For years, when teachers wanted to project from a computer to a large screen, they were chained to the front of the classroom. The only way to show a PowerPoint or video on a high-definition TV or projector was through a wired HDMI connection.
That’s no longer the case. Wireless display technology based on Miracast gives teachers the ability to roam with a notebook, smartphone or tablet from anywhere in the classroom.
Dr. Bianca Lochner, director of IT for Tolleson Union High School District in Arizona, says teachers connect their Lenovo ThinkPad Helix tablets via Miracast over a Netgear Push2TV wireless display adapter.
“Teachers walk around the room and control all the content on the Helix devices,” Lochner says. “They can hand the tablet off to a student to respond to the material, or a student can show his or her project or video.” In the next phase of deployment, students will use their personal notebooks to project onto the main screen.
Lochner points out that it takes time for people to get used to the technology. About a year ago, Tolleson deployed docking stations and Miracast capability. Once teachers got used to connecting their computers via wireless display, they were encouraged to walk around the room and share the tablets with students.
“The whole idea here is to engage the students and get away from teachers spending most of their time presenting in front of the classroom,” Lochner adds.
Brett Sappington, director of research for Parks Associates, says that as smartphones and tablets become the norm at most organizations, IT departments are beginning to deploy wireless display technology in the classroom.
“It used to be that people would take technology from work and bring it home, but now the pendulum has swung, and technology driven by consumers has made it to the office,” Sappington says. “I look for wireless displays to catch on anywhere knowledge workers are present, be it schools or colleges, government agencies or general businesses.”
The Benefits of Automation
Jason Murray, district technology coordinator for Cornwall-Lebanon School District in Pennsylvania, says teachers use Actiontec ScreenBeam adapters to connect Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga devices to screens in the front of the classroom.
“It’s been really nice, both for the teachers and students,” Murray says. “Teachers can walk around the classroom and hand off their notebooks to students or take a snapshot of the student’s work and display it on the screen.” This type of interaction enables teachers to give students personalized attention and encourages students to collaborate in small groups.\
Eventually, K–2 students will be able to screencast from Android tablets and students in grades 3 through 12 will project from Windows devices. Murray says the district started with the lower grades and will roll out the Actiontec adapters to the middle school and high school in the next year.