Episode 53: Air Parrot
Greeting and welcome back to EdTech Moment. Today is the first in a series looking at the Apple TV in the classroom, and today we’re going to look at a tool that you can use to share your laptop screen whether it’s a Mac or a Windows PC on your Apple TV, over the wireless internet. Today we’re looking at an app called Air Parrot.
If you have an Apple TV in your classroom you know it’s great for sharing images from your iPod, iPad, or iPhone, and if you have the newest versions of the Mac OS (Mountain Lion) then you know you can share your desktop one your Apple TV over the wireless internet, but what if you don’t have the newest version, or what if you’re on a Windows PC? Today we’re going to look at a program called Air Parrot.
Air Parrot is a program that you put on your laptop, again it could be a Mac or Windows PC, it’s available for only $9.99 from http://airsquirrels.com Here we are on the air squirrels website and we can see some of the main features, We can see in the demonstration here that any app that is shared will also be shared over the Apple TV, you can use your Apple TV to extend your destop, or you can show a particular app on your screen and not show the rest of the screen. This is really hand if you need to take roll, you need to do something in your grade book, and you get to show your kids something else while you’re doing that.
Again, the coolest part of Air Parrot is that you’re doing all this wirelessly. You have your laptop hooked to the wireless network, and your Apple TV hooked to the same wireless network and you don’t have to worry about VGA cables and all these adapters and dongles and things like that. Another advantage of using the Apple TV in the classroom is that a flat screen TV is bright and clear even when all the lights are on, so you’re not constantly shutting down the lights so that kids can see what’s on the screen. Your HDTV gives you a much better image even though it’s smaller, a much clearer image and brighter image and often is much easier to see than a projector.
Let’s take a look at air parrot in action. When I click on the Air Parrot icon in the menu bar I get a list of Airplay devices available to me on my WIFI network. Here we can see that I have the ATV in the room and another laptop that I can share to. I also see that I can display the entire image (Display 1) – if I had a secondary display hooked to my laptop I could display that image as well. I can also extend my desktop onto the ATV, or I could share just a specific app on my computer. So for example I’m in the Chrome browser and I could show just the front window, or all the chrome windows, and again this is great because I can show one thing on my screen for the kids and be working on something different on my screen that the kids don’t need to see.
Some other settings that we have in Air Parrot are that I can stream audio over to the TV, so if I don’t want the audio from a video to play on my computer, I can send it over to play from the speakers on the TV. Then in the preferences some of the settings that I have found I like to adjust are the framerate and video quality – I was having some stuttering and buffering issues when playing videos – so turning down the framerate and video quality helped it to stream more smoothly, and I also like to click the option that says “stretch apps to fill the ATV screen.” This help to compensate for the difference in resolution and aspect ratios from your computer to that of the ATV so apps look really great and fill the screen as much as possible.
So, if you’re using either a Windows or Mac computer you can get some great value from Air Parrot to share the content of your computer screen over the wireless network to your classroom Apple TV.
What are some if your favorite tips and tricks that you do with an Apple TV in the classroom. Send in an email, audio, or video comment to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll show them and talk about them here on the show.
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