Screen Mirroring – An AirPlay Alternative
With iOS tablet devices taking alarger share of the education market each year it has become increasingly important to find solutions for projecting your tablet onto a projector screen, especially in a 1-tablet classroom. There is always the tether option, where you connect your device to the projector using a “dongle” or cable of some sort. This technique works in a pinch, but you loose the ability to be truly mobile. For the purposes of this blog post we will look at a couple
viable options for iOS devices.
The iPad currently is the tablet of choice in education circles and for good reason. The overall design and functionality of the iPad along with the abundance of education apps make it a great option for teachers and students alike. Sharing teacher resources and student work on the iPad is an important part of fostering a collaborative learning environment. Enter stage left Apple TV. When I first saw the Apple TV I knew it could, if used properly, be a game changer in education. And at $99 retail it is somewhat affordable. Apple TV uses AirPlay, a wireless technology that allows devices to share data over the same wireless network.
So what happens if you don’t have the dollars in your budget to outfit every classroom with an Apple TV? The other day we had the opportunity to test another viable option called AirServer thanks to Jeff Armstrong, Sheppard School IT guy. AirServer is an AirPlay receiver that supports full HD 1080P video and is available for either your Mac or PC. Yep, you can run this on either platform. AirServer is a program you install onto your desktop or laptop (whichever is connected to the projector)and when connected to the same network, you connect via AirPlay, the same way you connect to Apple TV. Once connected to AirServer you will be able to project your iPad/iPhone/iPod screen onto your computer screen and from there you are able to project onto a larger projector screen. The best part about this app is the cost. You can download and try for it free for seven days or buy a student license (authentic education email address required) for $11.99 that allows you to add it to 3 computers. If you need more you can try out the 15-license education pack. Cost is $3.99 per license making the total cost of 15 licenses around $60, $40 less than one Apple TV.
AirServer works similar to the Apple TV with one major difference, you can have multiple devices connected and displayed on your computer at one time. While this is not often a need, it may come in handy if you have several different resources to share or if you need to compare two different documents, possibly even two different samples of student work. As is the case with all wireless systems, the better your network the better the results. If you are looking for an AirPlay solution, this might be just what you need. Give it a try for seven days for free.