It’s that time of year again where teachers become interior designers, and structural and electrical engineers as we attempt to move furniture, create the makerspace I learned about this summer, remove some desks to allow flexible seating, and then… there is the basket of cords! (insert suspenseful sound byte here)
As I begin planning out and setting up my classroom I really try to focus my attention on where my teaching technology will be. I despise having a huge pile of electrical cords, especially in the center of the room where we do the most collaborating while an image, video, or simulation is projected onto the board and being manipulated by my students. I also despised the fact that in order to integrate my favorite tech tools, I was prisoner of my workstation (in my case, the teacher desk) because my device had to be connected with the document camera and projector. Well I say, “NO MORE”!
A very special tech-savvy friend introduced me to Actiontec’s ScreenBeam and my teaching style changed forever. Let me begin by introducing you to my classroom set up.
This is a common scene where the pieces of technology must be intricately connected close enough to the wall to plug in, a large bulky table or cart houses the laptop or desktop in order to make learning more interactive for students. The biggest problem is that I could not move about the room as I wished and I began to notice an increase of off task behaviors.
How to Live an Untethered Life
When I was introduced to Actiontec’s ScreenBeam, I did not realize how this small piece of equipment would change my teaching. This little brown box was a game changer.
Inside was a variety of cords and attachments, however, I really only ended up using the ScreenBeam, it’s powerplug, and an HDMI to VGA adapter. I powered on the ScreenBeam, connected the document camera VGA cord to the VGA end of the white adapter, and plugged the HDMI end of the white adapter to the ScreenBeam.
Actiontec uses a Miracast connection, so the final step is to connect the laptop to the ScreenBeam. If running Windows 10, click on the notifications icon in the bottom right of the screen– it will appear as a detected device. Next, click on “Actiontec” to connect and type in the passcode as needed.
Welcome to the Untethered Life!
Once my ScreenBeam was connected to my Surface Pro, I had the freedom and mobility to move about the room as I needed, students were able to utilize my device from the comfort of their seats to present their work, or “ink” write on my device to justify their responses. The flexibility and options are endless when you are not tied down to one central location while teaching. Not to mention, the proximity control made for a more efficient and comfortable learning environment for all of us!
Untethered Instructional Implications
An idea I have for this upcoming school year is to utilized the untethered life through physical computer science coding using SAM Labs. If you are unfamiliar with their amazing tools and instructional materials, please take a moment and visit their website, https://samlabs.com/, or subscribe to their engaging YouTube channel where they have 200+ videos for you to view as you begin your journey. I plan to integrate SAM Labs into my 5th grade math class as we investigate, disaggregate, and analyze the data collected. Coding incorporates so many critical thinking, computational thinking, and organizing their thoughts into algorithms/step-by-steps.
Now imagine, as your students are working on a SAM Labs coding project, you’re walking around with your laptop—capturing live pictures or videos of students in action. With the Actiontec ScreenBeam 750 or ScreenBeam 960 receiver, you’re wirelessly sharing the live pictures and videos on the projector screen. This is ground breaking! Students are now able to see, reflect, compliment, and assess each other’s coding projects, right from their desk, without having to huddle around a tiny computer anymore.
Finally, my second idea for the new school year is to eliminate my document camera. With the built-in camera on my Surface Pro and the Actiontec ScreenBeam receiver, I have a mobile document camera. As I’m roaming around the classroom, I simply snap a picture of student work, online resources, or manipulatives. Then I share the picture on the projector screen and digitally ink on the picture to help my students understand concepts better. I am going to incorporate a STEM challenge where students can use materials in my makerspace to create a working “stand” for my laptop to rest on as we manipulate the documents being displayed.
Have more idea? Tweet me @AGlover4EDU, or follow this blog and leave a comment! 🙂
For more ideas on how you can transform the delivery of your instruction, please visit ScreenBeam Education Solutions, or reach out to any of the ScreenBeam Education Experts by visiting ScreenBeam Education Experts website.
Do you use Actiontec in your office or classroom space? Want to become a ScreenBeam Education Expert and share your experiences? Apply now! Click here to complete the brief application.