If you like to use your iPhone, iPad or laptop in your classroom because it allows you to effortlessly navigate the learning space, one of the greatest frustrations can be having to constrain yourself to the vicinity of the projector cable every time you want to share your screen with the class.
I have seen this as a common practice even in open plan learning environments, which instantly does away with it’s greatest feature by forcing the teacher to move back to the front of the room.
Whilst you can get wireless projectors at great expense, have you ever thought of using Apple’s $99 Apple TV? I hadn’t until recently, but since using it I could never go back to a physical projector/tv connection for the following 4 reasons:
1. No Wires!
You can share your iPhone, iPod, iPad or Mac’s screen so long as both devices are on the same wi-fi network. Just click your AirPlay icon, select your Apple TV and you are free to roam your classroom without thinking twice. It really is amazing to see the shift in classroom dynamic this creates, especially with something as light as an iPad, as you can attend to individual students as you share with the whole class.
Once you click on the AirSharing icon on your iOS device, you’ll be able to select what you’d like to do next with your wireless stream. Check out the next image for an idea on what that will look like.
2. Don’t just share your own screen. Share your students!
If you teach a class in which students are creating content on their Mac or iPhone/iPad, they can share it with Apple TV just as easily as you can. This is great if you have a student producing something that you want the whole class to see, or maybe they want to share their work for feedback and class discussion. A great feature of this is that it empowers your students by giving them a platform to share their work with the class, rather than keeping it to themselves. Classroom Apple TV etiquette will need to be developed however to avoid students sharing their screen as a joke.
3. Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr, Podcasts & iTunes U
Apple TV has access to YouTube, iTunes podcasts as well as Flickr, Vimeo and iTunes U making it a great way to share educational content from any of these services with your class. You can even use your iPhone/iPad as a remote allowing you to quickly enter text, and with the latest Apple TV update you can finally use a bluetooth keyboard for fast text entry!
If you have an iPhone or iPad with an iCloud account you can select this as the Apple TV’s screensaver which can make a great classroom backdrop. Imagine you have students working in groups on a big project and you want to document it. You can roam the classroom with your iPhone or iPad camera taking photos as the projects develop. This is wirelessly uploaded to your iCloud account and then appears almost instantly on the Apple TV Photostream feed allowing the whole class to watch as each project develops.
These are just four of the ways I have used the Apple TV to transform not just the classroom experience, but also at our office space at Epic Tutorials. How are you using the Apple TV in the classroom?