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General Chat Thread, Fraser Spiers Blog: Apple, Ipads and effective use in education in General; I wanted to big up this blog and the person behind it here today. I have found his articles very ...
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    Fraser Spiers Blog: Apple, Ipads and effective use in education

    I wanted to big up this blog and the person behind it here today.

    I have found his articles very honest, helpful, and eye opening to the capabilities, and chances of pushing the boundaries of technology in education.

    Fraser Speirs - Blog

    In particular, I'd like to highlight this entry:
    Fraser Speirs - Blog - The Next-Generation Classroom AV*System

    I love the idea of this, as I have grown to hate and dislike projectors and the myriad of problems they ensue with them, and how Smartboards/IWB's have become the "Must have" waste of money in many situations where they are simply not used.

    If you have, might have, have thought of getting Ipads into schools then this is an excellent place to visit.

  2. Thanks to Rydra from:

    synaesthesia (21st June 2011)

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    HMCTech's Avatar
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    As you know, I've been looking at HDTVs and AppleTV as replacements for projectors and Interactive Whiteboards for some time (see here and here). Well, yesterday, that arrangement just got a whole lot better. Apple announced that it will soon be possible to wirelessly mirror your iPad to an HDTV with an AppleTV attached.
    Is there anyway currently using an application from the app store to project your ipad to the screen using wireless?
    Last edited by HMCTech; 21st June 2011 at 03:29 PM.

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    I could not say 100% for sure, but with the current setup of iOS under Apple's insistence nothing can access the root of the device, I somehow doubt it.

    BUT, I gather you can do it via Apple TV and a MAC server, but not sure on the exact hardware/software requirements in doing this, eg you might just need Apple TV to do it, or you might need some sort of Alice in wonderland arrangement to achieve what you want.

    I will say that until they have this ability nailed down, I do not see it taking off all too well as fully functional teaching aid. Why would you want a mobile device that you can only use the way you want by connecting a 3 foot long cable tethered to the wall for?

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    HMCTech's Avatar
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    No matter how much you tell them that they cannot connect an ipad to a projector over wireless they still want one as its an ipad. They basicly want to justify having on in the classroom so they can put it in the handbag after school and use it at home all evening.

    And when you ask what educational apps they have found that would need to be proejcted the email trains stop.

    But one does what ones told.

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    His AV solution is interesting but not sold on it really. That screen is no way big enough unless you are going to crowd everyone round the front. & relying on the speakers in flat screen TV doesn't seem like a great option. Good exercise though. Really need to think about our AV provision as projectors will probably be dying soon.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Further, unless you buy a really, really good (read: expensive) one, your classroom has to be as dark as the bottom of Jabba's Sarlacc pit to get the image visible.
    They must have bought rubbish ones or not paid attention to the specs when purchasing then.

    Ben

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    plexer's Avatar
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    What do we lose over the old system? Not much. We lose the interactive whiteboard capability that we mostly don't like and don't use. We save a ton of money and get a more flexible, longer lasting, neater AV system that opens up a new range of capabilities.
    As has been said how does a 40" TV replace the 78" projection I have from a projector?

    Also with amplified wall mounted speakers it's better than that TV's built in ones.

    Why did they not wall mount the TV to provide some more visability?

    Ben

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    The smallest IWB I have in my school is 46" with a 1024x768 projector.

    An IWB will start at about £650 for this size, and the cheapest projector your going to get that doesn't suck is going to be £400. Also consider that you will need to buy a ceiling mount, cabling kit, and in some cases pay an electrician to fit power to the projector, or someone to fit it all for you, or spend 1-2 hours fitting it all yourself, messy trunking, and then troubles of silhouttes on the board when you stand in front of it.

    I can buy a 46" Plasma TV at 1080p and contrast/brightness well above anything a projector can put out, for £800.
    As to sound, well that's down to choice. With a IWB/Projector you HAVE to buy an external sound system. The TV might not be suitable, but it does provide a sound option does it not? If it doesn't meet your requirements, you can buy an external option.

    As to the 80" options, well they are somewhat more expensive anyway, closer to £1300, and for that money you can buy a 60 inch plasma screen, and a half decent one at that, with higher resolutions, brightness and contrast than any projector is unlikely to put out for less than £1000.

    -Less installation time required
    -Less maintenance (cleaning projector filters/replacing bulbs)
    -Longer life of the unit
    -Potentially cheaper
    -Better quality.

    And that's without looking at the mac options.

    As to useability, how about looking at the tablet options for controlling the display remotely? Or just stick with wireless keyboard/mouse, and hand them to a child to demonstrate with.

