Recently I had the opportunity to write a mini-grant from the Covina Rotary Club. I was searching for ideas and came across one. What if I can get a HD TV and an Apple TV? So I looked up the pricing and it worked for the amount of the mini grant. Since then I have purchased these items and are using them in the classroom. Here is what I have been doing and what I hope to be doing in the future.

The AppleTV works well with Apple’s iOS devices like the iPad and iPod by using the built in Airplay feature inthe iOS. The projector I have has an HDMI input so I have another AppleTV unit being played through the projector. So now I can control two Apple TVs in my room either on my projector and/or HDTV.

In my class I have two iPod Touches and an iPad 2. A few students bring in their iPads to use with some of the projects we are doing. You can check out one here, Roadrunner Academy. Anyways, I now can “mirror” my iPad onto either viewing device to demonstrate an app or teach a concept. Students can instantly share their project or iPad screen without downloading or connecting cables since this is all done over the wireless network through the AppleTV. That is why it is important to have a good signal in your classroom. If you have a cart of iPads and are working off a “hotspot” using an Airport Extreme then you might have a better experience versus a community network. Not to say it won’t work, but if you are in a part of the campus that has a weaker signal you might have some issues.

Some good uses with the Apple TV

Since I have two AppleTV units in my classroom, I use one with the projector to teach from and the other is hooked up to a HDTV for slides used for signage of vocabulary, past concepts, or other review topics. An example is to the right.
Some Apps I use with controlling the AppleTV

The ability to mirror an iPad and iPod touch to play and show media is the best use for the classroom. Especially if you are in a 1:1 type environment where students can instantly show there projects or demo without downloading and syncing cables. A project is shared within seconds of completion or during workflow. We dont have to wait until completion to share after having to download everyones camera or collect presentations from every student via email (or other means) or one by one on one computer.  Students can present from their location in the class and as a teacher can assess during that demonstration. Time is spent elsewhere rather than downloading, collecting and then wondering if they did it in the right format.  Whatever the case may be it creates a workflow that works for everyone to display and share.

This alternate way to present information and share is an attractive alternative to the interactive smart board. Smartboard’s are great, but leave the teacher stationary in the front of the room.  Today, the teacher has to be accessible and mobile in the classroom to monitor and facilitate the lesson without being tied down to cords and one computer.  The teacher can easily switch from app to app from anywhere in the classroom without going to the computer to change screens or applications.

My presentation at SGVCUE CoffeeBreak , FallCUE12 and OCCUE Tech Fest ’13

As demonstrated by Mr. Holmer’s Class at Hannah Beardsley Middle School:

The combination cost for the AppleTV, Projector and iPad for the teacher rivals the cost of a smartboard with the freedom to be mobile. Districts are thinking of if not already putting this combination of AppleTV and projector’s into their tech plans.

I did run into a slight problem.  This problem came about since my district blocks streaming content.  My iTunes wanted to keep finding the content and I would keep getting these pop ups saying so.  I used this suggestion from MacWorld (Thank you Tim Scholefield for the link) to stop iTunes Internet streaming. This was easy to overcome.

There is an adapter for the HDMI output for your projector. If you do not have a HDMI input for your projector here is an adapter. This eliminates the need for expensive HDMI projection cord. Apple does have one for $19.99

Also, if budget is tight (like who’s isn’t right?) you ca go with a download app called Reflector and it costs $14.99. You can see it here. Reflector allows you to project your iPad 2 and iPhone 4s up to the screen through your laptop, bypassing the need for the AppleTV unit.

Here is a demo of the Reflector.

With the new Mountain Lion coming out later this year, AppleTV capabilities will even grow on how to use it in the classroom.  Check out this video:

With the new Mountain Lion sharing the screen using Airplay on a laptop can open doors to how information is shared in the classroom. Wires and cables are no longer needed.  This freedom allows workflows to be shared with greater ease.

Currently there is a download that lets you do this already. It is called AirParrot. Check it out here.

AppleTV and features are a game changer for the classroom.  I just need a donor to put more iPads in my classroom to get a full immersion of a classroom where students are creating, sharing and I as a teacher can better facilitate that environment.

Please leave comments or feedback below. Would love to here from those who are using this technology in the classroom.