Lewis Elementary will soon be receiving 65 iPads through a grant. Our 4th and 5th grade classrooms will have an iPad to share between every two students. We have been discussing this opportunity since last fall when it first became a possibility and we are looking forward to their arrival next week. I'll share more about what we plan to do with them in some upcoming posts.
One area we have been looking into is how to project content from the iPad. For example a student might use Keynote on the iPad to create a presentation. We have been looking for a method that would allow the presentation to be projected quickly, easily, without cables, and on the fly. Airplay, Apple’s method of wirelessly steaming content from iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch), currently provides a means to share images and video. At this time the only apps that can take advantage of Airplay are Apple’s photo, video apps and the YouTube app, but this is about to change. With the upcoming iOS update, Apple is opening up Airplay to non Apple apps and the number of apps that will take advantage of this tool will be greatly increased. I anticipate that apps such as Keynote will gain this functionality and look forward to using this for on the fly presentations.
So while Airplay as a means of streaming content wirelessly has great potential, we are still left with the issues of how to project this content. While an Apple TV device would allow us to stream content, we don’t have an easy method to display without the purchase of a HDTV. All of our classrooms have data projectors and the ideal solution would be one that would allow us to push content to our data projectors. Airplay technology is popping up in all kinds of devices and I anticipate that it will soon be an option on data projectors, but currently it's not.
All of this lead me to a neat little program written by Erica Sadun called Airplayer. Basically Airplayer tricks Airplay on your iOS device into thinking your Mac is an Apple TV. This becomes very useful when your hook that desktop Mac to a data projector. If you want to share images and video from an iOS device you now have a way to get it to a Mac and in the process get it onto a data projector.
The video below demonstrates how this might work with an iPad. I can also see this being a nice way to share movies that students have made using an iPod touch and iMovie.