Untethering Teachers - One District’s Search for the Next-Gen Device Part IV

Our device evaluation continues in our district with our committee trying several different form factors.  More devices are on their way for testing for both staff and I look forward to sharing the outcome in the next couple of months with the readers of this blog.  

One of the many criteria for testing is the ability to streamline the blended learning experience for the staff and students. Our staff enjoys creating their content so we continue to focus our hardware evaluations on teaching and learning to support synchronous and asynchronous blended experiences as well as face to face options. This posting will focus on the need to extend our use of wireless projection for the classroom to provide our users with the next generation collaboration technologies.

On our present device, the HP Folio13,  is a full Win7 Intel UltraBook for both students and staff.  This device is now 3 years old and it does not have the option of a touch interface or a digital pen/stylus so we have provided the staff with Wacom Bamboo tablets for creating their annotations on their content videos for blended environments.

In moving our blended learning initiative forward, teachers expressed a need for one device that would streamline this experience and in addition, the need to untether from the docking station in the front of their room and from the SmartBoard/Promethean board. This would enhance the experience of the users to collaborate with students by extending their desktop or screen mirroring.

Untethering a teacher from the front of the room  shifts the paradigm to the learner so teachers can work with students in small groups while sharing content.

So, what is a Wireless Digital Display?

A wireless display adapter creates an environment where users are able to use WiFi to send an HDMI  (using WiDi which means Wireless Display )signal to either a TV or a projector without cables or wires. Sometimes the term Miracast is used to describe this protocol where a peer to peer wireless screencasting is created. ScreenBeam, ScreenBeamPro  and ScreenBeamPro for Education,  which are ActionTec technologies,  have been selected by Microsoft Corp. as suggested wireless display adapters for  all Windows 8.1 devices. These devices enable teachers to collaborate with students while sharing content by providing wireless and untethered movement around the classroom.

Below are some considerations when researching wireless display options:

  • Evaluate wireless adapter devices for latency when displaying video wirelessly which vary from adapter to adapter and protocols
  • Look for a better user experience while using a secure wireless connection to an additional display without risk to the IT infrastructure and user data as solutions that are available for home use do not meet the security concerns of the school district. One of the added options for some adapters is the ability to centrally manage all of the adapters which  technology departments will find favorable.
  • The selection process of wireless display adapters need to include the expertise of the school district’s technology department to research and address the security protocols.

What options are your schools using to mirror or extend their desktops?

Have your teachers become untethered? Please share your experiences with your journey.


Marianthe Williams has been a district level administrator supporting teaching and learning with technology and professional learning for the past 15 years. Most recently, she has supported the River Dell Regional School District in the implementation of their one-to-one computing initiative which is about to enter its ninth year at the high school. In addition, she supports technology infusion into the middle school’s learner-centered environment. Williams created an elite team of technology turnkey teacher trainers within each discipline who provide ongoing, personalized options through face- to-face, on-demand and flipped professional learning opportunities to their colleagues. She is active in several state and local technology director associations and she currently serves on the technology committee for the New Jersey Association of School Administrators.

Comments

Peter Cottle replied on

Hi Marianthe,
I'm the Head of eLearning at an Anglican Girls School in Brisbane Australia and we introduced WiDi at the commencement of 2015. After a brief trial period we cut the cords metaphorically and literally, and have not looked back. Despite, some pain with our initial choice of WiDi adaptor (Lenovo) we have now installed the Actiontec Screenbeam Pro 2s and these are working beautifully. We believe we are one of the first schools in the country to move to a full WiDi environment.
Would love to hear more about your journey.

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