Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Mirroring iDevices - Group Comparing, Anywhere-In-Room Presentations

Teaming and presentations are important functions of the digital palette in cyberspace. This is a draft version essay on the potential instructional uses for screen mirroring. This makes it easy to use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to create mobile device screen demos, collaborate, and to use a projector to engage audiences in team/group activities up to an entire class from which a presenter could pick one or more mobile devices to display. It is worth considering how much this capacity can be used to replace the functionality of interactive whiteboards and large digital TV displays such as Apple TV. It clearly replaces the need for for a VGA connector and keeping the iDevice tethered a short distance from the projector's computer.  This screen mirroring feature is built-in to more recent Macs as AirPlay and on for Nexus 10 and 7 devices is supported by Miracast. The features of  AirPlay can be extended with Reflector or AirServer software in the $15 range but in larger quantities can enable every student in a classroom and more to display to the room projector for $4 ($3.00) a device.  I don't have figures yet for Droid systems.

This raises a few questions. Which is better? Are there other better competitors? If you have other ideas, features  and details that would add to these thoughts please contribute a comment below.

AirPlay began as a way to send audio to speakers and Apple TV and then expanded to enable touch tablets and smartphones to wirelessly stream many kinds of data between devices, including audio, video, photos and whatever is showing on the mobile device's display (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AirPlay). There are also apps using AirPlay that run in Linux and Windows systems. It also means, for example, that data could go from one iPad to another through the laptop.


 This also means that if your computer is hooked up to a monitor it would be possible to display an iPad's display so that it is visible to an entire class or larger audience, and to continue to mix any displays up to a total of 4 devices simultaneously, a sort of 4 square of devices. Remember when the teacher would send 4 students the chalkboard to reveal their work procedures or alternative solutions like working out a division problem for a quick scan by all. There are many other instructional strategies that are possible for sharing examples and alternatives: comparing text passages with related media; team research results comparison; simultaneous sharing instead of one at a time, and so on. Multi-view provides another way to get that done without the chalk dust and makes it possible to record the entire event for later playback as a screen movie.

Reviews Comparing Reflector and AirServer

12:30 m/s Youtube clip,  Reflector vs AirServer, presenter rating them as equal but for Reflector's built-in table screen movie capture feature.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogrI6mHpAnw , clear voice and screens.

Mirroring Multiple iOS Devices To A Mac: Comparing AirServer and Reflection, http://www.macstories.net/reviews/mirroring-multiple-ios-devices-to-a-mac-comparing-airserver-and-reflection/ the writer prefers AirServer. Many screens shots; no screen movies.

A Guide to iPad AirPlay Screen Mirroring http://www.classthink.com/2013/08/18/a-guide-to-ipad-airplay-screen-mirroring/ Seems to like both greatly but notes some problems with streaming HD video (August 18, 2013)

AirServer – 30 Apple TVs for the price of One (and instant sharing and engagement in the Classroom), http://mgleeson.edublogs.org/2013/03/04/airserver-in-the-classroom/ (March 4, 2013)

Reflector Reviews

http://blog.softtechnics.biz/review-seamless-airplay-mirroring-with-reflector-app/ includes 1:14 m/s commercial of its features. (April 16, 2013)

Nexus OS using at least Android 4.3

Screen mirroring in Android requires more than just software, needing either a dongle or set top box to handle Miracast software. There seem to be more complaints about getting to work consistently across devices than in the Mac ecology; it also reports that Mac's Airplay works only on Apple devices which is not correct (August 8, 2013)

Screen Mirroring Now Supported on Nexus 10, Nexus 7 (2013), and Nexus 4 with Miracast

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