I’d like to share a ticket with you about AirPlay (showing an iPad’s screen without cables) in our lecture theatres

I just acquired an iPad, and now realise that this would be a very powerful tool for my presentations in my [removed] lectures. My large first-year undergrad class is entirely based on powerpoint slides, as is my presentation to parents of prospective students. The problem is that using it requires communication with the lecture-hall computer or projector.

My question is whether provision has been made in the lecture halls for this sort of thing? A crude way to do it is to leave access for a PC to connect to an HDMI cable to the projector. That leaves one tethered however, which is deadly for lectures. An ideal solution would be to make a WiFi connection to the lecture-hall computer through AirServer or Apple TV. Then it is easy to do a presentation while walking in front of the podium, as well to carry out annotations on the fly, and to actually draw out by hand  graphs or calculations that need to be emphasised.

Hi [removed],

I’d like to let you know what is possible in our lecture theatres at the current time.

Firstly, you are correct that if there is a VGA socket in our 2 year+ old lecture theatres you can use an iPad VGA adapter. If you are in a newer lecture theatre you can use an HDMI adapter.

If you have neither of these things then a very low tech solution is put the iPad under the visualiser.

The Wifi route is a more difficult scenario due to Apple making everything ‘easy’. Currently iPads find AirPlay screens through Bonjour. This is a process where the iPad asks computers around it whether they are printers / airplay / etc. Our Wifi network is not within the same range as our computers, therefore when the iPad asks it gets the answer back ‘no, there isn’t anything here’. Unfortunately the network version of “local” doesn’t extend to the idea of things in the same room.

Now, if we ignore any issues of security or change management for the moment and set our Wifi up so that an iPad could find all the other computers then we end up in a situation where your iPad can (and probably will automatically) connect itself up to one of 150 different teaching spaces. Not only that, but we couldn’t control who is connecting to what. If you ever wondered what sordid things might be viewed on a tablet somewhere within our network, imagine what it would look like auto-appearing fullscreen over your PowerPoint presentation!

So the short answer is
Tethered yes, wifi no, wifi in the future is possible but dangerous.

As is typical, there are a vast array of Android applications that let you screen share by typing in the address of the computer you wish to connect to. These applications all generally work fine, but that doesn’t help you, except to point toward the more flexible and open nature of Android. iPads in this case are more suitable for the home entertainment environment.