With interactive whiteboards in every second room these days, most teachers are habitually creating content for display, or wish to show off the great things their children are doing with technology.
But what about every second room without the IWB’s?
I often use a set of speakers and an old computer monitor, but during the year I have had the opportunity to have a play with the Apple TV and pocket projectors.
Apple TV is one of the easiest ways to display and share content on iPads and mac computers, although I’m fairly sure there’s a way to get PC’s up there too. It is roughly $110 and not actually a television, rather a small box that you attach to any television and use with the small remote that comes with it.
Unlike pocket projectors the Apple TV is quite reliable once set up, does not require charging, can be used in full light and has fantastic visual and sound quality if you’ve hooked it up to a reasonably sized and well functioning TV. There is also a “Remote” app you can download to control the Apple TV.
Likes: I love it because the children can connect their devices from where they are sitting and show everyone what they’re up to in the moment from wherever they are. You can also show them whatever you want and you’re not stuck up the front, you can teach and crowd control from the back. It’s brilliant for purposes such as reflections, explaining concepts, sharing work, and providing instructions.
Frustrations: the Apple TV requires an internet connection to speak to your devices. I’m at a school that has recently acquired a large amount of laptops and iPads, placing stress on the network. The result is that the picture and sound drops out and this can become very frustrating.
If you’re in a room where your network signal is weak, or if your internet leaves much to be desired in the first place then expect to be doing battle with this marvelous little device.
If you’re going to be displaying information on the go and/or without access to the internet, I would strongly suggest a Pico Projector. These are portable, rechargeable and great for iPads. You can also use these for laptops and computers with adaptor cords.
Unlike apple TV it requires little set up and does not rely on the internet to work. You simply find a suitable wall, plug it in and it becomes an immediate display device. There are also many, many products to choose from, varying in price and quality.
Likes: The projection is great, I have aspirations for a “planetarium” in the near future, using the solar walk app. I also love that it can be used as a mini cinema screen, a projector for quick presentations, and a whiteboard when coupled with apps and even a word document. It can be used when it’s needed, on any surface and is not hard to set up.
Frustrations: The down side of this is that it is a projector and you can’t stand in front of it, and if you are showing something to a larger crowd you may need speakers, and the picture can become blurry if you would like it larger.
If your budget is tight and you choose a perfectly capable model that is a few lumens dimmer or is on the lower-end of the resolution scale then you’ll probably need a dark room.
Which would you prefer?
In my opinion, why not give both a try!