Interactive White Boards and Apple TVs; what is – and isn’t – possible wirelessly.

If you’re lucky enough to have one of the wall mounted Epson PowerLite 575W projectors with an Apple TV connected to it, you’re probably used to enjoying the wireless connection you can make to it from your laptop. The ability to share what’s on your laptop from wherever you are in the classroom is proving to be very popular!

It’s important to understand, then, that that level of wireless freedom doesn’t extend to old SMART, or new Promethean Interactive White Boards, even when an Apple TV is attached.

IWBs require not just the video connection that the Apple TV allows for, but also a USB connection, which lets you control your computer from the IWB itself when you “draw” on it. Unfortunately, there’s currently no cost-effective wireless solution available to us for that USB connection, which means you’ll be back to plugging in a couple of cables again. This will require the connecting laptop or computer to be setup beside the Promethean ActivBoard.

If you ever want to just show your laptop’s screen on the projector without using the ActivBoard to interact with it, you’ll still be able to do that wirelessly using AirPlay and your Apple TV as before, but be prepared to move and connect your laptop with the two provided cables when you’re using the ActivBoard itself.

If you’re buying a whole new ActivBoard system along with an Epson PowerLite 575W, you’ll want to understand this limitation, so you can make an educated decision on whether to buy an Apple TV for it or not.

On the one hand, the Apple TV will work just as well as it always has in allowing teachers to project what’s on their laptop, wirelessly, from anywhere in the room. On the other hand, if the intention is that the teacher is usually going to be connecting their laptop, with cables, to the Promethean ActivBoard at the front of the class, then the wireless functionality of the Apple TV may not be warranted.

Alternately, if teaching from their desk is preferred, those teachers may not take full advantage of an IWB like the Promethean ActivBoard, and may only need a projector with an Apple TV.

I recommend that administrators discuss the strengths, limitations and costs of either system with their teachers before placing their orders, to best manage expectations and budgetary constraints. If I can help to answer any questions that may come up about these two options, do file a Tech Purchase Request and I’ll be happy to lend a hand.

Best,
Mike Beckett