I quickly realised that teaching children how to use apps on an iPad without being able to demonstrate them using a projector is quite challenging. After seeing the fabulous setup at the Essa Academy and reading inspirational blog posts like this, it was clear to me that I needed to use an Apple TV box to wirelessly mirror the iPad's display onto a classroom projector.
At home, Apple TV is very easy to setup - you simply: plug a power cable from it into the mains, plug a HDMI cable in to connect it to a TV screen, enter your WiFi password and away you go! It effortlessly allows you to display content from your iPad onto your large, widescreen TV (albeit in pillar boxed 4:3 due to the current iPad's screen resolution).
After doing a bit of research online, most people advised on setting up an iPad TV box at home first before taking it into school since it allegedly struggles with proxy servers when making the initial authorisation with the Apple site online. I did this and found that once in school, Apple TV just needed our school WiFi password entering before it would allow Air Play mirroring.
What few sites failed to make clear though was how difficult it was to connect the Apple TV box with a projector since the first only works with a HDMI cable and the second only works with a VGA cable. Buying a standard male HDMI - male VGA cable unfortunately didn't work and even so, it wouldn't have enabled sound to have be outputted.
After browsing in lots of electrical shops and websites, I eventually discovered the ATV Pro (Amazon link) which was specifically marketed for my situation and had lots of positive reviews. I instantly therefore put an order in and I'm very happy to report that it works a treat in school! One end literally has a male HDMI cable that plugs into the Apple TV box and the other end has sockets for plugging in the male-male VGA cable and audio cable (that I normally put into a laptop), which then plug into the projector's sockets on the classroom wall. It also doesn't need plugging in to the mains, which is a nice bonus.
The only issue that I have with it is that it only shows the iPad display quite small on the 4:3 screen (as a pillar box inside a letter-boxed widescreen output), although it is still perfectly watchable and I might be able to correct this when I have time to explore my projector's settings.
The potential Apple TV has in a classroom environment is huge - being able to walk around a virtual environment like shown here would be great in literacy, playing a game and then doing maths work based on it like shown here would be great and playing video tutorials using apps like EduCreations would be great for reminding children about information on particular topics.
I look forward to using Apple TV in my lessons!
POST SCRIPT - I have now managed to project the 4:3 image so that it fills the full board. Using the Smart remote, I added these custom screen settings: