Displaying your iPad screen in the classroom.

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It is a well know fact that children learn and take in videos and can respond and do the tasks asked, with much greater effect once they have seen a video of the task. This is why, when interactive whiteboards came out, they were the goto classroom tool.

When using iPads in the classroom, displaying the iPad screen, is the most valuable way of explaining to children what to do, especially in the SEN classroom, it also allows you to be dynamic, being able to walk around the classroom and present from anywhere. To this end you can use the projector, that is no doubt in your classroom, to display an exact ‘mirror’ of what is on your iPad display.

There are three main options, dependant on the equipment in your classroom/school, two app/program based and one hardware based.

If you want to use your available hardware; laptop or computer connected to a projector or display, the two available options are programs that run on the computer, these are Reflector and AirServer. These both retail at around £10 per licence (each machine) and work in the same way, connecting to your iOS device using the WiFi and Local network, both offer the ability to record your iPad’s screen. I personally use AirServer, but have experienced both. As an institution we had to invest heavily with the infrastructure on site to allow this system to work well, new Wifi network, switches etc BUT this has helped with the use of iPads within the school and would no doubt have had to take place at some point.

The other, more expensive, option is to use Apple TV, a piece of hardware, made by Apple. It links to an iOS device wirelessly but without the need to be on a WiFi network, connecting via Bluetooth or WiFi (newer models only). This can have its advantages, but at £80 £59 each it can be an expensive option, the output is also HDMI, so if using older projectors (VGA connections) an adaptor would also need to be purchased.

Connecting your iOS device to any of the three systems is child’s play, using the inbuilt AirPlay function in your iOS device. Below is a video explaining the basics of this functionality:

Sometimes this mirroring technology can ‘drop out’, losing the video link, but more often than not, simple reconnection will get it working again quickly.

If you decide that you don’t want to use any of these wireless options (or as a backup, just in case) you could always hardwire your iOS device to your projector using the available connecting wires. This IS the most reliable method, but does ‘tie’ you to the front of classroom, making the whole teaching process much less dynamic (they are also quite expensive!)

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