Throughout the hustle and bustle of a normal day in 6th grade, it's easy to overlook the little things. I've been working hard over the past nine years of teaching to acquire technology in my classroom. I've written several grants to obtain technology for my classroom and become a technology leader in my parish (that's our version of a county for our non Louisiana friends). At the beginning of this year I began using Apple TV in my classroom. This little box allows me to mirror an iPad to my board. I have an older projector and had to use a converter box to run the Apple TV . It's been great! Here's my converter box.
The sound doesn't work as well as I would like it,but I made do with what I had. I could have invested in speakers that would have aided in the sound control, but I really didn't worry too much about it. Although I loved this little piece of technology, I had problems with apps locking up and causing me to close and reopen the app I was using. It was very frustrating, but I understood that I was converting from HDMI to VGA and worked with the kinks.
I decided around the Christmas holiday that I wanted to purchase a flat screen television for my classroom. It was time to tighten up my presentations. With a converter box, there was a continuous switch of my VGA cable to and from the converter box in order to project my work station or mirror my iPad. I wanted to be able to use my Promethean board and be able to have Class Dojo running for my students at the same time. You just can't do that with a converter box. So I began the long process of television shopping around the holiday season trying to find the best deal. I finally decided on a 46 " Hitachi television after about 2 1/2 months of looking.
The day the television was delivered to my classroom, you would have thought it was Christmas! My students were so very excited to see the television. Ironically enough the previous television in my classroom was antiquated and 1/3 of the screen was wonky. My room was moving into a new age and everyone was giddy. I had the custodians mount the television to the wall directly above my Promethean board. My homeroom class was filled with glee! All I heard was if they would be able to watch morning announcements on the new toy. I laughed at their innocence and explained that we could as soon as I ran the cable to it. After a day of set up, my homeroom was super excited to watch the announcements on it and argued about who would get to use the remote to turn it on.
I was able to further impress them when I had Class Dojo running on the television while we used the Promethean board. They all begged to see their monsters on the big screen. The giving and taking away of points became so much more important to them as they could see it happening live. This added such an amazing dimension to my classroom. My students are so good with the set up that when the iPad times out the students are quick to let me know so I can broadcast it back on the big screen.
And it just keep getting better! We are learning about equations this week and I wanted to show a BrainPop video to them. I checked their homework with them using my document camera and then quickly switched gears to display the BrainPop video from my iPad. You would have thought I performed techie magic when they realized they were able to watch BrainPop on the television. The Apple TV is such a small box, but its effects on a classroom can be vast! Hearing the students get excited about watching something as simple as a BrainPop video or even seeing their Dojo monsters on the big screen makes all the work to perfect this setup worth it.
As teachers sometimes we forget that it really is the little things that can impress our students. Paying attention to the small details can have HUGE impacts on our students. Nothing makes a teacher more proud than hearing the appreciation from their students about something that took a lot of work to achieve. I know for me hearing the excitement over such a small piece of technology made my television search well worth it!