Sunday, March 18, 2012

Reflector App for Mac and Windows and the iOS device

Reflector is a useful application that allows you to mirror your iPad 2 and newer or the iPhone 4s  or the iPad Mini, to your desktop using AirPlay mirroring on either a Mac or a Windows machine. The application is installed on your desktop or laptop. The positive implications for the education field are huge!!!

First, as one that often creates screencasts to help people learn a process, the ability to mirror my iPad screen onto my desktop, and then use Camtasia, Jing, or Captivate to capture the process is huge for me! No more mirroring the iPad onto the TV set using AppleTV and using a video camera to record the process! 

Here is a quick, no audio screencast I recently made using Reflector and a screencasting tool. It is a quick overview of where the port settings are found in the email settings on the iPad. (Not quite sure about the resolution settings yet, but you get the idea.)

The more important bonus for the classroom setting is that the Mac computer (running Mac 10.6.8  or Windows XP or better) can be hooked up to the LCD projector or whiteboard projector the typical way (usually VGA or DVI). Using the Reflector app, the iPad can wirelessly project onto the computer screen and hence it is shown on the big screen!  (Now works on Windows, too!)

The work is all done on the iPad-- the desktop is just the "screen". The iPad can be handed around to students for demonstration of how to use an app, showcasing an online process, or much more! It even sends the audio from the iPad to the Mac, which then, of course, pumps the sound out via more powerful speakers than the iPad has!

For those of you that do not know how to find the AirPlay setting on your iOS device, you simply click on the home button twice, and swipe right once for the iPad and twice for the iPhone. For Reflector, you pick your computer and then turn mirroring on, as shown.

The AirPlay settings on the iPad

All the iOS devices you want to hook to Reflector via AirPlay have to be on the same WiFi network. I just tried the iPad and the iPhone 4s at the same time and they BOTH showed up on the computer screen as you see here:

Desktop with Reflector App using the iPad and the iPhone at the same time

I am not sure how many devices you can hook up at one time, but it seems, if you had a classroom set of iPads, each student could showcase his or her iPad when appropriate while not being tethered to the projector. And you could screencast those presentations on the desktop for assessment purposes, too!

The price of the Reflector Mac App is $14.99 for use on one machine, $49.99 for a 5-pack, and, if you are interested in purchasing more than 20 copies,  drop them an email at and they will work with you!

Update: The Reflector App now does screencasting beautifully! It brings in system audio from the iPad and records that, too. It does not record the iPad "frame". Just the screen area.

Update 2 (5/6/12): Another app has hit the market that also allows turns the computer into an AirPlay device to allow wireless streaming from the iPad or iPhone or iPod Touch. This application is call AirServer and it has different features. It can show up full-screen on the computer screen AND it works with both Windows and Macs. It is $14.99 for 5 licenses. It, however, does not do screencasting at this point.

Update (6/13/12): The Reflector app is now available for Windows!

Update (12/8/12): The app is now called Reflector instead of Reflections. I have changed the name and URL link in this blog.

If you have any more ideas for use of this app in the classroom.

Here is a great idea for classroom use from Dennis McElroy, an Associate Professor of Education at the Gleazer School of Education at Graceland University.

"If you have Garageband, it is ideal for adding audio, music, etc. to create a very professional PD video. Some people might have Screencast already which is another powerful tool for adding all the tracks. I particularly like to use it to be able to zoom into specific areas of the captured screen. Creates a beautiful product."