Over the past two weeks, I have given five presentations on the iPad in music education. I’ve used different technical setups in both locations, and I’m not yet pleased with the outcome. Feel free to learn from my experiences.
For my presentations at the Minnesota ACDA Dialogue at St. John’s University, I was not sure what kind of access I would have to the Internet–and (rightly) assumed that any access would be on a guest network also used by all members of the audience.
There are three current Apple iOS devices that can use AirPlay to stream wirelessly. Those devices are the iPad 2, the new iPad, and the iPhone 4S. All of them require specific ports on the network to use AirPlay, for Bonjour services to be enabled on the network, and in the case of a wired Apple TV to wireless iPad, the IP addresses of the wired and wireless network must be the same. In other words, there is no guarantee that any wireless network can handle either the load of AirPlay streaming or the technical requirements for AirPlay streaming.
So if you want to present with wireless mirroring, you need to have a solution. You have three options:
- Purchase a wireless router to use just for presentations. You may even find an ethernet connection to connect to the wireless router to give you Internet access at the same time.
- Create an AdHoc network on a MacBook. However, you cannot attach an Apple TV to an AdHoc network, so you must look at a solution like Reflection or AirServer instead.
- Just plug the iPad to VGA cable into the iPad and present from a single location.
All three have positives and negatives. #1 gives you the most freedom, but even the cheapest Apple Airport Express base station is $99 (which is a bargain, but it’s another $99 out of your pocket). However, there is no guarantee that your own router might not cause interference with channels with the wireless where you are presenting, and there is no guarantee that you’ll have web access. #2 eliminates the Apple TV as a solution. #3 defeats the purpose of showing what the iPad can really do.
So, at St. John’s University, I created an AdHoc network on my MacBook (ridiculously easy to do from the wi-fi symbol on the top of your screen) and used Reflection to mirror my iPad to my MacBook, and the MacBook was connected to the projector. This worked reasonably well, but I was not able to access the Internet to demonstrate some items. I walked around with the iPad as I presented. I also found out that audience members could not follow screen taps because screen taps do not show on a mirrored d
This week I presented three sessions on the iPad at the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley, MN. I used the AdHoc Network on the iPad for the first presentation, which was about apps for music education. That works well. The following two sessions were more hands-on. So I wanted to use a different approach.
In early July, I purchased a Justand, an iPad stand that turns your iPad into a document camera. The Justand was backordered, and arrived while I was speaking at the Minnesota ACDA Dialogue (the timing was not good). My intent was to use a second iPad (the iPad 2 my choir boosters purchased for my school last spring) as a mirroring iPad on the Justand, and then to use my own iPad on the Perpich Center’s wireless network to present the how-to sessions.
This was reasonably successful. The Juststand works well, and would work better with a new iPad (better camera) than the iPad 2s that I have access to. When you put your iPad in the Justand, it projects what is underneath, but to the right…where, logically, the iPad camera is located. Your tendency is to place materials in the center of the Justand, so this didn’t work intuitively. My suggestion would be for the base of the Justand to be extended on the right side, as this is where you need to put materials (perhaps with a rectangular symbol showing where to place documents. I would also prefer a black Justand (they are red), and one that could collapse for travel (the base stays at a 90 degree angle, although the iPad arm collapses).
I also noticed that the iPad (glass surface) reflected the ceiling lights, so I had to turn those off…and then my hands were hard to see, defeating the purpose of mirroring an iPad with an iPad, instead of just projecting off the iPad. A non-direct lighting system (i.e. no reflection) on the bottom of the iPad arm would be a great addition.
I was also reminded that when you are using the Camera to mirror, you need to make sure that you turn off the auto-lock feature. Otherwise, the iPad times out, and then you have to recreate your connection to Reflection. And reflection treats every new connection as another iPad on the computer screen. I haven’t figured out how to close individual iPad windows on Reflection, so I have to exit completely and start again.
In the future, all wireless networks will have tremendous capacity and will be open to Apple’s Bonjour and other services–but for now, as you present, you need to have a game plan if you want to present on the use of iPads using AirPlay.
Addition: here is the video about the Justand, featuring the creator, Justin Franks: