Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Piloting iPad Mirroring

This image bothers me. We have invested a lot of money into SMART Boards in our classrooms. The teachers like using them. The kids like seeing what is projected and interacted with on the screens. We are still adding these boards as we can for teachers who are using them.

We have iPads rolling out at campuses and they are taking off like wildfire as well. But the biggest question we get about them is "how do I project my iPad up to the screen?".

We haven't had a good answer to connect an iPad to a screen because of cording. A ceiling-mounted projector makes it difficult to connect the Apple VGA cord up to and the cord is only 3-foot in length. It immobilizes the instructor. We sort of do it with a document camera but the video isn't always high definition and lighting is difficult.

We looked at pico projectors but then you may have 2 projectors in a room and that seems very wasteful.

But some educators are finding some ways to make iPads work on a projector that is ceiling-mounted using an AppleTV to connect wirelessly. AppleTV has an application for iPad2 and iPhones that lets you broadcast to an AppleTV box using an app called AirPlay. The box then broadcasts to a TV or projector.

There are some costs because AppleTV only broadcasts out in HDMI format so you have to buy a conversion box to change the signal to VGA which is the plug our projectors use.

So rather than bemoan how technology changes so much and how hard it is to keep up, I want to report that we have ordered these components and we are going to test them out in multiple locations. We want to see how to mirror an iPad in a classroom to see how this really works. We also want to see how this could work in meeting spaces as an alternative to funding adding SMART Boards to non-instruction rooms.

In other words, we have started a pilot program. We call this Operation Mirrorball. More details to come as we only ordered all cording today. Let me know what you think of this.

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