Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday Tech Tip #10 - Displaying iPads & iPhones

A question that I am often asked when I am in classrooms is, "How can I display my iPhone or iPad?" Increasingly, teachers are finding these to be valuable instructional tools whether showing students how to create a movie using an iPad or simply modeling how students might set up email or Schoology on their iPhones. There are a few different ways you can display your mobile device through a projector ranging from low-tech to fancy-schmancy. Some methods have an associated cost, while one is free and ready to go at any moment.

Document Camera - Free & Simple
Have something you need to display right now? Try putting your iPhone or iPad right under your document camera. As long as your camera is hooked up to your projector or computer you should be able to show anything being displayed on your mobile device. This strategy does have one downside though. Depending on the lighting situation in your room you might have problems with screen glare.

VGA Adapter - Dependable, but Pricey
Most mobile devices now have an available VGA adapter. For example, Apple makes VGA adapters for the iPhone and iPad that are robust and work like a charm. You simply plug one end into the device and the other into aVGA cable. If your projector has two sources you can then use the source button to toggle between your computer and mobile device. The only downside is that these little adapters alone can run anywhere from $15-$50 and they do keep you tethered to your projector.

AirPlay Mirroring - Magical, but Can Relies on Wireless
My preferred method of displaying iPhones and iPads is Airplay mirroring using the Reflector App. This program is installed on your computer (Mac or Windows) and once running will allow you to wirelessly display your device on your computer screen. Assuming your computer is also plugged into a projector, your mobile device screen can also be displayed in front of the class. This is actually how Star Academy teachers are using teacher iPads as wireless document cameras this year. If you are familiar with Apple TV, Reflector basically turns your computer into an Apple TV in terms of being able to AirPlay mobile devices.

There are, however, a few limitations with this approach. It does required paid software ($12.99) and both devices (computer and iPhone/iPad) must be on the same wireless network with robust wireless density. One of our projects this year is to investigate the possibility of displaying across networks (NCS-Staff Guest to NCS Staff and NCS-Student to NCS-Staff), but for the time being devices really have to be on the same network.

If you are interested in displaying your teacher or student iPads let me know and we can look into each of these options and find one that will work for you.


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