Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Reflections on Reflection

I know I'm going against the stream here, but I have fallen out of love with the Reflection App.  The problem is that it just has too many hiccups, especially when compared to Apple TV.

My middle school choir room has a new Apple TV set up.  I have not a single issue with it in a month of use.  When I am working in my elementary school's computer lab, I plug in my personal Apple TV.  I never have a problem.  But in my elementary classroom - the room where I spent about 75% of my time, I do not have an HDMI projector.  So thus far, I have been using Reflection in this classroom.  I have many problems.

First, Airplay through Reflection cannot be launched as quickly as with Apple TV.  In my situation, I need to first set up an ad hoc network, have the iPad connect to that network, launch Reflection on the laptop, and then set Airplay to mirror to the laptop.  Now you have a window that I usually move from my laptop screen to the Smartboard (I choose not to mirror my laptop so I can have two monitors at once), maximize the Reflection window, and hope that I don't accidentally turn the iPad to portrait orientation because then the window reverts back to a smaller size.  I can do this all pretty fast, but do you know what kids will start to do by this time?

To make matters more difficult, you can get through all of these steps and it freezes or doesn't work.  Some apps crash Reflection completely (I have a recorder playing app that does this).  Displaying photos last week caused Reflection to freeze up many times, leading to several force-quits.  If I did not have the photo on the iPad before launching AirPlay, it would freeze.

I realize there is a very good possibility that the problem is with my ad hoc network, or some other issue.  But the fact remains - Apple TV never gives me a problem (I do not need to create an ad hoc network for Apple TV).  As Steve Jobs would say "It just works".  Apple TV does not require me to change networks mid-class, freeze, or revert to a smaller size just because I change orientations.

So, I have ordered the Kanex ATV-Pro Apple TV adapter for my elementary classroom so I can hook up my Apple TV to a VGA projector.  When it arrives, I'll let you know how it works.

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