Displaying iPad Screen Using a Classroom Projector

If you’re using iPads in your classroom, at some point you’ll want to be able to display your iPad screen to the entire classroom. Fortunately, a couple methods exist that allow teachers to do just that.

Display iPad screen through your classroom projector.

Method One

The most common method (although not the one I recommend for Mac users) is to mirror your iPad’s display using an Apple TV device that is connected to your classroom projector via a HDMI cable. Mirroring (showing what is on your iPad display) is done using an iPad feature called AirPlay introduced with the iPad 2. Unfortunately, you cannot mirror your iPad display using the original iPad. You need an iPad 2 or the new iPad and you need to be running the latest operating system for the iPad.

AirPlay is a fantastic feature of the iPad (and iPhone) that lets you stream your iPad data to an Apple TV and then have the output go from the Apple TV to an HDMI compatible device like your TV set. The original AirPlay only allowed you to stream video and audio; however, with the introduction of iOS 5, it now allows users to stream their iPad display to their Apple TV allowing them to see their iPad display on their TV set.

To utilize this method of projecting your iPad display, you’ll need to purchase an Apple TV device and an HDMI cable. The HDMI cable needs to be long enough to go from the Apple TV to the projector. The good news is that you can place your Apple TV device near your projector so the cable doesn’t need to be long. Your projector must also accept HDMI input. If you have an older model projector that does not support HDMI, you will need to purchase an additional piece of hardware to convert your HDMI signal to something that is compatible with your projector. An Apple TV device retails for $99 and a HDMI cable costs approximately $20. If you need to convert your HDMI signal, you can purchase a HDMI to VGA cable for under $10 but you won’t be able to hear the iPad audio. The only other requirement for this configuration is having a wireless network to send the signal from your iPad to your Apple TV.

Method One – Apple TV

Method Two

The second method is actually a lot easier to implement, provides you with more options for how your iPad’s display is projected, and it’s also a lot less expensive. This method uses a software program called Reflection that is now available for the PC as well as a Mac. Reflection is a relatively new software program that simulates an Apple TV device. When Reflection is running on your computer, your iPad’s AirPlay will detect your computer and give you the option of mirroring your iPad’s display on your computer screen.  Since you can see your iPad’s display on your computer, all you need to do is connect your computer to a projector and voila, your iPad’s display is projected to the entire classroom.

To utilize this method on a Mac, you will need to purchase the Reflection software program for the Mac and you’ll also need a Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter so you can connect your Mac to your projector. The Mini DisplayPort is a standard port on the Mac. One end of the adapter fits into your Mac’s Mini DisplayPort and the other end connects to a standard VGA cable that is then plugged into your projector. The Reflection software is currently priced at $14.99 and the Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter retails for $29. To save money, you can purchase a 3rd party adapter online for under $10. Once again, the only other requirement is that you have a wireless network so your iPad can talk to your Mac. This is the same requirement for Method One using the Apple TV.

Method Two – Mac running Reflection app


The Reflection app allows you to adjust the appearance of your iPad’s display on your Mac’s computer screen. For example, you can change the position, size, and orientation of your iPad display. You can also set the display to full screen and you can even change the display so it shows an iPad frame around the display making it appear that you’re looking at an actual iPad. This would be helpful for younger students to make the connection between the iPad and the projected image.

Summary of Requirements

Summary of requirements for displaying iPad screen through your classroom projector.


If you want to project your iPad’s display and you do not have a wireless network in your classroom, please see Melissa’s comment in the comment section. Thanks for “sharing” Melissa!


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Student Response on the iPad


Add Student Response Systems to the growing list of why having iPads in the classroom is so important.

I am a huge proponent of Student Response Systems (SRS)  in the classroom. They allow teachers to quickly assess student understanding during a lesson. This in turn allows them to make adjustments to the lesson based on how well the students understand the material. SRS have other benefits as well including an increase in engagement, an increase in participation, and the ability to provide instant feedback on an individual level. It’s not surprising that the research on the use of SRS is overwhelming favorable. (If you’re interested in more information about how Student Response Systems in the classroom, I’ve added a number of links at the bottom of this post.)

The major players in the SRS market are also getting in on the act and the options available for teachers and schools will surely grow. Currently, few options exist so I’m highlighting one option, called Socrative, that is currently “free” to use. Hopefully, this will allow teachers to get a better understanding of how a SRS can help increase learning in the classroom.

