Apple TV in Schools

appletv_smallsizeApple TV (US$99) is a box you attach to the projector / TV that picks up the screen of any iPad and displays it without the need for wires! The teacher can walk around their room and display anything that’s on their iPad screen on the Projector/TV. This means the teacher can display from anywhere and even use the iPads camera to show student work ‘live’ without gathering students around one point in the room

I have recently been setting up Apple TV in my classroom and know that many teachers will be having the problems with Apple TVs on networks that are setup with the type of security and extra stuff that one gets on a corporate style network.

Particularly in secondary schools, your ‘techies’ will be using all these silly techie acronyms like “VLANS” and “IP-ROUTING” and “APs”, so ignore them and read this, which I hope to be more ‘teacher-friendly’ (something many techies aren’t!)
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Apple TV setup

STEP 1: Connecting the Apple TV box to your projector / TV. 

vga-hdmi-convertBeing all ‘up-to-date’, Apple has only added an HDMI port to the box. That’s fine if you have a modern flat-screen TV as it will probably have an HDMI port on the back. Most school projectors however, only have the older VGA port, like the ones we’ve always had on our Windows laptops (sometimes blue in colour). Apple’s store provides a converter HERE.

For future decision making, I would recommend only purchasing 50″ plasma TVs and not projectors as they work without darkening the room, they last longer without replacing bulbs plus require less cabling setup. This lowers future costs and makes the Apple TV setup cheaper than the alternatives.

STEP 2: Putting the Apple TV onto the same network your iPads use.

configiconIf you have a simple open network that any device can join with a password then you can follow the instructions the Apple TV gives you on the TV screen. But most schools use corporate secure networks with proxy servers for internet. This means that the school network info needs to be loaded onto the Apple TV (a little trickier). On a Mac (either the schools or a borrowed one) you can get an App from the MAc app store called “Apple Configurator”. It’s used for setting up both Apple TVs and iPads in bulk.

The idea is that you setup a ‘profile’ for the Apple TV to store your network’s settings. When using configurator to design you profile the main 2 screens to worry about are 1. WIFI & 2. Certificate (See below). Here’s Apple’s Configurator’s help page

The WIFI page of a profile holds the basic name of the network and any login info the Apple TV box will need to join the network. You might need to get some info from a techie (smile and ask nicely!)

wifi config

The ‘certificate’ page is where you need to give a file to the Apple TV box to say the network and Apple TV are following the same ‘rules’ when talking. This part is the trickiest. On the mac, join the wireless network and you will get the Certificate file. To find the file you can use the Mac’s Keychain Access (1 use Spotlight to find that!) and search for the wireless name (2). See pic below.

cert find

Once you have added the network info and the certificate to the Apple TV profile, you need to ‘Prepare’ the Apple TV with this profile. To do this you use the USB cable port that’s on the back of the Apple TV. It uses the same cable as many cameras use. Once the profile is on the Apple TV and it’s restarted it should join the Network.

Apple Tvs are best on a network cable

Apple TVs work best if the Apple TV box is not actually using the Wireless but is on the network using the network Cable (ethernet). As long as the techie allocates the port in the wall to the same network as the wireless then you half the pressure on the wireless in the room but the iPads can still see the Apple TV box. The ethernet cables are that Yellow/Red/Blue cable the computers sometimes use for network.

3. Sending your iPad’s screen to the Apple TV
apple-homescreen-1

1. Make sure you can see the Apple TVs ‘Home screen’ on the TV or Projector first. (See pic)
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airplay

2. As long as the wireless is strong enough, a Double tap of the iPad’s Home button will bring up the Apps across the bottom (Where you might normally class apps or switch between them). A swipe to the left will send you to the Volume / Brightness settings and also the AIRPLAY options (If the Apple TV is on the network – see pic).

3. You need to switch “Mirroring” on and the iPad’s screen should appear on the TV / Projector.

4. With a really good wireless, even a movie’s sound playing on the iPad will play through the TV as if you had a DVD playing!

SUMMARY

I can’t guarantee that following this info will mean you don’t have other problems with setting up Apple TV on a corporate style network but it might help, so here’s that Apple’s Configurator’s help page again! I’ve had issues myself, particularly with the network being shared by so many devices and setting it up so the Apple TV is not fighting too many other students for access to the Wireless box (Access point). This might take a little classroom management and getting kids to turn wireless off on the iPads for a minute or 2. All I can say is Good luck and let me know if you are successful / or if I have approached it wrong and you have an easier way!

33 comments on “Apple TV in Schools

  1. Our Apple TVs were set up for us (thank God) by our amazing tech staff, who might I add, were once all once teachers before. The Apple TV makes everything so much more awesome when using the iPad. Just make sure that if your iPad falls asleep and you have a screen lock on it, that you “pause” or “dim” the projector, because if you don’t, the entire class will then have access to your passcode

  2. I love my Apple TV! Wondering how to change the home screen with all of the new release movies displayed at the top. I don’t like that it is first thing my kids see when I turn it on. :(

    • Don’t know if you found a solution to this yet. If you turn on restrictions and input a 4 digit code (with no students in the room) you can then go and hide almost all the “apps” on the Apple TV! the one you are looking for to hide the movies is the first one you come to. Press “Menu” on the remote\Click “General”\Click “Restrictions”\Click “Turn on Restrictions” enter in a 4 digit code that will be the passcode for “Restrictions.” Then scroll down to “Purchase & Rental” click on the center button once and “Ask” changes to “Hide.” that’s it! You may want to go through all of the apps and hide them if you don’t use them. also remember to check at least once a month for new apps to be added by Apple. We had one pop up on our 100 Apple TV’s and we will have to go through and hide it now. It is the WWE one so we don’t want that showing in our school.

