looking for ways to introduce using an Android tablet into driving lessons. Looking on the Android market there was only a few driving instructor apps that I could utilise with any effect, so I looked at the apps on iTunes to find quite a few apps that I thought could be used to good effect. So i decided to take the plunge and paid my near £500 for an iPad 4th generation.

As a tablet the iPad is very restrictive, loading Mp3 and movie files is laborious and time consuming. Where on an Android device it's as easy as easy as moving a file from one folder to the next. It also came as a massive shock that the iPad does not come with a basic office suite or even a calculator, when both were present straight out of the box on my cheap Chinese Android tablet (£129). But Google came to the rescue with Google Docs so i now have a spreadsheet and word processor (free) and it is syncing nice with my Android phone and Windows 7 PC. Office suites are available on the app store but at around £14 can be expensive if it ends up not being as good as the company selling it states. On the Android market you usually get a free alternative or a few hours to try the app if its paid. So for a near £500 tablet I do have a few moans and groans about it. On the positive side the iPad looks the part, it's as smooth as silk to use, boots up in around 19 seconds and the battery lasts an age. The iPad 4th generation that i bought developed a fault in the first few days, which the Apple store resolved by giving me a totally new tablet. So no complaints about after sales whatsoever.


So with iPad in hand I started to look on the App Store for Driving Instructor apps. The stand out app was called RoadBoard. This app allows instructors to quickly draw a road situation or use templates to draw just about any scenario which could appear in real life driving. You can drag and drop just about any object, cars, traffic signs, traffic lights or any other every day obstacle on to a pre drawn road. These maps can then be saved for quick retrieval within the program and all this is done with a similar speed as using the old style lesson plans with laminated sheets and felt tip pens that Driving Schools use and you can draw freehand on the maps as well. You can also use the screenshot feature on the iPad to save a .png file which when manipulated in a graphics editor can make some good diagrams for website use. Other apps that that were available were Hazard Perception, Theory Test and other general learning to drive apps, most of which are not available for Android devices.

So if you're Driving School and are considering utilising a tablet computer in lessons and want to look cool in a posh coffee shop, iPad is the only choice because there is a great deal of driving instructor software available. If you want a tablet computer that does a lot more straight from the box and isn't restrictive, then I'd go for an Android.