How to use an iPad/Apple TV effectively in your classroom: #1 Mirroring

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.
  • Darren

    Geat summary, really appreciate the details. Looking forward to an Apple TV for just this reason (use in training).

    Hey, isn’t there an option in Disqus to allow a twitter login?

  • Nick Dennis

    Darren, thanks for the comment. I think the device has real potential. I’ll look into the Twitter login issue…

  • Nick Dennis

    Darren, Twitter login should now appear – it only works with one Disqus theme…

  • manddbien

    Thanks for the overview. Any issues with your internet access? Our university requires a log in (to accept conditions) before connecting. Without a browser, the Apple TV can’t get to that log in web page. Do you know of any work arounds? Thought about asking IT to let me bypass the login, but that’s not likely. Also considered setting up my own access point with Airport Express and connecting both to the same network that way. Any other ideas are welcome.

  • Nick Dennis

    Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure exactly what you want to do but your IT dept should allow you to connect to the internet (and they can do, they just need a little help). :) If you are talking about activating home sharing, it is best to to it outside your university network. Once you have done this, you can of course connect it to your Airport Express and link your iPad that way (which may get around your university IT problem). Hope this helps!

  • Dan

    Apple tv only works if it’s in e same subnet as a iPad. In most academic environments this is unlikely. And iPads can’t creat a netork, nore can appletv. And even if they could you would loose internet access. Most schools maintain separate vlans for av devices. still it’s a very appealing concept.

  • Rxrocha

    One issue I see is, if you have multiple Apple Tv’s on a network. Then how does an iPad know which apple tv to mirror? So if 5 teachers are using appe tv’s and all care onnected to the same district/school wifi. How does the iPad distinguish which apple tv to mirror?

  • Nick Dennis

    This is an interesting question and the solution I have advocated is to have an Apple TV set up to a private network in the classroom by using a particular basestation or using a mac itself to create a network.

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  • EncomCTO

    That pop up list will show all the different AppleTV’s on the network. You can give each one it’s own name.

  • DutchDopey

    This app is a solution for zooming, it enables zooming of your images/photos on an AppleTV (or other external screen), it also loads your images in full resolution. .

  • DutchDopey

    This app enables zooming of your images/photos on an AppleTV (or other external screen), it also loads your images in full resolution.