One of the things we’re trying to figure out is if AppleTV would be a useful classroom tool with iPads (obviously for media distribution). So I was given one before the long weekend to take home and figure out. (If nothing else, the major impediment at this point to employing it at school is the need for HD Projectors, one of which we have but that is not permanently mounted in my room; any use of it would have to be on a bring it out, set it up basis.)

AppleTV is very cool. Much more so than I expected. And here’s the distinction / the key, I think. I couldn’t quite figure out how to use it or how it would be beneficial on the downstairs TV. That’s the big one, with the HD box, DVR, net ready, etc. I understood that I could access my iTunes library from AppleTV but that seemed somewhat redundant with Blockbuster, Netflix, Pandora, etc. all available through my TV.

So I hooked it up upstairs to the bedroom TV, a small HD TV (720, which is the minimum AppleTV requires), with no HD box and only a DVD player hooked up to it. AppleTV has revolutionized that TV. All of a sudden I can listen to my music upstairs (via my iTunes library through AppleTV), I can access our Netflix account, and I can access the movies on our iTunes library (the kids movies being the most relevant part of that). When this AppleTV goes back to school, I’ll probably end up getting one for myself.

So after all of this tinkering, what about the classroom? First and foremost, it can’t be used without permanent mounted HD projectors. At this point, really nothing is worth dragging something in or out and setting it up. And I’ve not heard the final word on whether the projectors in the news school are HD or not. I’d like to assume they are but I clearly can’t assume that. On the other hand, it is yet another feature / flexibility that is making tthe iPad look more and more like a viable one-to-one device (in this case more for teachers than students), i.e. using Airplay, a teacher can use the iPad as their media storage device and ‘send’ whatever they want to the projector. This seems to be a very useful possibility. And I hadn’t understood Airplay until I brought the AppleTV home, and I piloted it tonight. Very cool: ‘beamed’ a movie from my iPad to the TV via AppleTV. And certainly having access to a Netflix account is useful as well, especially if there is not a computer in every room.

So there’s a basic introduction to AppleTV, both in general and its potential uses for the classroom. I’m not sure if I can do this, but I’d like to see if I can send via Airplay media to multiple iPads. I’m thinking no but I’ll try it out tomorrow.