iPads and Lecturing

Premise
Last year I tried to use the iPad for a presentation using Keynote. It was marginally successful but I had to use a connector wire in order to connect the iPad to the VGA projector. This means the iPad had to be kept at the podium (where the VGA cable was). I had to return to the podium to swipe to the next slide. Hardly the best use of a wireless iPad, in my opinion.

This year I intend to use the iPad in a manner which will allow me to have the iPad in my hand(s), freeing me up to move around the lecture hall and be able to mirror my iPad to the projector.

Test One: Using Apple Remote

This test connected a VGA adapter to iPad and VGA cable and use Apple Remote to forward slides of presentation. It worked very well but very limited as only presentations could be viewed. Couldn’t mirror what’s on my iPad.

Test Two: Using Apple TV and Kanex Adapter

The theory was that the Apple TV would connect to the wifi network as would the iPad. I could then mirror to the Apple TV. The Kanex adapter was connected to the Apple TV (HDMI) and to the VGA cable connected to the projector. This should have worked. It didn’t. Apple TV does not support Enterprise networks.

The solution was to use my MiFi. After some fiddling, it did work and this is the solution I intend to use during the upcoming academic year to lecture.

Evaluation and Potential Issues

Apple TV does not support Enterprise networks.
This is a major issue if an alternative WiFi system isn’t available. Apple TV won’t be able to connect. It was necessary for me to use my own MiFI to ensure the iPad and Apple TV were connected to the same network.

Apple TV tries to set date and time. Difficult to get off this ‘page’.
As the Apple TV is being reconnected to a power source, it tries to set the date and time by connecting to a WiFi network. In my scenario, although I had a MiFi turned on, there was no 3G signal and, therefore, no internet signal. An Apple Remote was used to force the Apple TV to go to the main menu and to connect it to the Mifi. Another method was to use Remote, an app for the iPad to force the Apple TV to go to the main menu.

Costs
An Apple TV costs approximately £100. The Kanex ATV Pro costs approximately £50. If there is an intention to link to the internet to view webpages, YouTube videos, etc., there may be an additional cost involved, particularly if a MiFi is being used with a download limit.

Reflection
I now have a method by which I can mirror my iPad onto a VGA projector without having to tie the iPad down via a connected cable. It does work.

It would be interesting to see if a 3G-enabled iPad would overcome the need for the MiFi. Is it possible to create a network base from a 3G-enabled iPad? From what I have researched online, the answer is ‘no’.

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