The problem with the early tranche of interactive whiteboards was that – well, they weren’t that interactive! Schools paid thousands out of their budgets for the new technological whiteboards that were not too smart, resulting in glorified projectors showcasing reams of powerpoint presentations. Not interactive at all! Yes, some of us added bells, whistles and beautiful transitions onto the presentations, but that was just to keep our students from falling asleep as we went from slide to slide – and so emerged the phrase ‘death by powerpoint’. Recently, the current Education Secretary in England announced that the initial spend was a waste of money, impacting little on educational attainment (see Telegraph article), conceding that, if used appropriately, technology has a huge potential to support students’ learning, save money and reduce the workload of teachers.
In fairness, technology has evolved, and you only have to see the home capabilities of AppleTV, Google’s Chromecast, or Amazon’s Fire Stick, but those impressive wifi, airplaying devices rely on their own platform structure to stream images, movies or music to the central screen. Many educators have utilised these technologies within their own classrooms, but the reliance on only being able to exclusively use one platform can be very restrictive. If only there was a device that allowed sharing screens from any device, no matter what platform the device relied upon.
Easy wireless screen sharing for schools is now possible with the Airtame device, now allowing cross-platform device sharing within the classroom, built to share screens using Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook, iOS AirPlay, and some Android compatibility through an app, with full Android mirroring being added within the next 12 months. Speaking to UKEdChat, the Airtame UK Account manager, Luca Malpiedi, highlighted that the Airtame offers a lot more flexibility when using and sharing EdTech in the classroom. Unlike other platforms, Luca told us,
“The Airtame works with a network without significant problems, but also the management of an Airtame can be looked after from one central area, which is great when you want to change what screens are showcasing when you are not near the device. But, great news for teachers working in the classroom with students, the Airtame offers a fast connection to share a screen to the main classroom monitor with only two clicks, unlike some other platforms where eight clicks are needed.”
Once configured, the Airtame capability for teachers and students is impressive to witness. If students are using a mix of tablets or laptops in the classroom, showcasing the device screen to the shared large screen is simple. The plug and play device goes into an HDMI connection into a monitor, needs power from a USB port, which many modern devices already have. A small piece of software is then needed for each device in the classroom, but once this initial technical set-up is completed, then sharing screens is easy. If multiple Airtame’s are being used in a school, then each teacher can assign a random passcode to ensure only students in that room can connect to the correct screen, and not accept screens from other rooms. The control for each Airtame is intuitive, set up is fast and simple, especially when utilising Airtame Cloud.
Beyond the classroom, the Airtame is also well equipped to be used as a remote information sharing system, and some developments of the device will also allow for alerts and messages which can be assigned by school leaders or administrators. The Homescreen capability of the device also allows for flexible customisation. Airtame unlocks new opportunities for creating a more student-centred and collaborative learning environment. In addition to benefiting students, educators, and guests, the lives of IT administrators are also made a lot easier.
The company has published a couple of articles regarding considerations as to whether Airtame is best suited for your setting (click here), as well as some essential teaching tips you need to bring to your classroom next semester.
Ultimately, the flexibility and capability of the Airtame device set it apart from the platform-specific nature of some of the more common and popular screen sharing devices on the market. Being able to share the screens from pupils using a range of different devices sets the Airtame into a different league, and being able to quickly connect with just a couple of clicks also help maintain the flow of classroom sessions, with less time demanded on the teacher to resolve technological issues. The interactive nature of individual tablets or laptops is possible, with the creativity, inspiration and joy of showcasing classroom work available to share to all, thanks to the advances made with wireless screen sharing via Airtame.