7 Things You Need to Know about Mobile Classroom Presentation Technologies

What is it?

Mobile Classroom Presentation Technologies are any technology that allows for the instructor to be untethered from a classroom technology podium and still make full use of the technology available through a mobile device. The focus of this team was on making use of the iPad in a classroom setting. Both app solutions and hardware solutions were considered, as well as two specific use case scenarios. The scenarios included using the app Doceri to allow an iPad to double a technology computer’s desktop and give access to the files on that computer. Not only does Doceri and the iPad act as a remote control for the computer, but it allows the user to annotate, or take notes, on the screen.

How does it work?

The team identified two use case scenarios when using the iPad as a classroom teaching tool. The first scenario covers the solution that allows the user access and take control over the computer that already exists in the classroom technology podium. This essentially causes the iPad to act as a large remote control. The user sees the desktop of the computer on the iPad screen and can interact with it as if their finger was the mouse. PowerPoint and other files can be accessed and slides can be advanced from this interface. An additional feature desired in this scenario is the ability to annotate – to write notes over top of any thing that is currently being displayed.

The team focused on the app Doceri for this use case scenario. There are a number of apps that do various types of remote desktop access, however Doceri is a inexpensive solution and it works reliably. The app itself is free, requiring only the desktop computer version to be licensed. Penn State has the ability to push the Doceri desktop software out to any technology podium on campus, requiring only the user to bring an iPad with the Doceri app installed. The classroom also needs to have reliable wireless internet access in order for Doceri to maintain a connection to the computer. There is wireless 2.0 available in most building on campus, and it is sufficient enough to use Doceri.

The second use case scenario involves using the iPad itself as the teaching tool. Many apps found exclusively for the iPad could be very beneficial for use in the classroom. The need here is for the iPad to easily push out what is seen on its screen to a projector or display in the classroom for all of the students to see. This is referred to as mirroring. This scenario relies on additional hardware to function properly.

The team initially looked at the AppleTV as a potential hardware solution. In an ideal situation, the AppleTV makes it very easy to mirror your iPad display and project the contents. Selecting the AirPlay Mirror option on the iPad, then selecting the AppleTV, will allow your iPad to now appear on whatever display device the AppleTV is hooked up to. In the classroom, however, the methods by which the AppleTV and iPad communicate become more complicated. It’s unlikely that the AppleTV will become a University-wide solution in the near future and more details are discussed in the downsides section. Due to the outstanding issues with this solution, most of this paper will discuss the first use case scenario.

Another potential hardware solution involves the use of wireless HDMI hardware. At the time of this writing the team was waiting to receive this hardware in order to test its abilities.

Why is it significant?

Using a mobile device like the iPad as a teaching tool in the classroom potentially opens the faculty member up to no longer being tethered to a podium and stuck in one spot of the classroom. The professor can now feel free to roam in the class, offering additional and new engagement opportunities for students. This is especially effective in large enrollment classes where a teacher might be working with 200 students at once.

The Doceri and iPad scenario allows for faculty to easily write notes where the class can see. Depending on the size of the classroom, a chalkboard or whiteboard may not be able to be seen by everyone. This method makes use of the projection screen that is already in the classroom and is likely already in the best visible spot. Additionally, writing out notes and problem sets, like math equations, as the class is happening allows for students to see the work as it should be completed rather than just the answer.

What are the implications for teaching and learning?

The implications going forward will need to be measured in a number of ways. Clearly there are advantages to faculty being untethered from a technology podium and freed to move around the classroom and interact more directly with students, but how does that constantly shifting center of the room change student focus? In what ways does this approach to teaching change the learning process and outcomes for the students? And in what ways does this approach to teaching change the role and perceptions of the instructor?

What are the downsides?

Downsides with the Doceri and iPad use case scenario are relatively few. There are currently some compatibility issues with other teaching applications like the iClicker system. This does not interfere with the use of the iClicker system, instead when annotating with Doceri the iClicker counter can appear to freeze and no longer give the class and faculty an indication of how much time has passed on the current clicker session as well as how many people have submitted an answer. The answers are still logged, however, and closing the annotation tool of Doceri allows the the iClicker system to display correctly.

The second use case scenario faces more downsides. Currently at Penn State, due to the network infrastructure and the Apple TV’s reliance on wireless internet connections, the Apple TV cannot be implemented into most classrooms.

Who’s doing it?

Knowledge Commons W140 iMac lab—This computer lab found in the Pattee Library Knowledge Commons is used frequently for Media Commons instruction and workshops. The room is also equipped with Doceri and an iPad. Any faculty curious about Doceri and would like to give it a try in a live environment is encouraged to contact Ryan Wetzel at rlw32@psu.edu for a tour of the facility.

Case Study

Cheryl Hile is a senior lecturer and undergraduate advisor in the Math department. She teaches courses such as Math 034, The Mathematics of Money. Cheryl likes moving around the classroom and engaging students while she teaches. To help engage students in learning the course material, Cheryl works through math problems in class.

In prior semesters, Cheryl used a Bamboo tablet to work through math problems that were projected on a screen in front of the class. She liked the concept of using newer technology to digitally work through math problems, rather than having to manually write on an overhead projector or chalkboard.

However, the Bamboo tablet was limiting because it needed to be connected to the electronics hub at the lecture podium and thus required her to stay in that location while teaching. The Bamboo tablet was also awkward for Cheryl to teach with because it lacked an erase function.

Cheryl is now using an iPad with Doceri and clickers to teach her course. This set up allows Cheryl to move about the classroom to engage with students as she works through math problems that are wirelessly projected from the iPad to the large projection screen in front of the class.

Specifically, Cheryl teaches from PowerPoint slides of the course material, which she gives to students to review before class. During class, she writes over the projected PowerPoint slides using her iPad and Doceri.

Employing these technologies untethers Cheryl from the lecture podium and frees her students for more active learning, since they already have the math problems and explanations and can spend class time working through them with Cheryl instead of simply copying them. Along with teaching from the iPad using Doceri, Cheryl uses iClickers to generate student feedback.

Where is it going (at Penn State)?

The first use case scenario using Doceri is classroom ready. Provided the classroom has a technology podium available with a computer, Doceri can be added without issue. This will let your iPad connect to the computer to make use of the remote capabilities of Doceri. Please contact Brian Young with a request to have Doceri added to your classroom.

There are currently efforts underway that will bring one or two classrooms with an Apple TV online and faculty teaching in those rooms will be offered the opportunity to participate in a pilot program exploring the device’s use.

References and Resources

http://doceri.com/classroom.php – highlights classroom benefits
http://doceri.com/ – main web site for doceri
http://www.iteleportmobile.com/features – features for iTeleport Mobile
http://doceri.com/videos.php?v=JsN8-y1ipBI – what can you do with Doceri
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW-AVsR2ckM&feature=player_embedded – other great uses for Doceri- History

Tagged with →  
Share →
Skip to toolbar