    Within my school I am looking at having 3 new classrooms this summer.
    For a projector install I will need:
    a new projector at £4-700 with a mounting kit (we have been going for higher quality/longer life projector options recently instead of £400 options where the bulbs die within 9 months)
    a new whiteboard at £650-1300 depending on size (undecided by SMT yet)
    new cabling and box on the wall: £100
    electrician to install power: unknown, but guess £40-50 per room?
    Sound system: variable according to system used, but call it £100
    3 hours of my time and site agent to install it all and get the mount set right etc.
    PER ROOM.... £1300-2300 cost.

    and that's without any computer options to power it with.

    Now consider the alternative above...
    I can buy A TV for £400-1200 depending on size
    Cable set maybe £40 including HDMI/VGA/Sound leads
    A unit or wall mount to sit it on for £100
    A good wireless keyboard/mouse/tablet option £100
    And I don't initially NEED a sound system, but that could be £100
    And I can have it all fully running in one hour, by myself, without any trunking/drilling/mess.

    So a potential base cost of £700, up to £1600 for a high end room.

    This has got to be worth considering

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    I've now played with an iPad2 on iOS5 and AppleTV and mirrored everything on the device ... whilst you lose out on some of the tools from folk like Promethean and Smart ... but you gain with other apps. I only had access to a few apps and didn't get a chance to do anything with significant graphics requirements but that will be another target I put on it.

    Unfortunately I am back to a 1st gen iPad to continue testing ... but the Airplay mirror is a key function for me.

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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexPilot View Post
    No matter how much you tell them that they cannot connect an ipad to a projector over wireless they still want one as its an ipad. They basicly want to justify having on in the classroom so they can put it in the handbag after school and use it at home all evening.

    And when you ask what educational apps they have found that would need to be proejcted the email trains stop.

    But one does what ones told.
    I must say I agree, minus the fact that a projector screen is much larger and you can adjust it in size, once you buy a 40 inch screen are you going to be able to enlarge it to a 50 inch?
    We had a screen here as a test, this got replaced with a bigger screen and the old one magically vanished to a previous ICT Heads home. The other one has now sat in stock the whole time being a waste of money - many staff liked it the big screen till they realised the size could not be adjusted and after a very short time it was removed from the room and a projector replaced.

    You have to pay for the wall mount and get our very talented premises staff to put it all up (they have done a damn good job) as for the eletrical point you are most likely going to need one at the front of the class room any way. And usually you are paying per point, not position.

    As others have said this is just another excuse for some one to "Insist they need one" so they can take it home. If you said to a member of staff everything will be monitored on it to prove it is not being used for personal things then I can promise you it will get used a lot less. Also, lets mention the fact a screen at the front is easy to break and so is a little IPad compared to a laptop which sits at a desk and a projector mounted on the ceiling. Replacing this kit is usually - Buy a new one.

    I would love to test this all out if we had the money, I can see now areas like our PE/science dept and mobile buildings where kit is not looked after at all being a total failure at this idea. We have had not one projector damaged and we have one in every class (with 1200+ students) and have done for about 3+ years. Replacing bulbs is not cheap, we have projectors that are about 4/5 years old now and we rarely have had to replace a projector.

    Also there is another section on that blog saying they still need the MAC for syncing the IPad? I thought the idea was to totally replace the original setup? This is what worries me, going out spending all that money for the new setup and still keep the old setup? So if the MAC packs up today, do you buy a new one or does the staff member just accept it?

    I also do not like the fact that his comment "What do we lose over the old system?" has missed out a few important things.

    Also, isnt a whiteboard by choice? you can use your fancy pen to control the mouse on the actual board and can you do that with the TV Screen and also can the students see you doing it on that little 40 inch?

    Sorry but as I said it seems people are just trying to make a fuss over some thing, I still would love to try it because I do not see it working.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mthomas08 View Post
    I must say I agree, minus the fact that a projector screen is much larger and you can adjust it in size, once you buy a 40 inch screen are you going to be able to enlarge it to a 50 inch?
    We had a screen here as a test, this got replaced with a bigger screen and the old one magically vanished to a previous ICT Heads home. The other one has now sat in stock the whole time being a waste of money - many staff liked it the big screen till they realised the size could not be adjusted and after a very short time it was removed from the room and a projector replaced.
    Why do you want to change the size of a physical screen in a room? What adjustments are made to an IWB bolted to the wall that cannot be done with a TV screen? If you've got a 50/60" IWB and you want to upgrade to the 80" version, you still have to buy a new IWB, same as a TV. you can buy adjustable height mounts for TV's and IWB's, and resolution is controlled at the PC end not the IWB.
    You have to pay for the wall mount and get our very talented premises staff to put it all up (they have done a damn good job) as for the eletrical point you are most likely going to need one at the front of the class room any way. And usually you are paying per point, not position.
    In my experience most classrooms already have sockets around the room and near teachers desks, but would not have them in the ceiling. You can run power through trunking to a projector, but it depends on the location and situation of the projector. And you can instead buy a unit as pictured above for your TV and other equipment to sit on/in giving you some flexibility in the location of where your screen is located. This generally does not need as much installation effort to build a cabinet as it does to wall mount, just gives you a little extra flexibility.

