Today, I want to write about the final part of my workflow for using my iPad as an ‘interactive white board’ (IWB).
Before my Mac hard drive failed and I switched to using a Google Chromecast (see this article for a description of that process), which enabled me to screencast my iPhone and iPad directly to a smart TV, I was using my Mac and an app called Reflector Teacher by Air Squirrels ($17.99, 7-day free trial).
Reflector Teacher is an app that you install on your Mac or PC that enables you to mirror the screen of a mobile device (iPhone, iPad or Android) to your computer via a Wi-Fi network.
I then connected my computer (a MacBook Air) to a smart television using an inexpensive HDMI cable, so that students could view the screen of the iPad on the television.
As I described in the last article, by using the Explain EDU white board app, I was able to create my own ‘interactive white board’ (IWB).
That meant that a student (or myself) could interact with the whiteboard app (Explain EDU) on the iPad, as the other children watched what was happening on the television screen. Likewise you can mirror iPhone or iPad apps that are games, phonics resources, offline video, PowerPoint slides, and much more. Its a brilliant solution for classrooms where you have limited access to funds, or existing technology like an interactive whiteboard.
If there was one downside to the set-up I’ve described in this article, it was the need to connect my computer to the television using an HDMI cable. That’s mainly because children get interested in what’s on the computer screen, and want to touch the computer or interact with it.
Let’s take a quick look at Reflector Teacher.
The Reflector software comes in two versions, a standard version (‘Reflector’), and a version for teachers (‘Reflector Teacher’). Either version is sufficient for the workflow I’ve described above. The Teacher version has some extra features, for example, multiple devices can connect to the Teacher version, and the teacher can share their screen to students, and students can share their screen with the rest of the class.
Operation of Reflector Teacher is simple, you download and install the software on your Mac or PC, then connect your computer to your Wi-Fi network. On your mobile device, you also connect to the Wi-Fi network and pair the mobile device with the Reflector software on your computer. You can see how this works in the YouTube video, above.
And that’s it, you’re good to go.
Whatever you do on the screen of your mobile device is wirelessly mirrored to your Mac or PC. (I connected my Mac to the television via the HDMI cable, so the children could see the screen of the iPad on the TV.)
What I like about the solution is that it is a simple and powerful solution. Also, the mirroring connection was stable, so there isn’t a lag between what’s happening on the iPad and what is seen on the television screen. Reflector Teacher has other features, such as screen recording. You might want to do this, for example, to make a screencast or tutorial. Another feature not usually found in comparable software is that the mirrored content is shown with an outline of the model of device (either iPhone or iPad), rather than just a mirrored image without borders.
You can download a free 7-day trial of Reflector Teacher here.