e-Learning's iPad Initiative

iPad Initiative

For the Instructor

Think of the many ways you could improve your teaching if you were freed from the lectern computer and able to walk around your classroom while wirelessly presenting from your iPad. What if you also had the option to let students share their work on the big screen? Sure, you can do presentations with Keynote or browse the web with Safari or Chrome, but there's also a growing library of iBooks and over 900,000 free and low cost iOS apps (375,000 designed just for iPad) to choose from. Check out some of the thousands of great apps for education. What's on your iPad? Tell us about your favorite app!

We're not sure anyone at Apple intended the Apple TV device for education, but the following setup has enormous potential as a teaching tool. Here's what you need and why:

  • iPad 2 or newer (the original iPad does video out but not video mirroring)
  • A stylus (optional, but we think it might help)
  • Apple TV (not the original white one, the smaller $99 black one; either the 2010 or 2012 model)
  • One of the following:
    • an LCD projector with HDMI input
    • an HDTV
    • an LCD projector with VGA input and this adapter
  • A local wireless network such as NAU-Public to which both the AppleTV and iPad are joined.
wireless whiteboard

Your wireless presentation system.

Technical Details: The AppleTV and the iPad need to be joined to the same wireless network or the iPad won't see the AppleTV. (The two devices need to be assigned IP addresses on the same subnet, such as 10.0.1.x). Unfortunately, the AppleTV doesn't work with WPA2 Enterprise level security, which means it won't work with the NAU-Secure network. We have had success joining the NAU-Public wireless network, where available. If you can't access NAU-Public in your building, you could temporarily use WPA2 Personal level security with your own NAU registered wireless access point plugged into a classroom ethernet port. A $99 Airport Express works well if you need to buy a portable one for home use, occasional classroom use, travel to meetings, etc. One benefit of a personal access point for the AppleTV is that it can't get bogged down by too many wireless users; we've had that happen in a classroom full of wireless users on NAU-Public. If you use a personal wireless access point, you should be careful to select a channel that doesn't interfere with the official NAU wireless. We can do a site survey and assist you with that.

Apple's AirPlay


AirPlay: This all works because of a proprietary technology called AirPlay that wirelessly sends video from the iPad to the AppleTV. With the AppleTV directly connected to the projector, you can wirelessly display your iPad screen on the projector. Full motion video can sometimes get a bit choppy, but most things work quite well. If you'd like to see this technology in action, just ask for a demo in our e-Learning training room or conference room. Bring your own iPad, or we can loan you one of ours.

Apple's AirPlay

Select AppleTV and turn Mirroring On

Mirroring Video: To begin sending video in iOS 6 or older (see below for iOS 7), double-tap the iPad's home button and then swipe to the right. A control panel will appear. Next, tap the AirPlay icon and the AirPlay menu pops up. Select your AppleTV and turn video mirroring on. If the projector to which the AppleTV is connected is not displaying the iPad's screen, search the projector's sources until your screen appears. Now you can walk around the room wirelessly projecting your iPad's display to the class. Simply reverse your steps to disconnect. One note: You might want to put a passcode on the AppleTV because anyone in wireless range with an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) can potentially take over your screen while you are presenting. Share the passcode only with those who you want to allow to display to the projector. Tip: if you want someone to share their screen but don't want them to know the password, you can have them get to the password screen and then enter it for them.

Apple's AirPlay

AirPlay sends video from iPad to AppleTV

Apple's AirPlay

In iOS 7, swipe up from the bottom of any screen to reveal the controls.

AirPlay from your Mac

Select your AppleTV from the Airplay menu

AirPlay from your recent Mac

AirPlay sends video from Mac to AppleTV

If you have upgraded to Mac OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion) or newer, and you have a recent Mac model, you may be able to use AirPlay to mirror video wirelessly from your computer to an Apple TV too. This option is available only on recent models either due to more powerful video cards in recent machines or Apple's desire to sell you a new computer ;-)

iPad as Computer Remote Control: If you don't have an AppleTV, another way to gain mobility during presentations is to use Remote HD to wirelessly control your lectern computer, which is already wired to a projector or big screen TV, from your iPhone or iPad. Purchase RemoteHD for $7.99 from the iPad's App Store and download/install the free Remote Helper (for either Mac or Windows) to the host computer that listens for commands. Because the Remote Helper component is free, you can put it on the computer in every classroom you use. Start up Remote Helper on the computer, then launch Remote HD on the iPad and scan for the computer. Connect and control! A few tips: Use a stylus for finer control, and pinch to zoom in and out if your target area is too small. Practice helps, but you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

For the Students

Tablet Labs: If you want to deploy a classroom set of iPads and not spend all day configuring them individually, Apple Configurator is the free software, and Griffin's MultiDock is the hardware you need. We have experience with both. If your department has a class set of iPads, we can help you get them configured well. To keep them secure and charged up between classes, you could also use a mobile tablet cart. Remember that iPads have a high street value and you'll need to have a system for collecting them and locking them up before classes end to ensure they don't walk away.

Contact Us

If you're an NAU instructor interested in a demonstration, more information, or if you're interested in checking out an iPad for yourself for a semester, send an e-mail to elc-help@nau.edu with questions or ideas about how you plan to use it for instruction. We'll be in touch to work out the details. We might also, depending on availablility, be able to loan you an AppleTV and help you get it configured in your classroom so you can screen share from the iPad via AirPlay to your classroom projector or HDTV.

Why teach with an iPad?

Some people think of the iPad as an underpowered computer, but the iPad can actually do a lot of things your computer can't, and many of these things make it an interesting teaching tool. As mentioned above, you can wirelessly present from an iPad while moving about the classroom. In this PowerPoint presentation, we highlight some of the unique reasons to teach with an iPad. In addition to the versatility of the iPad itself, the iOS software platform is growing rapidly. Most of the quality educational software development effort has shifted away from expensive programs for the computer and towards low cost apps for the tablet. Here are just a few impressive examples. These links will take you to the iTunes App Store page where you can view a detailed description and download the app.


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