Every teacher can focus more on learning when the technology just works. Here is how got rid of my stress surrounding student presentations.
Students in my class [9th grade world history] present world news weekly. Students work in groups to make a Google Slides presentation of news images and then present the first class meeting of every week. The presentation is only 20 minutes but setting up for it can eat up a couple of precious minutes every single time.
At the start of the class, I ask for one of the members of the presenting group to share their Slide presentation with me. I don’t have adapters for my classroom set of Chromebooks so sharing it with me is the next best thing. I attach my computer to my projector and then have students use it to present. In addition, students usually have their Chromebooks up there with them when they are presenting for their notes.
The whole process takes a couple of minutes and after teaching 5 classes, I am experiencing a lot of wasted time. Multiply that by the weeks in the year and we are talking about hundreds of minutes wasted on loading up presentations. Wouldn’t it be cool if students could simply present from anywhere in the room?
The Need For A Wireless Projector
After I receive their presentation, I go to my Gmail to open up it up. Then, I have to worry about whether I am projecting my email to the entire class. It is not a long process, but I still have to think about it. In those moments I am haunted by the image in my head of accidentally projecting confidential emails to a class of 30. On top of all of my other concerns, I certainly don’t need that.
And here we arrive at the problem. Often times when us teachers use technology, we are more worried about managing the technology rather then the learning it can produce. How many times have you worried about missing power plugs? Or adapters? Or using a piece of software for the first time? Or plugging something into a computer for the first time and praying to the technology gods that it works: a microphone, a pair of speakers, or a new projector? And then after all the prayers and pleas… it doesn’t work in front of a crowd of 30 blank faces.
I have so much to think about when teaching that I like my technology to just work.
I recently stumbled across a piece of software that promises to streamline my class and the student presentations. I wanted a way for my students to connect their Chromebooks to a wireless projector. I don’t have the cash to outright purchase a new wireless projector so I had to come up with a workaround.
I tried a couple of different tools to make a wireless projector. One attempt included a Chromecast and a HDMI adapter. The Result: it didn’t work with my projector. It was in my disappointment that I remembered a piece of software I had won at #EdcampCapeCod this past summer.
It is called Mirroring360 by Splashtop. It allows students to wirelessly share their screens with me from their seats. And it can project their screens through my computer onto the projector. Hence, a wireless projector.
This sounds complicated but it really isn’t. In fact you could get this set up on your computer and student devices in five minutes to make a wireless projector. The best part? For educators, it only costs $15.
Is it a perfect solution?
If you have a projector with an HDMI hookup in the back of it, I suggest you look into a Chromecast. It might be the right solution for you. I’ve tried using the Chromecast on a colleague’s projector and it works very well. For the rest of us with the older projectors, you can always try my HDMI adaptor approach. Or you could simply use Mirroring360. I included an instructional video where I show you how you can setup and use Mirroring360. Hopefully it will help make your teaching a little bit easier, less stressful, and more productive.
Questions: What tool do you love right now because it “just works”? Or which tool is holding you up because it never “just works”?