Home Good Teaching TCEA Responds: Apple TV in the Classroom

TCEA Responds: Apple TV in the Classroom

by Miguel Guhlin
Apple TV device and remote

Dear TCEA Responds:

I am getting an Apple TV and I would like to learn more about using it in my classroom. Do you have any professional development classes on how to use the Apple TV and an iPad?


Dear Angie:

As an early adopter of the Apple TV, I was thrilled about the possibilities. Let’s explore some of the ways Apple TVs can enhance teaching and learning in your classroom. We’ll also take a quick look at some alternatives to Apple TVs so you can save money, if that’s needed.

How Apple TVs Enhance Teaching and Learning

The Apple TV enables either students or teachers to mirror their device to a large screen. Using AirPlay, which comes standard on Apple computers and tablets, you can share what you see on one device on a big screen. This makes highlighting student work on an iPad convenient. Some ideas for taking advantage of this in the classroom:

  • Model the brainstorming process using a whiteboard app (see this list)
  • Empower students to work as teachers for a day
  • Create a digital ebook (use Book Creator) and display it on the big screen
  • Make a document camera out of any iPad in your classroom
  • Annotate documents live (some apps include Annotable and Annotate)
  • Wander around the room wirelessly with your iPad connected to big screen
  • Facilitate collaboration between student creators so all can see what they are making
  • Watch YouTube or Vimeo videos or National Geographic content
  • Use apps like Appear.in, Skype, and Voxer on your iPad so that students can watch
  • Display student-generated or educational images (e.g. anchor charts, concept maps) as the screensaver

Some tips to avoid Apple TV distractions (use the free Apple TV Remote app so you don’t have to use an on-screen keyboard):

  • Hide TV channels
  • Hide movie previews. Enable restrictions to select the Purchase and Rental hide option.
  • Rename the Apple TV to reflect your classroom
  • Set an AirPlay password to prevent others from taking over your Apple TV to display their content

I encourage you to check out Tony Vincent’s illustrated guide to Apple TV. He has tons more tips and suggestions.

Apple TV Alternatives

If your school or district has not yet invested in an Apple TV, you might consider a software solution instead. Here are three software alternatives that cost less money than an Apple TV:

In most cases, both devices (teacher’s computer and student iOS device) must be on the same WiFi subnet. Also, in Bonjour and mDNS, multicast must be allowed on your network.

Ready to Get Started?

You have quite a few ideas to get started with the Apple TV in your classroom. While setting up may seem like a lot, you and your students will soon be doing things quite differently. If you’d like some help, TCEA offers onsite professional development on Apple TVs (and more) specifically tailored to your staff’s needs. Just email Dr. Bruce Ellis for more information. Each onsite workshop includes a year’s membership to TCEA, which allows participants to continue the learning all year long.


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