Cloud of Learning

Broadcasting Smartphone Apps as a Teaching Tool

Personal electronic devices bring a multitude of opportunities to a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom. A recent challenge is trying to model desktop applications with a graphical user interface that looks very different from smartphone apps. The example below shows a visual screen capture of OneNote (desktop) compared to OneNote (smart phone app).

Combined screenshot

My Goal

The majority of students in my school favour the lighter, more affordable smartphones versus laptops. My goal is to discover how Miracast can be used to bridge the visual gap between smartphone apps and traditional desktop software.

Desktop version of OneNote

Projected image of OneNote Desktop

assignment shown in OneNote app

Image of OneNote via Smartphone App

assignment shown via Miracast

OneNote Smartphone app projected via Miracast

What is Miracast?

Miracast is a standard that allows a mobile device to discover and connect to other common devices like data projectors and televisions. The technology acts like a wireless HDMI cable and is not limited to one brand’s proprietary technology. The advantage is that it creates its own WIFI direct network and does not rely on an existing data network.

Examples Used in My Classroom

One tool currently being used is the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter.  A trusted companion in my daily teaching practice, this adapter can wirelessly connect to my Surface Pro 3 tablet.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Projecting the desktop via Miracast

Physical setup of the adapter using a data projector was straightforward using instructions provided by Microsoft. The less cluttered workspace is an added bonus of wireless technology.

Physical setup of Miracast

Configuring Miracast on a Windows system requires users to download the available free app from the Windows App store.

Windows Miracast setup

Miracast technology is widely supported by the majority of smartphone manufacturers on the market today. I took an opportunity to explore this option by configuring Miracast using my Blackberry Passport.

Miracast setup using Blackberry Passport

Overall Conclusions

I believe that Miracast can impact a significant number of BYOD users who can wirelessly share and compare active content. This is certainly an improvement over using proprietary mirroring technology that only supports a specific operating system and hardware platform.

I will be writing a future blog post on the possibility of using a high-speed LAN module that will convert a standard data projector into a “smart” data projector!

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Creative Commons License
This work by Andre Quaglia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.