Sunday, April 01, 2012

iPad Projection & Sharing Options

So you're lucky enough to have just introduced iPads into your class and now you're wondering what the best options are for linking to a projector to share what's on your iPad screen with the rest of the class, perfect for demonstration, just like you've been using your IWB for the last few years. As with most things there is always more than one way to do it, not to mention that this is changing on a daily basis as new Apps and devices are being launched and updated.
Enabling students to share their work to a main screen, or even collaborating on a project with an iPad that is passed from student to student is really slick.

The ability to mirror whatever is on the iPad is so powerful. You now have a true mobile document camera and recording device for example. With the additional capacity of Apple TV you have effectively turned computers into media centres and with the right vision you now have the ability to pull and push content around your school building.

The possibilities are endless, for example if you're exploring minibeasts in science, you could browse Safari for relevant facts and use an app like Popplet to collect and share them, then discuss. In a Design Tech. class, instead of just talking about it, try sharing an initial design concept via the iPad projection and encourage all to collaboratively annotate and improve it using an App like Skitch or GroupZap - watch their ideas grow in real-time.  Or when researching the Tudors in history, collect different facts in small groups about Henry VIII and his wives, use something like 'Primary Wall', then discuss. With an iPad this process is totally collaborative and transformative, and more importantly its cheap and so easy to do I can guarantee that you won't even need technical support to make it happen.

Im sure at least one of the following options is possible in your classroom and all at a fraction of the cost of an IWB.....

Apple TV
Apple TV HDMI to HDMI 
Apple TV is a little black box of magic and costs just £99. Purchase an HDMI to HDMI cable at the same time - anything up to £25 but you can also buy one for under £10 at your local supermarket, however the more expensive cables are better quality. 
Now simply connect your Apple TV to an HDMI projector or an HDTV to share digital video and audio over this single cable for stunning picture and sound. The final stage is to double tap the home-button on the iPad or iPhone and swipe right. The menu at the bottom of the screen will reveal  the AirPlay option. Click this, select Apple TV from the menu and turn mirroring on.
Ive connected my iPad to my Sony HDMI ready TV at home and it allows the entire family to join in with iPad activities.
Choose to read books together, browse Safari for facts, share maps, information and ideas, take part in App quizzes. One of my favourite family activities is using 'Doodle Buddy' to create our own version of 'Pictionary' or 'Charades' - draw an idea and the others have to guess what it is - hours of entertainment for everybody!

Apple TV HDMI to VGA Projector 
VGA Adapter
If your projector is relatively old and isn't HDMI ready then you can still connect the Apple TV using an HDMI to VGA Converter - then simply connect to the VGA projector and speakers and on the iPad select Airplay and turn mirroring on as above. This works very well for many teachers in the classroom.  The quality may not be quite as good as a straight VGA dongle, but the wireless aspect more than makes up for it because it gives the teacher the freedom to walk around the classroom and talk to students on a one-to-one basis.

iPad to Projector with a VGA Adapter 
VGA Adapter
Buy a VGA adapter for a really simple and cheap way to connect to your projector. At just £25 the Apple VGA Adapter mirrors exactly what you see on your screen so that everyone in the classroom can enjoy it.

Reflector App
The other option is to use the Reflector App.  For this you will need a macbook. Download Reflection on your macbook and launch, then on your iPad swipe right to reveal Airplay (as described above) and turn mirroring on from the menu. Your iPad screen will now be shared via a projector courtesy of your mac!  (see previous post for more detail)

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