3 Ways to Get More from the Apple TV in Your Classroom

Are you really getting the most out of the EdTech tools in your classroom?

Having innovative technology within a classroom is only as effective as the teacher’s plan to implement them. It takes an inquisitive mind and creative ideas to develop the most effective way to incorporate new tech within the four walls.

Kelly Croy, Teacher at Oak Harbor Middle School in Ohio and founder of WiredEducator, quickly realized his classroom had some of the most powerful personal devices ever created at his and his coworkers’ fingertips. It was natural for him to ask how he could maximize the value of this technology.

You might be surprised to learn what an Apple TV can do with the help of some screen-sharing wizardry in your classroom.

Sharing and Recording Content from Multiple Devices

Apple’s Airplay has limitations in the classroom for sharing multiple devices simultaneously. Croy found that adding Reflector, a software by Squirrels LLC, to his Mac (also available for PC), he was able to unleash great potential with his Apple TV.

Reflector allows your class to wirelessly “mirror” multiple iOS, Android, Chromebook and Surface Pro devices to the teacher’s computer simultaneously. Teachers manage what content will be displayed from their computer using the Reflector preferences menu. Most importantly, it allows you to record the students’ mirrored devices with audio narration. It is nothing short of amazing.

As an example, Croy said a student who chooses to demonstrate his or her mastery of content through a Puppet Pals presentation on the iPad can use Reflector to wirelessly display his ore her iPad to the teacher’s computer. Then the teacher shares the content from his or her computer to the Apple TV (via native AirPlay on Macs and via a desktop screen-sending software called AirParrot on PCs) for the entire class to see.

Croy explained, “Reflector also has a great record feature, so teachers can save a movie file of the presentation on their laptop for uploading to a LMS, sharing with a later class, or filing into an electronic portfolio.”

The Best Classroom Bulletin Board

Your Apple TV can be used as a digital bulletin board where classroom photos, student accomplishments, and more can be proudly displayed for the entire room to see.

Make a new folder on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac and use Screensaver mode on Apple TV to easily create a personalized screensaver for your Apple TV. Croy often displays anything from flashcards to due dates, inspirational quotes and more. This is a great way to promote an engaging, student-centered classroom. As you take photos, the Apple TV screensaver, aka the interactive bulletin board, updates and refreshes.

Customize the Apple TV Home Screen

When Croy helps a teacher set up an Apple TV, the first action he takes is to change the movies and television preview settings. He removes all content for two reasons: First, some of the content is not appropriate for his class. Second, seeing the top movies and television shows previewed starts the class off-topic.

“For example,” Croy shares, “Deadpool is a current top movie preview showing in the Apple TV menu. Deadpool is not appropriate for my seventh grade students, and my students get off-track after seeing the preview. Just jump into the settings of your Apple TV and turn off movie and television previews. A simple and necessary fix.”

Alternative to Apple TV

Not every educator has access to an Apple TV. Reflector 2 can be used to enhance an Apple TV, but it can also be used alone to wirelessly display and record a wide range of classroom devices. Croy explains that it is cost effective and one of his favorite tools.

Croy advocates, “Every educator should be utilizing some form of screen sharing to get the most out of mobile technology.” He adds, “I’m looking forward to watching this area of education expand, grow and revolutionize classrooms.”

Croy shared his own website, WiredEducator, with the hopes of sharing with other educators how technology can be used to promote student growth, engagement, and learning.

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