      • Thank you for sorting that one. I’d completely forgotten to have another look at it. You’ve just given me a job for the day as we have about 12 Apple TVs! :-)

      • While you are at it make sure to upgrade the OS on the device if you haven’t already. The new Conference room display feature is promising if its viable for your environment. Otherwise hide the Airplay Settings too. If you use Apple Configurator it goes much faster than if you update each device over wifi. Also, using Apple Configurator lets the software download once and that reduces bandwidth for your school. Most public schools don’t worry about that but us private schools who purchase our bandwidth individually have to consider how it all adds up.

  3. This is great. I just wish the box wasn’t called Apple **TV**. There is little in the way of TV that I can find. I think there is one bit of live programming that shows up for half an hour at 4 pm our time! That aside, ATV does just what this article says it will. BTW, make sure those ATVs have different IDs. I’ve seen cases where a teacher is streaming something from a personal iPad, not realizing that it is showing up on another TV somewhere in the school.

    Also, I think “half” should read “halve”. I’m also wondering about the reference to plasma TVs. These have all but disappeared I thought.

  4. Even easier: LearnPad can show all your tablet screens simultaneously, is initiated by the teacher, needs no additional hardware, and runs in a browser. Your move iPad :-)

    • Hang on…I like the sound of LearnPad but discovered that the best version is only £69 cheaper than an iPad mini and “Classview” costs £500 …and that requires a laptop + Projector.
      My solution:
      Apple TV = £99
      iPadMini = £269
      No laptop required.
      …so much cheaper with at least 300,000 more apps available!

      • Thanks for taking the time to look us up and actually publish my comment; the reality distortion field is not always so accommodating.

        Actually the 9.7″ LearnPad is £199, so it’s the same size as the big iPad. We do have a 7″ LearnPad, and it is only £149 – a full £120 cheaper than the mini iPad.

        You’re right that ClassView is £500, but that is a one time fee for the whole school site (i.e. every class). There is also no installation required, and hence no installation fee, which typically doubles the cost of getting Apple TV in class.

        ClassView won this year’s ERA Innovation Award and LearnPad itself won the BETT Digital Devices award.

        Here it is in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2A18yjbq88

      • I think the learnPad looks like a nice product that possibly arrived too late. With so many schools using iPads, they have the benefit of a worldwide support network with 1000s of developers jumping onboard a system that can make them money. Senior students also benefit from having a recognised business product they can take to Uni or Work after year 13. Saying that I will keep an eye on the learnPad development. Thanks

      • Thanks for the kind words.

        Are we too late? LearnPad has been around for nearly three years and we have tens of thousands of devices in schools around the world. Granted, Apple has more, but that doesn’t make them better for teaching.

        Regarding apps: LearnPad is Android-based and both the Google Play store and the Apple App store have around 1 million apps available at time of writing. A few of them are actually good ;-)

      • The issue that keeps me from diving into Android is that they still have so far to go in directly support education. If you compare the education areas of both stores, there’s not much comparison. Apple have so many more apps directly targeting Education that they divide them into Classroom management apps and other teacher concerns as well as subjects. But on-the-other-hand I am interested in things like : http://www.amarino-toolkit.net

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  8. My school runs a 1:1 iPad system in year 7-8 (9 in 2014). We are having difficulty getting our AppleTV’s up and running. They work when students aren’t using their iPads, when students are using them I can’t see the Airplay button. Any ideas?

    • Is the Apple TV cabled in with Ethernet or on a wireless connection that it shares with the iPads? It looks like you have a bandwidth problem. The power of the wireless access point can also cause connection issues.

  9. I have connected my apple TV by connecting an airport express to my cabled network. I can then simply connect the apple TV to this network and also the iPads. The iPads can access the internet and still require student username sign in. The Apple TV just connects to the local network generated by the Airport Express and mirroring works a treat, with no bandwidth issues, even though it can’t access the internet.

    • That’s one idea that many use, but some school network are heavily managed with ports being specifically allocated to devices and controls in place. Saying that, it will work for many. Thanks for the comment.

  10. I’m hoping someone can help me out, my schools tech people finally got my Apple TV running but can’t get my iPad to mirror it. Why is this? They are saying it has something to do with our infrastructure…. I have a wireless hub in my room and a projector with HDMI with the Apple TV plugged in. Any suggestions?

    • It’s the speed of your schools wiring. They need to upgrade the cabling to 1Gbit for Apple TV to properly on on a shared network. One way around it is to setup a network just in your room and use the Apple TV’s setup menu to join your own network, normally running from your laptop or PC. It’s not pretty but it’s a work-around. Having your own apple airport would also help. It’ shorthand the effort though. Another solution is http://www.airsquirrels.com/reflector/brining on your laptop to turn it into an Apple TV. This might help until the cabling is upgraded.

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  12. When mirroring my ipad to the projector in class it always goes back to the apple tv home screen within a few minutes. So I’ll be able to show what’s on my ipad for 2mins or so and then it’s back to the home screen. How do I get that to stop?

    • Strange. The only thing I can think of is the screensaver on the Apple TV or it’s loosing connection due to low bit rate on your network. Even with the Apple TV cabled into the network it’s worth checking you have a Gigabit cable system. Ask the techies.

      • Mine is doing the same thing. The techies don’t know what it is either! Also, is there a way to change the homescreen so that the students aren’t seeing the movie posters? Its not appropriate for my class. It is not customizable with a appletv3 – unlike the youtube you included in July – that’s only for 2nd gens.

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