For the last 6 months I have been trialling the use of an iPad in school. I have tried as much as possible to do everything on the iPad from producing presentations, editing and uploading movies, emailing and browsing, video analysis, score keeping and even my registers. But the biggest change to my teaching was the introduction of an ATV unit into my classroom.
This little black box took no time to install and hooked into the school network easily. Virtually straight away I was mirroring my iPad screen through the projector onto the white board and with no cables in sight! I could now teach from anywhere in the class, I was no longer stuck at the front. This mobility allowed me to get amongst the students. They could take a much more active role in the lesson without having to leave their seat and throughout the entire lesson I felt much more in control.
Keynote is brilliant with ATV.
The teacher can choose from a variety of display options. My favourite has the current slide and the next slide shown side by side, this allows me to keep a check on where I am supposed to be heading.
Another brilliant feature of ATV!
Because the school network covers the entire site I could (theoretically!!) teach my group from anywhere in the school. I simply turn on the front facing camera and the image is mirrored by the ATV onto my class whiteboard. I can’t see them, but they can see me. With the arrival of another iPad this could lead to class v class FaceTime quiz’s and all sorts of collaborations.
Kinks in the armour?
There have been a few issues that had to be addressed before the full scope of using ATV can be realised:
1: Most schools in the UK currently use proxy’s on their Internet connections. Apple TV has no ability to go through a proxy, no place you can enter a proxy address and so can not connect to ITunes. This means I can’t link the ATV to my iTunes account and I can’t turn on homesharing. Without homesharing I am stuck using possibly the worst remote every invented. The only way round this is something called a ghost proxy (thanks to @PeGeek for that information) but this seems much too complicated for me.
2: To connect to the sound system you have to purchase another box of magic. The sound will come through the projector on its own but most classrooms have decent speakers in so this seems a waste. Please follow the link to watch the IT manager at my school explain the setup in more detail. It also explains how to link ATV to analogue projectors!
3: The projected screen size varies according to what app you are using. Now perhaps I haven’t adjusted the right settings on the iPad but they don’t seem to be obvious.
And that’s it, my very simple overview on the benefits of using Apple TV. On a financial note, an ICT teacher wanted to update his IWB recently, he was told it would be cheaper to buy an iPad and Apple TV, for some reason he wasn’t too keen. Could this be the end for IWB?
If you can help with any of the problems raised please leave a comment!