    As others have said this is just another excuse for some one to "Insist they need one" so they can take it home. If you said to a member of staff everything will be monitored on it to prove it is not being used for personal things then I can promise you it will get used a lot less. Also, lets mention the fact a screen at the front is easy to break and so is a little IPad compared to a laptop which sits at a desk and a projector mounted on the ceiling. Replacing this kit is usually - Buy a new one.
    Permanent markers on IWB's, lean against or hit a IWB hard and it is broken, knock a projector it dies, get a projector too dusty it dies. The focus on what you connect to a screen is down to what and how you use it. If you break a TV against a wall, on a unit or mounted on the wall, your just as likely to break the IWB or projector or other bit of equipment.

    Many schools use laptops in classrooms, as teachers insist they need a computer they can take home/to the staffroom/to bermuda on holiday. Others go for desktops attached to IWB's removing one point of failure: teachers plugging/unplugging cables 10 times a day. The ipad or other tablet options extend use within a classroom, no longer meaning the teacher has to be tied next to the front of the class to do what is needed. You don't need to get children out of their seats to demonstrate things, you can bring the control to them.

    I would love to test this all out if we had the money, I can see now areas like our PE/science dept and mobile buildings where kit is not looked after at all being a total failure at this idea. We have had not one projector damaged and we have one in every class (with 1200+ students) and have done for about 3+ years. Replacing bulbs is not cheap, we have projectors that are about 4/5 years old now and we rarely have had to replace a projector.
    I have had projectors last anything from 18 months to 8 years, and bulbs last from 9 months to 5 years. But they invariably get dimmer, noisier, lower lifetime of bulbs, expensive to buy or maintain, and if you have to replace it, the mount is invariably useless for the replacement and you spend 3 hours trying to get it to align correctly. I have replaced close to 10 projectors in the last year, because at £400 per projector, which dies after 2-3 years on average, and £120 per bulb which lasts 12-18 months, plus requiring cleaning to stop it overheating every 4-5 weeks even in the winter... I believe a TV is at least a viable option to save money.
    Also there is another section on that blog saying they still need the MAC for syncing the IPad? I thought the idea was to totally replace the original setup? This is what worries me, going out spending all that money for the new setup and still keep the old setup? So if the MAC packs up today, do you buy a new one or does the staff member just accept it?
    The current Apple options mean that for OS updates etc you require a PC to deploy it. iOS 5 is bringing in support for wireless network based syncing of iOS devices. They had a MAC there anyway, that was 5 years old, and standard practice has desktop PC's replaced after about 5 years, so I don't see the difference here. They have simply reconsidered their options as technology has changed.

    I also do not like the fact that his comment "What do we lose over the old system?" has missed out a few important things.

    Also, isnt a whiteboard by choice? you can use your fancy pen to control the mouse on the actual board and can you do that with the TV Screen and also can the students see you doing it on that little 40 inch?

    Sorry but as I said it seems people are just trying to make a fuss over some thing, I still would love to try it because I do not see it working.
    The old system allowed students to get up and write on a board just like a teacher does. It allowed the teacher to turn off the projector and use the PC by themself while students did whatever, it provided a tie-over for teachers who were used to writing on boards, now they could use a laptop AND have an expensive whiteboard with virtual pens to write on the board with.
    Making the board you write with wireless and allowing the teacher to move across a classroom and still be able to manipulate the board is just the next step of evolution, and honestly it can be down with an IWB/projector OR a TV.

    The tablet function, the Computer used to operate the functions, and the Display used to display it are 3 distinct systems.

    I have seen over the years an insistence that teachers NEED a IWB and a projector to teach. IMO this is a sheltered approach of just doing what has always been done.

    I remember back to my youth, where being allowed to write on the blackboard was the holy grail of priviledges, along with taking the register back, Doing Bell duty (running around the school at turn of lesson ringing a bell as the outer buildings didn't have electronic bell systems installed), or cleaning the board rubbers.

    In 20 years what has changed from that? We went from a black(chalk)board, to a white(marker)board, and now to an IWB. We are still stuck with a teacher at the front of the class using a device to making writing appear on a board for people to read, and nowadays I see teachers using the pen very very rarely. They either have pretyped notebook/word/powerpoints, or just demonstrate/type as they go. The pen and the functionality of OCR and the many other tools are rarely used in the places i've seen and been to. Maybe others do use it, and here I see no reason why they SHOULD replace IWB's.
    But what I'm trying to convey, and what I believe Fraser has conveyed is we do not need to sheepishly and blindly buy them because everyone else has been saving we need them for 10 years.

