I’ve finally ditched my SmartBoard. I have to admit that I’ve never been a big fan of my SmartBoard to begin with, so parting ways with it wasn’t particularly difficult. To be fair though I have to say that I have enjoyed certain things it has allowed me to do with my class. I have seen some people doing some cool things with SmartBoards but I think the interface/software isn’t great and it’s never really excited me that much. The proverbial straw that broke the camels back came when I was prompted to update the “notebook software”, which I did, and then the board immediately stopped working. I thought (for about 5 seconds) that I might try to trouble shoot the issue, but (after 6 seconds) decided it was a sign, and after an honorary moment (3 more seconds) of silence came to terms with my loss. The funny thing is I actually don’t feel like I have actually lost anything really worthwhile, just worth a lot of dinero. This year I installed an Apple TV in my classroom. For those who don’t know it’s not an actual TV but rather something quite different. From the Apple Website:
Apple TV gives you access to the best 1080p HD content — including blockbuster movies, your music and photos, and more — right on your widescreen TV. You can even play content from your iOS devices on your TV using AirPlay. Apple TV requires one HDMI cable (sold separately).
The last bit is the most important to me. If you have read some of my other posts you know that I use our class accounts for Twitter, blogs, Instagram, Skypeetc almost daily in my classroom. We are engaged in various projects at any given moment and we use these tools as a way to communicate with other classes and people all over the world. Each student in my class has their own iPad which they use at various times during the day to engage with a variety of tools, apps, people (often times using social media), their environment, and each other. What the Apple TV allows us to do is to share what we are doing on our iPads at any given moment with the whole class. Anyone in the room with an iOS device can choose to “Airplay” their iPad screen at any time. Since I have the Apple TV hooked up to my VGA projector, any student can choose to show the whole class whatever is showing on their iPad screen. Airplay works with both audio and video simultaneously.
Before Airplay I was bound to using my computer via projector to show examples to the class but now anyone in the class is free to share anything they have on their iPads. We can tweet, read our blog, add pictures and check our Instagram feed, work through math problems, share documents we are working on, share games we are playing, share movies we are making etc, using this method. Another little gem I’d like to share is the fact that you can sync the Chrome browsers on both your computer and your iPad. For example, if I am looking at something interesting on my computer I can pick up my iPad, open the Chrome browser and it will give me the option open any tab I have open on my computer and share it with the class using Airplay. Here’s a very brief explanation on how to do it.
I always thought the Smartboard was a little too teacher centered for me. I think the ability for any student to share what they are creating on their iPad via Airplay has empowered the students as well as allowed them to express themselves using a variety of tools and mediums.
How are you using Airplay in your classroom?
Are you using your SmartBoard in a way you think you couldn’t live without?