Enhancing teaching using AirServer

AirServer is, according to the website, “an AirPlay receiver for Mac and PC [which] allows you to receive Airplay feeds, similar to an Apple TV, so you can stream content or Mirror your display from your iOS devices or Macs running Mountain Lion or Mavericks”.

I’ve been using AirServer for two years now and it’s been very helpful when I’ve wanted to share my iPad display with the rest of the class (Keynote, ClassDojo, etc). My laptop connects to the projector, AirServer is turned on, I connect to my iPad using the same wifi connection and I can then wander around the room running Keynote (or anything, for that matter) on my iPad for all to see.

Today I tried using it a different way. The students were making short videos to demonstrate their learning. I asked groups, in turn, to turn on AirPlay and connect to my AirServer, thus allowing their videos to be broadcast to the rest of the class. This worked fine for two or three groups but then we hit a snag. The students couldn’t connect. I’m not sure why but it really wouldn’t surprise me if the non-reliable wifi connection in this teaching room is the culprit. It was disappointing because it had been working fine up until then. Even restarting the laptop produced no joy. I’m going to have to work on this a bit more, I think, but I can see great potential.

Well, perhaps in some ways it wasn’t a bad thing. The students got a clear demonstration of the importance of having a Plan B when teaching!

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