Why Teachers Are Trying Out Apple TV In The Classroom

apple tv in the classroom

Apple TV is a little black box that can work miracles in a classroom. Built largely for entertaining purposes by Apple, Apple TV is used increasingly in the classroom by educators who primarily want to take advantage of the mirroring capabilities of the device. For those who are not familiar with the term “mirroring”, simply put, a key feature in Apple devices called “AirPlay” can literally mirror or project your device’s screen (iPod/iPad/iPhone), via an LCD projector that is connected to the Apple TV. All you need aside from an Apple TV is an iPad 2 or newer, an LCD projector, and then, the sky is the limit.

iBooks & Reading

apple tvProviding visual access to iBooks for all students with just one iPad in the classroom is, by itself, a reason for a teacher to buy an Apple TV. Apple has done an incredible job in offering digitized versions of children’s books. The size of its catalog is impressive and it is growing constantly.

Cost-conscious teachers may kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. For instance, they may opt to buy the digital books, as these books cost only a fraction of the printed version, and be rewarded with the bonus of implementing read aloud lessons in an intuitive way. With Apple TV the teacher is no longer “tied up” in front of the document viewer. The teacher can navigate between pages with a swipe of his/her finger, and while using the digital book, he/she can, for instance, address a behavior problem using proximity to students.

More importantly, the teacher can move around the classroom and share the iPad and the read aloud experience with the students by having students add their own comments on the pages of the book, and even handing the iPad to a student while the teacher creates a visual organizer of the story. All of this, while the whole class has constant visual access to the book.

In addition, iBooks offers a great deal of options such as highlighting, adding post it notes, searching definitions of words, as well as inserting information to pictures and captions. All these add a touch of augmented reality to the books, thus, transforming a simple read aloud activity into a truly fascinating and highly engaging experience.

Math and Science Apps

apple tv handReading is not the only subject that can benefit from an Apple TV in the classroom. Due to the fact that I am a math and science teacher, I am quite familiar with several math and science apps, many of which I use in my classroom on a daily basis. There are many free or paid apps that support STEM Education and are aligned with the Common Core Standards. All of these apps are capable of offering students a unique learning experience, quite distinct from the experiences a book or a website can offer. A teacher can choose to build a whole lesson based solely on one app. Alternately, he/she can choose to use an app to create a mini lesson, or simply use an app as a means to complement a lesson and add a touch of pizzazz.

In either case, an Apple TV can be used to ensure visual access to the material by all learners at all times. Even more importantly, an Apple TV paired with an iPad offers an opportunity for the students to interact with the lesson collectively, and share these interactions in real time with each other. The implications of this can be staggering. In a culture where team effort is highly encouraged, and simultaneous stimulus input by multiple users is promoted by all the major productivity platforms, MS Office, Google Drive, Dropbox, to name a few, Apple TV offers students the ability to learn to be successful in this model from a very young age, thus, arming them with the best experiences and skills before they enter the work force.

Gradually, more and more educators realize that the Apple TV provides spaces for a teacher to create highly engaging lessons that captivate the students’ attention. In doing so, Apple TV fosters collaborative learning, sponsors creativity, and cultivates a set of skills and talents that can help young learners become successful. If the rumor that support for iBooks may be coming to Apple TV is true, the little black box will cement its place in the classroom, as the options for educators at all levels who choose to use Apple TV in the classroom will be increased exponentially. However, regardless if this will ever happen, Apple TV is something worth using in the classroom for its innovative pedagogical potential.

What do you think? How do/would you use the Apple TV in your classroom to teach reading, math, and science?

Nikolaos Chatzopoulos currently teaches 4th grade Math and Science at Plato Academy, in Clearwater, Florida. He is a technology enthusiast, and enjoys discovering ways to incorporate technology in the classroom in meaningful ways, in order to provide opportunities for authentic learning experiences. Nikolaos has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education, and he has been teaching elementary Math and Science since 2005.

Nikolaos can be reached at chatzopoulosn@platoacademy.net


  1. Michael Del Muro

    April 7, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I use an iPad in the classroom and find it very effective…
    1. Teaching high school juniors is tough because they ALWAYS forget their books, so I project whatever we might be reading in class.
    2. I use my iPad as a digital whiteboard.
    3. When doing SAT practice, I can project and underline and write on worksheets like teachers used to do with overhead projectors.
    4. I am able to walk with my Keynote presentation instead of having to linger around the desk when lecturing.

    • Nikolaos Chatzopoulos

      April 8, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      Hello Michelle, yes, you are correct. Using the iPad as an interactive whiteboard is a great idea. Especially when you involve the students in the process and have them use your iPad, or theirs, which provides them with the opportunity to shape the final product of whatever it is you are working on. That helps them take ownership, and become agents of their own learning.

  2. jennifer dobson

    April 8, 2013 at 5:38 am

    We have been using app tv for a while now, but are now trying airserver,
    you pay a small amount for a subscription (there’s also a 7 day free trial), and it’s cheaper and more stable than app tv. (needs minimum Windows 7).

  3. Nick

    April 8, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Love Apple TV. As a PE teacher it has made the ability for me to use my iPad (plus student iPads) in the Gym easy and more effective. This video shows how I set it up and some of the things I use it for. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8FPK6x_IMqM

  4. Richard

    April 9, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    I’ve been using Apple Tv with my ESL classes here in South Korea for about a year now. At first it was used as a white board using apps like educreations and explain everything. I also use it for modelling writing, sharing work, and demonstrating new classroom activities. The students who use iPads in some of my classes love to showcase their work on the big screen.

  5. Alluc

    April 11, 2013 at 2:25 am

    This is an interesting article. Thanks for sharing this Nikolaos.

  6. Josh Luukkonen

    April 13, 2013 at 12:45 am

    I use my iPad all the time in class, but next year am hopefully getting an Apple TV for a classroom. Can’t wait to try it out. I hard-wire my iPad to a projector now as I need to, and it’s a pain. Especially since I change classrooms…that’s a lot of plugging in and out every day. Yuck. So hopefully I’ll be in one classroom next year and I can use the ATV!