iPad mirroring menu

iPad mirroring menu

With the advent of wireless video mirroring in iOS5, the possibilities of using the iPad to help support the learning process grew. The iPad could, of course, mirror content through a physical link to a projector or HDMI capable TV, but it would mean being more rooted to one area. Moving around the classroom and engaging with the students resonated with me as it would allow me to:

1) Use the iPad as a document camera – I could show the work of one student to the class for modelling or critique purposes (in a Ron Berger style);
2) Bring up a web page anywhere in the room and share it with the class;
3) if I was feeling really brave, use something like the Penultimate app to write on the iPad (would need a stylus to make it very useful).

What really peaked my interest was the idea of a class equipped with iPads where the students could show what they were doing/modelling/critiquing. An effective use of technology to support learning.

All I would need to help this work is a HDMI capable projector or TV, an Apple TV and a wireless point. This last piece of information seemed counter-intuitive to me as I would expect an elegant solution where the iPad and the Apple TV would communicate without the need for an additional wireless point…

Once the iPad and Apple TV are connected over Wifi, you have to double press the ‘Home’ button on the iPad and then swipe to the right (or use four fingers and swipe up on the iPad and then swipe to the right when you see the applications at the bottom). You will then see the music controls with an additional Airplay icon. If you tap the icon you should see the image leading this post and it gives you choice streaming content to the Apple TV or mirroring the iPad screen. Of course, you need the latest updates on your Apple TV and your iPad to make it work.

What works well

  • Video streams very well (you may need to wait a few seconds) and the quality was surprising;
  • You can use the camera over Wifi as a visualiser and you can record video while streaming and then play it back on the projector/TV in full screen view;
  • Works great with a dedicated Wifi point that has no other ‘traffic’.

 

Screen from Morris Lessmore

Screen from Morris Lessmore

What could be improved

  • Sometimes the iPad dropped the mirror image and would not display it again despite turning it off and on again on the iPad.
  • Not all apps play with sound. The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore worked sometimes and at other times, it did not work. The Elements did not play with sound.
  • Mirroring was not full screen. Using The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore again, the brilliant visuals looked a little truncated on the screen.
  • No pinch and zoom with photos/images over wifi.
  • If you have school wifi points that link to the network, mirroring may take a hit in performance terms especially when streaming video.
Despite these issues, I am looking forward to testing this with my classes over the next half term. Of course, if you come to the Felsted Apple events, you can experience it for yourself.
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