With Reflector, everything you do on your mobile device is wirelessly streamed to your computer in real time!
The following is an update to my original post, published last year.
Reflector is an Airplay receiver program for your computer that allows you to both mirror and record your iPad/iPhone screen. If the computer is connected to a projector, an entire class will be able to view on the screen exactly what is being done on the device in real time, with zero lag time. There are countless possibilities of what can be achieved with this program. With the enormous advance of iPads in the education sector, Reflector will be an incredible tool for all iPad educators.
Additional Benefits of Reflector
Recording the iPad screen: Multiple uses and purposes of recording what is shown on the iPad/iPhone screen. Go through your lessons and record them for distance education students, for example. Lessons would then be in video form and can be organized into iTunes U or other online formats.
Multiple device mirroring at the same time: This feature is excellent. Have more than one device be shared on the big screen. Projects can be compared and contrasted. Shy students do not have to stand in front of their peers, but instead Airplay their work from their seats.
Here is a short video showing multiple screens on PC:
Password protection: Easily set up a password for Reflector, give it out to only those that you want to have the ability to share on the projected screen. This way, not just anyone within the WiFi network can “hijack” your projector!
Full-screen mode: While the effect of having an iPad/iPhone frame is great for recording and showing off apps, use the feature of having the real estate of the entire projection screen so that everyone in the classroom can see. In settings, you can set mirroring to automatically launch in Full-screen once Airplay mirroring is enabled.
No-wires/no mess with your current projection set up: Even the Apple TV, which is in itself a great device, will require a couple more wires (power and hdmi cords). Reflector will do almost everything an Apple TV can, with NO additional wires/chords. Also, you will save money ($99USD vs. $12.99USD).
Do make sure you check out the official Reflector blog for more in-depth posts on features!
Here is an affordable way to mirror your iPad/iPhone in your classroom if you do not wish to purchase the $99 Apple TV. Reflector ($12.99, formerly known as Reflection) is a great Mac/PC app that is extremely easy to set up and use.
First, what is mirroring?
Mirroring your iPad/iPhone and even the latest 5th generation iPod touch means showing on a second screen everything that is shown. Once set up, your device that you control will be displayed. It is a very useful way to display your iPad to a large group of students/colleagues. Show your presentations, videos, and even games without a hitch.
The easiest way to mirror is to attach your iPad directly to your computer. This is the “fastest” and most solid way, and does not present any lag whatsoever. A wired connection is actually what I currently rely on, since I teach in over seven different classrooms at any given time of year. (Read my post here if you wish to learn how to set up a wired projection of your iPad.)
However, if you teach in your own classroom, and have a strong WiFi connection, I would recommend trying a wireless connection. This will give you the freedom to walk around and use different areas of the room, all while still being able to project exactly what you want to project.
Mirroring your iDevice in the classroom gives many advantages. For instance, if your computer is hooked up to a projector, you are able to wirelessly roam around the classroom with your device and anything that appears on it will also appear on the screen.
Teachers should mirror iPads in the following cases:
Apps can be projected and used for teaching the entire class;
Completely replacing the need for a document camera, a (small) object can be zoomed in on with the camera and the whole class can see it on the screen;
Students can use the iPads like a whiteboard using apps such as Skitch and Penultimate to share with the class;
Videos can quickly be chosen and showed to the whole class;
If there is a class set of iPads, individuals can take turns mirroring their progress on a project;
Reflector will give you the rid of the need to connect your projector with any cables. If you have a strong WiFi signal, this solution is ideal.
How it works:
Once you purchase the program, make sure all your devices are connected to the same WiFi. Then, all you need to do is:
Run Reflector on your computer.
Find the Airplay icon on your device (Double-tap the Home button and swipe right until you find it). In Settings, you can choose to add a password.
Select your computer and choose “Mirror”.
That’s it! It is that simple. Now you can mirror your device without much lag at all (again, depending on your WiFi signal).
A great feature of Reflector is that you can record what you do on your iDevice. App developers would have an easy time showcasing their apps. Reviewers like myself can do the same, and use other additional software to audio-record/narrate what is being shown. If you would like to just record the audio output of the iPad, go to “Device”, then “Recording”.
Audio is “pushed” to your computer as well, meaning if you play any videos or mp3s, the sound will come out of the computer speakers instead of out the iPad speakers. This will come in handy if you have external speakers attached to your computer.
Here is a quick video I made showing the mirroring of my iPad to my MacBook Pro. Notice the smaller iPad frame in the MacBook (left). When you project it, it will become full-screen:
If setting up an Apple TV is not a viable option for you in your classroom, Reflector will be a suitable replacement. At only $12.99 (They offer additional discounts for 5 or more licences, even more of a discount for 20+ licences), it is not only an affordable wireless solution for mirroring, but an obvious one, if you, as an educator, wish to wirelessly roam around the classroom and project what is on your iDevice.
Check out the official FAQs from the developers here.
Can you think of any creative uses for Reflector? Let us know in the comments!
*Note that only the more recent devices support Airplay. Check here for a list of compatible devices.
*Please note that REFLECTOR is NOT an iOS app, but rather a computer program. It is not available in the Mac App Store, but rather on the developer website.