Streaming in the classroom: Introduction

I’m on a quest! I’m on a quest to find the best wireless streaming solution for a classroom. 2020 is nearly here and there are more than a few options out there and at a wide variety of price points.

Unfortunately, I cannot look at every possible Frankensteined configuration so I will be focusing on some of the big names that are already out there and their solutions. Right now here is what’s on our table to demo and review.

  • Mersive Solstice Airpod
  • Barco Clickshare
  • Airtame 2
  • Crestron AirMedia 2
  • Apple TV (latest generation)

To be fair we already have a deployment of Apple TV’s so I will probably start with that device first. My school just recently received a demo unit of the Mersive Airpod so that will most likely be the next post after that. Then we will just see.


Our teachers and staff use Apple laptops and the Apple TV’s are really good for that. However, the inexplicably drop the teacher connectinos, sometimes had serious lag with video and sometimes just don’t want to cooperate at all. We are looking for a device that will allow teachers to stream video and mirror their displays with very high reliability all the while maintaining high resolution and not dropping too many frames.

We (the IT team at my school) would also like to be able to manage them remotely from a single dashboard. This allows us to control when to update them, how to configure them and to download logs to analyze or send to the manufacturer for technical assistance.


Obviously to find a solution that works and that is reasonable in price that is relatively straight forward to use. Will our school find a solution? I am not so sure but it is certainly worth exploring and you, my friendly reader, are invited to join me on this journey.

Apple in the Classroom, What’s Next on the Chopping Block?


By: Tony DePrato | Follow me on Twitter @tdeprato

I just read the article, Apple planning to make original TV shows and movies as hardware sales soften. I decided to try and remember what I used to be able to buy for the school/classroom from Apple. Here is my list:

  1. Laptops designed for children
  2. Powerful and Extensible Workstations
  3. Servers with easy to use Management Tools, Media Streaming, and Podcasting
  4. Easy to obtain full sized keyboards







My concern is real. I am an Apple and Lenovo owner. My Lenovo experience has only improved in the last 6-7 years, while my Apple experience has gotten worse. Am I the only one who agrees that iPhones and watches do not equal creation and learning?

I am hoping for a turn around. Sales of hardware are down. Schools tend to buy in massive quantities. #SalesTiptoApple

Schools also like to by integrated packages of computers, devices, accessories, support, and software. #SalesTiptoApple




A Recent Memo On ICT/Tech Classroom Design

MEMO: ICT Classroom Design
Author: Tony DePrato
Date: November 18, 2012

After reviewing a diagram sent to THE_SCHOOL on November 14, 2012 I had some serious concerns about the lack of review of the current ICT classroom design.

This design is the same design that was implemented at THE_SCHOOL between 2003-2005. In most of our rooms we have already replaced this due to its lack of modularity and overall usefulness in a collaborative environment. We do not wish to revert to a plan that is rigid and requires multiple sub-contractors to maintain.

THE_SCHOOL is pursuing a new design for ICT labs and classrooms that reflects a modular, cost-effective, low power consumption, and collaborative approach. These spaces are designed for BYOD initiatives and school provided wireless devices.

We do not wish to re-invest in technology that cannot be wireless, therefore the room and the furniture in the room need to reflect this policy.

Please note that the chairs, tables, and even whiteboard are easy to reconfigure.
The goal is to allow teachers and students to manipulate their space, with as few cables present as possible.

Using low power consumption wifi powered devices means power charging and work areas can be limited to certain areas against a single wall. Only 10 charging ports need to be available to support 30 BYOD or mobile device students.  We have been using this ratio for more than 2 years at THE_SCHOOL.

In addition the room should be planned with multiple small LCD based displays that can be used for students to present their work. A central large presentation area dedicated only to the teacher is not the mark of a collaborative learning environment.

Dr. Gary Stager, Co-Architect for the State of Maine 1-to-1 program has this to say about interactive boards, “They reinforce the dominance of the front of the room and teacher supremacy. At a time of enormous educational upheaval, technological change, and an increasing gulf between adults and children, it is a bad idea to purchase technology that facilitates the delivery of information and increases the physical distance between teacher and learner.”

It is not that the boards are bad, just that the concept of FRONT DOMINANCE is not good for a collaborative environment.

Even if desktops are use for the ICT classroom, these desktops should be wifi enabled. Examples would be the follow:

* * *
Acer Aspire Z5610 Dell One Apple iMac

Wifi enabled desktops should also be on modular tables with modular power. At THE_SCHOOL we have been able to cheaply alter our tables to allow for modular use with modular power.

If cabling must be on the floor, trunking should be avoided. Instead a RAISED FLOOR, similar to that in a proper server room, would be best. In the image below there is a raised floor. Using this design cabling can easily be adjusted and expanded without physically altering the room.

The final issue with the design is that the WIFI placement should be planned for density and not coverage. Meaning at any time assume 20 students could be in a single corner. This would mean each room needs ceiling based WIFI, and depending on the shape of the room, 2-3 WIFI units would be needed if they are the same model currently being used at THE_SCHOOL.

Considering most schools are looking at or switching to BYOD and mobile computing, it is critical that our ergonomics and environment reinforce these initiatives. Using a design from the late 1990s is not the best or most cost effective way to achieve this. Designs such as the ones mentioned here are not new. They can be seen in schools all over the US, Asia, and Europe.

Thank you,

Tony DePrato

Additional References:

A criticism of Interactive Whiteboards:

State of Maine :

All In One Desktop Reviews:

Modular Furniture by Hon:

Edmodo Challenger #1 – Edu 2.0


The first site to take on the mighty Edmodo is Edu 2.0. To avoid confusion, there is an (which is what is being reviewed and discussed today) and an (which is a paid site targeting businesses). They are both from the same creator (Graham Glass) and look similar, so if you accidentally stumble upon the other site take a quick peak at the address bar. To get all the details.

So, does Edu 2.0 have what it takes to strip Edmodo of the belt? Have they been taking their vitamins? Are they ready to rumbbbbble? Are they . . . OK this is getting ridiculous. Here’s the answer: no. Edmodo is still better than Edu 2.0 and to get all the details on how I came to this conclusion read on past the break. As always, if you agree, disagree leave a comment. A challenge isn’t a challenge without a little discussing.

Continue reading “Edmodo Challenger #1 – Edu 2.0”

Time to change course

New blog strategy ahead


Blogs are pretty damn useful. Some teachers run their class through it, posting homework and setting up a drop box of sorts so students can turn their homework in. Others use it to organize special events, and some use it as a bulletin board to communicate what is happening in the class. The bottom line is blogs are flexible and can be used to help accomplish many, many goals. This year, I’ve started using a blog and it’s been good. There have been some ups and downs and now I have realized that there must also be some changes in order for the blog to continue to be effective in my class. Read on past the break to see how I am use my blog and what I’m going to change about it.

Oh and if you’re thinking of making a blog and want a crash course you can read my how-to’s for, Blogger, and Posterous.

Continue reading “Time to change course”