Using an iPad as a Visualiser


A few years back, I managed to acquire a visualiser through collecting Tesco vouchers. I was to trial using it in class with the intention of then purchasing them for other classes if worthwhile. It quickly transformed my teaching! Being able to demonstrate examples through shared writing, share children's work with the whole class, uplevel and edit children's work were just a few ways I used it to enhance my teaching. It led to the school buying a visualiser for each class teacher - each costing approximately around £200-£250 each at that time, this may now have changed.

About a year later, we made the decision to invest in iPads (costing around £250 each at the time, the same price or even cheaper of a visualiser,) and this made the visualisers almost redundant along with the interactive whiteboard. One of the many great features of the iPad is that it can easily become an interactive visualiser, but what sets it apart, is the fact it is mobile and therefore gives teachers the ability to have a visualiser in their hands wherever they are.

There are a few ways in which to connect your iPad to your projector for display - either through software on a computer or hardware connected directly to the projector. This fantastic poster from the inspirational @iPadWells demonstrates some -

Here are some ways to turn your iPad into a visualiser -

1 - Airserver (Approx £7) - For me, this is the best software to mirror your iPad screen. Available for both PC and Mac this works brilliantly well (most of the time!) The recent update now allows you to record your iPad screen too which provides teachers with a great way of creating tutorial videos. For the price it is fantastic and as long as your wifi is strong and allows access for it to work, I don't think there is anything better. Your PC will need Windows 7 or above for it to work but here is a short video demonstrating how it works -

2 - Apple TV (Approx £80) This is a piece of hardware that will connect directly into a projector/screen or TV. This again relies on Wifi to allow the Airplay option from your device. For me, the cost is what makes me lean toward Airserver. You could potentially put Air Server on every teacher's PC for the same price as an Apple TV. Both rely on your Wifi to handle the bandwidth and make sure it isn't unblocked.

3 - Reflector (Approx £8) This is another piece of software that is very similar to Air Server. I have tried both and prefer Air Server. It just seemed to be more reliable however reflector does work on Windows XP. Below is a YouTube video comparing Reflector and AirServer - 

4 - VGA Adapter (Approx £10 for iPad 2 or £35 for newer iPads) The VGA cables are very reliable and I always have one to hand as we can never always rely on Wifi! The problem, is that is becomes static, you can only display your iPad from the front of the class where you have attached the iPad to the whiteboard.

This infographic from the great Tony Vincent compares most ways to mirror your iPad to a display board (Click here for original post)

There are also apps that work the other way, allow you to control your PC computer from your iPad. Splashtop app or Hippo Remote are a couple I have used. Both require the software to be downloaded on the PC and also the app on your iPad. 

The next app to be released by Alan Peat Ltd will be the 'iVisualiser,' app. If you are able to mirror your iPad to your projector or screen this app will be extremely useful. Using the iPad camera within the app, it provides a range of useful tools to help teachers annotate and highlight directly onto the screen. The fact this can be done live or a freezeframe can be taken and children or teachers can annotate the screen and save it as a photo truly makes the iPad a great mobile visualiser. 

When you consider that a standard visualiser now costs near the same as an iPad mini I think there is no question what would be a more worthwhile purchase. If you are unsure as to what else an iPad can do, please read through this blog. 


  1. good information thank you for sharing

  2. what apps do people use to use the IPAD as a whiteboard?

  3. We use Explain Everything! It's amazing - you just stick Airserver on so you can see the iPad, add a new photo, the staff can see the video as you set up the shot and then when you take the photo it puts it full screen and you can annotate. EE automatically groups your annotations in with your image!

  4. We use Explain Everything. Mirror the iPad via airserver, add a new photo from camera in EE, it shows full screen so the viewers can see the video as you take the shot and then places it into EE full screen. All annotations are grouped with the photo so you can resize it all at the same time! VERY cool and very efficient!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Teaching Direct Speech Punctuation using the iPhone text messaging!

A Lovely Poem for Your Leavers Assembly

How Pixar can help develop writing!