Click image to enlarge

Socrative Student Response System

To use the Socrative SRS, only the teacher needs to create an account. The only thing students need to do is start the Socrative Student Edition app on their iPad and enter the Room # provided to them by the teacher. When the app is running, teachers have two ways they can use the assessment tool; they can either start a Quiz that has already been created, or they can use a Single Question Activity to poll the entire class about a verbal question or a question written on the whiteboard.

Single Question Assessment

Click image to enlarge

When using the Single Question polling feature, teachers choose between a multiple-choice, true-or-false, or short-answer question. The iPad does not show the question but it will allow the students to enter their answers (i.e. – “B” for a multiple-choice question) and the results are displays in real-time on the teacher’s display. For a short-answer poll, students can see the answers on the teacher’s computer (which can be projected onto a whiteboard) and they also have the ability to vote on which answer is the best. The polling feature does not display any indication about how a specific student answered; answers are completely anonymous.

Quiz Based Assessment

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The Quiz feature lets teachers run a predefined quiz that is created by the teacher or shared by another teacher. When using the Quiz feature, students need to enter their name prior to starting the quiz. Teachers can control whether students go through the quiz at their own pace, whether the results are shown immediately, and whether the students get immediate feedback on their answer. Teachers can also use a quiz to play a Space Race game that breaks the class into teams and shows the progress of each team by moving a rocket across the screen.

Analyzing Data

The Quiz feature also allows teachers to download (or email) reports that display how each student did on a quiz. It shows how each student answered and it shows the total number of correct answers. This feature alone can take hours off a teacher’s grading and analytical assessment time.”Socrative saves me 80 minutes per week in grading time.”

The Time Is Now

I can’t think of any good reason for a teacher in an iPad classroom not to use the Socrative Student Response System if they currently don’t have access to another SRS. First of all, it’s free. While I’m sure they will begin charging a fee for a Teacher account, hopefully they will keep it affordable to teachers who want to use the basic features of the system. Other reasons to use a SRS include the immediate increase in student engagement, the ability to immediately assess understanding, the ability to use assessment data to make adjustments during the class period, and the ability to make it easy for all students to contribute during the class period.

Additional Reviews of Socrative

Socrative.com – A review

Socrative Space Race – A Hit in Three Countries

Socrative – class quizzes and polling via any device

Student Response Systems

Student Response Systems: Interactivity in a Classroom Environment

Based on the experimentation and findings described in this paper, interactive
classrooms which use student response capabilities have been shown to improve the learning process, and this concept should be explored further as we look for technology’s role in the “classroom of the future” for both industrial and public education. Dr. Harold Horowitz, Program Director of Educational Technology at IBM

Classroom Response Systems (“Clickers”)

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Please share this information with both teachers and administrators.



Turn Your iPad Into a Document Camera

Turning your iPad into a Document Camera is such a great use of the iPad in the classroom. Best of all, building your document camera is really quite simple and very inexpensive.

iPad as a document camera


Here’s what you’ll need:

1. iPad 2 or higher (iPad must have rear camera)

2. iPad VGA connector – This plugs into your iPad port and allows you to attach it to a VGA-equipped TV, monitor, or external projector for video mirroring. Basically, this allows you to output your iPad display to a TV or projector. You can find these on eBay or online stores for around $20.

3. iPad mount – All you need now is something to mount your iPad on to so you can place documents underneath the iPad’s camera and view them using an overhead projector. The key thing here is that you may need to adjust the height of the mounted iPad. The image above shows what’s called a ring stand. It’s using a clamp that is then attached to something that can support the iPad. You may just want to buy a circle support big enough to support the iPad. I checked online and you can get a new one with a circle ring support for around $20.

Ring stand with circle ring


Once you have everything, all you need to do is, (1) attach the iPad to the projector using the VGA connector, (2) adjust the height of the circle ring and place your iPad on the circle ring support with the back camera facing the table and the iPad screen display facing up, and (3) turn on your iPad camera and place your document underneath the camera.

Here’s a video that demonstrates all the steps. This demonstration shows using a clamp and not a circle ring on your ring stand.

That’s about it. When you turn on the camera, the camera’s image will be displayed on the overhead projector. Make sure you have enough light to see your documents clearly and don’t be afraid to adjust the height of the circle support for optimum viewing. When using the iPad as a document camera, you can zoom in and of course take a snapshot of of what you’re viewing.

A big thanks to Sam Gliksman for highlighting this idea on his iPads in Education Ning.

Please share this idea with your school’s tech people. They should be able to figure out a way to support the iPad or they can probably find a ring stand sitting in a Science closet somewhere.

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Teaching With iPads is a free site for teachers who are using iPads in the classroom or for anyone interested in how an iPad can help improve learning in the classroom.