By now, it seems just about everyone has a tablet, smartphone, or other “connected” mobile device. Mobile apps make reading, sharing, and learning fun, and there are plenty of educational offerings out there for both teacher and student use. For a while, projecting your iPad or iPhone’s screen to a class full of students meant a restricting wired connection between your device and projector, or using AirPlay and streaming to a full-featured (and “over-qualified”) $99 Apple TV - where’s the mobility or convenience in that?
If you already have a desktop or laptop computer connected to your classroom projector, AirServer ($11.99 for educators, PC/Mac compatible) is a useful little program that turns your computer into an AirPlay-compatible receiver - as if it were an Apple TV. There’s no need to mess with any wiring or change your room setup; just turn on your computer and projector and make sure AirServer is running. Now, grab your iPad or iPhone and swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen to access Control Center and AirPlay.
As long as your device and computer are both connected to the same wireless network, you should have the option to send whatever’s playing on your iPhone or iPad to your classroom computer (and by association, the connected projector). Newer Apple devices also support AirPlay Mirroring, so in addition to broadcasting videos, photos, or music wirelessly, you can show off web pages, apps, games, class materials, and more on your projector through your AirServer-equipped computer. As a frequent speaker and presenter at conferences, AirPlay and AirServer lets me focus on content, live demonstration, and audience participation, without being tethered to the front of the room hunched over a keyboard.
If you have an Android device, you can still use AirServer on your PC or Mac to receive the stream, but you’ll have to also download an Android app like “Mirror” to send an AirPlay stream from that Android device. Regardless of your mobile device, AirPlay and AirServer help easily bring it one step closer into your classroom routine.