    There are other options, now more than ever, and the options will increase as time and technology evolves.

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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    *edit, Actually couldnt be bothered in the end.

    If it works out for you then Congratulations maybe you too can write a blog and do a survey for staff and show us what they truelly think.

    I believe this would not work for us, we would purchase one for a room to see if it does but I know just like the IPads and IPhones it wouldnt be a good idea for all staff to use and is just a fancy toy for some one to show off with no real benefit over what is currently there.
    Last edited by mthomas08; 22nd June 2011 at 11:57 AM.

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    MK-2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rydra View Post
    The ipad or other tablet options extend use within a classroom, no longer meaning the teacher has to be tied next to the front of the class to do what is needed. You don't need to get children out of their seats to demonstrate things, you can bring the control to them.
    I know Promethean had the Activslate a few years back that gave you wireless control in the class. It didn't need a screen it just acted like a graphics tablet, but it allowed everything stated above too, and could be used with existing Promethean setups

    Quote Originally Posted by Rydra

    what I'm trying to convey, and what I believe Fraser has conveyed is we do not need to sheepishly and blindly buy them because everyone else has been saving we need them for 10 years.
    In the same way we should not blindly buy ipads or other tablets to fix a problem that doesn't actually exist.
    You have a tablet connected to a TV....so what if the teacher wants to play a DVD to the class, or load some content from a CD?
    Also as much as I'd love to believe wireless streaming of video and audio would be perfect, what happens when the wireless connection starts to go dodgy? you can't simply replace a VGA cable to see it works.

    I know you said it's not an option to everybody, but it is, in essence, the same argument as wired vs wireless; if you have the option, the stability of wired wins. I'd rather see a wired laptop/desktop with something used to remotely control it as an addon, not a whole new setup

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    I'm defending an idea that it seems some are dismissing as not going to work without looking at it. You suggest that you have tried something like this, and in your case it may not have worked. Not every system will work in every place every time. An 80" IWB and projector + PC in the 12ft square meeting room may be a waste of money, but a decent 50" TV with a wireless keyboard/mouse/tablet here would be a much better solution.

    As yet I haven't seen a single conclusive thing that makes an IWB way better than a TV in all/most aspects in all/most situations.

    My arguement on damage to equipment is i've seen just as much damage to IWB's and projectors as TV's. ceiling mounted projector provides a nice monkey swing for an aspiring child, what about older buildings with Asbestos ceilings, how do you mount one there? Compared to the 15 year old TV I moved out of a classroom a while back, as it was being replaced with a new flat screen TV.

    And at no point has anyone said to go out and buy 20 new class sets of TV's, ipads, mac's and Apple TV. I have simply suggested, as I am considering for 3 new classrooms where I currently work, that Projectors and IWB's are not used effectively in the current state, and another option that I believe could work cheaper would be the one listed above.

    Personally whenever I get a request for some new bit of kit, I take a look at the options old and new.

    When you replace a projector, or laptop do you immediately go out and buy the same make/model? Or do you go out and look to see if there is a better/cheaper option?

    Why not do this for anything you buy, and how many people, even here would think of this as an option when upgrading/replacing/furnishing a room for whatever reason?

    I have 36 ipads in my school now, which I did not want and did not recommend at the time. But now that I have them I will look at every and all options to use them to the best of it's abilities, and how i can utilise my budgets to the best effect.
    If I can save the school £2000 this summer by speccing an alternative for the 2-3 new classrooms that we are getting by this new option, then it's £2k i've got to spend elsewhere to make some other aspect better. This could go towards the MAC server I want to manage all my ipads, or a sync/dock case to store them in.

    Teachers always have to adapt, as do the technicians who support them. IWB's and computers provided a good step in dragging them away from the chalk/pen on the board while talking for 50 minutes. I don't know what we'll be using in 10 years time, but I'd like to think we're moving away from the static board with a virtual pen towards more fluid and flexible options, and of course effective use of it all.

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    MK-2's Avatar
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    I'll be honest, every school will be different. Those on here shooting this idea down most likely know in their school it won't work for whatever reason.

    If IWBs are being installed and not being used, then that should come down to a confidence and training issue with staff; why don't they want to use it, do they not feel confident using a board, do they not know how to use the notebook software with it?

    Surely it would be better to have some form of interactive board in a classroom because even if teacher x doesn't want to use it, they may leave, and the newly appointed teacher y may have used whiteboards at their last place and want one.

    Again this is me talking purely from my point of view and this school, so I am not saying that whiteboards are for every school just as you are saying tv's are not for every school.

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