Apple TV in the classroom

Apple TV Image : Apple TV

I have had Apple TV in my classroom for about a month now. I lock the device in my filing cabinet because it is very small. Great for classroom design to have such a powerful gadget in such a small package but easily misplaced because it is small. I simply select my room and then am on the Apple TV on the whiteboard screen which mirrors my MacBook or my iPad. The  MacBook picture is much smaller than my IBW but it hasn’t really been a problem if I can think ahead as to what I am going to do. I still want a wired connection so I can use the interactive part of my board and then a bigger picture if I need it. In time the picture size will be resolved and given iPads have a lot of good whiteboard equivalent apps I probably won’t need my IBW – just a decent screen or wall space. I use a stylus on my iPad and the students really love that so I can’t see shifting boards/display areas as a problem to be overcome once the screen size is rectified. The Apple TV picture has stronger and clearer colours and better definition so there are plenty of things you can display on this smaller size. It came into its own when my big year 9 class had to do their presentations. Normally we go through the process of around 30 students getting up from their seats and connecting to the board and then sitting down again. That is all time. With the Apple TV they could connect from their desks and show their presentations and it created quite a happy buzz as the students showed each other how to connect and then could see their own presentation as they presented. It is usually behind them and we can see it but they are looking at their laptop. It meant the next time we presented we had even more spectacular and carefully created presentations. The visual feedback had helped their learning and it was noticeable. The second time the Apple TV was worth its weight in gold was when my year 12 had to do their 5 minute French orals for the final assessment. This is a nerve wracking event. Students are running on adrenalin and have prepared themselves so well it means anything which can help is a bonus. The Apple TV turned out to be the fairy Godmother of the event. The students could sit at their desks surrounded by their little coaching team who were going to ask the questions at the end. It also meant they had something routine to do to take the nerves away – they had to organise their presentations on the Apple TV because they had never done it before. The wonder in their eyes when they saw their presentations was priceless. They instantly got rewarded for hours of careful preparation which was going to support the oral presentation. I can also use the Apple TV to get some of my younger students to show how they are gathering their information for learning. I can choose students and ask them if they would mind if we looked at what they were doing. They love going on the Apple TV so then I have their work on my board and we are all learning from each other. If students have an Apple device then it means you can create a far more interactive, connected approach via the Apple TV. I have not had any of the issues reported like poor connection but I have had sound issues on some files and that might be more to do with the speakers I have rather than the device. Some sound is very distorted and in a language classroom that is not good. Doesn’t happen a lot , thankfully. One thing which is better and ought not to be is my connection to the web is better. I can get onto the websites faster than if I have my Macbook connected to my board via a hard wired connection. Doesn’t make sense but it works!  Two sites which can give you some more teacher experience of Apple TV are:

Teachinglikeits2999

Ryan Orilio

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