AirPlay 2 within the classroom: The advantages and pitfalls

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Earlier this 12 months, I looked on the thought of deploying AirPlay 2 utilizing within the classroom with out utilizing Apple. I’ve now deployed 30 AirPlay 2 TVs to my whole college, and I’ve lived to inform you the advantages, negatives, and pitfalls.

About Making The Grade: Each Saturday, Bradley Chambers publishes a brand new article about Apple in training. He has been managing Apple units in an training setting since 2009. By way of his expertise deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will spotlight methods through which Apple’s merchandise work at scale, tales from the trenches of IT administration, and methods Apple might enhance its merchandise for college students.

To be clear, it’s going to be a lot simpler to deploy Apple TVs linked to present TVs as it is possible for you to to handle them by means of your cell machine administration answer for controlling updates, putting in apps remotely, and so on. It’s additionally much more costly. The present Apple TV prices almost 1 / 4 of what we paid for every of our TVs. We select a 55″ Samsung TV for a number of causes. The primary was that it supported AirPlay 2. The second purpose was that it was in inventory. Attributable to COVID–19 slowing manufacturing down worldwide, it was surprisingly exhausting to discover a retailer with 30 of the identical TVs in inventory that might be shipped in an affordable time-frame. We mounted the TVs to a rolling TV cart that has a spot to place a laptop computer.

Constructing the mounts took longer than configuring the TVs

Whereas I really like the rolling cart mannequin for our AirPlay 2 within the classroom answer, they’re gradual to assemble. When you have a amenities employees you can outsource that course of, it’s going to drastically velocity up your deployment time. It takes round a half-hour per cart in the event you don’t have a single interruption. The carts are working nicely, although. The TVs are sturdy, and the laptops match properly on the tray.

Configuration is a gradual course of

As a result of I used to be setting them up individually, I needed to repeat the identical course of time and again. I’d first boot up the TV, join it to our Wi-Fi, skip over as many steps as attainable to arrange a Samsung account, after which replace the software program on the TV. I’d then identify the TV the final identify of the instructor’s classroom utilizing it after which configure AirPlay 2. I set it up the place it requires a PIN code for every time a tool desires to AirPlay to it.

The longest a part of the method is eradicating all the built-in Samsung “channels.” When you don’t, the TV boots are straight as much as random channels enjoying Hell’s Kitchen, Baywatch, and the nationwide information. Whatever the grade, virtually none of them have been college acceptable. Samsung doesn’t make this course of straightforward, however it may be completed. It took me extra time than I’d have favored to seek out the precise formula to disable them. As soon as that was completed, the TV boots as much as a “no enter chosen” display till you provoke AirPlay.

Use HDMI cables as a backup when AirPlay fails

The one factor I communicated to our academics is that AirPlay isn’t excellent, and I can’t assure it’s going to work 100% of the time. There isn’t a lot troubleshooting completed on the TV apart from unplugging it from energy and rebooting it utterly. For that purpose, we included an HDMI to USB-C cable on every TV to make use of if AirPlay isn’t working nicely for no matter purpose.

Wrap up on AirPlay 2 within the classroom with out Apple TV

Since I used to be solely deploying 30 TVs, I might handle this answer. For big districts, it’s going to be a greater plan to connect Apple TVs to a generic monitor to help AirPlay within the classroom. Since Apple TVs will be managed while not having to set them up forward of time, they are going to be sooner to deploy.

General, our AirPlay 2 within the classroom answer has been working fairly nicely for us. It’s been one thing we’ve relied on closely as academics and college students have moved forwards and backwards between being on campus and digital.

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