Friday, February 8, 2013

Airserver Part II

AirServer PictureAirserver is a great way to display your iPad through your projector. If you missed my earlier post about this software, visit the post here. Because we've had some time with it now, we are learning some valuable lessons about how to deploy it more efficiently. Maybe you can learn from what we've seen. 

Airserver has been spreading like wildfire through Columbia Public Schools over the last month. Teachers have seen just what a valuable tool it is. However, that has caused a few growing pains. So here are a few tips to make your Airserver experience less stressful.

  • Purchase the commercial license - It's a bit more expensive, $3.99 per computer. But in a school setting, it's much easier to manage. Here's the problem we've seen. Teachers have jumped on the opportunity to buy the software. They purchase a personal license and then install it on multiple computers. But like all districts, computers get swapped out, moved, reimaged. So the teacher doesn't retract that license before the computer gets removed and the license goes with it. And it's hard to know where each of those licenses are unless you keep a detailed spreadsheet. If you go commercial, Airserver gives you one unique activation code that you can use multiple times. That makes it much easier to manage. 
  • Keep a detailed spreadsheet - If you went commercial, it's simple. Keep a record of which computers have the software. If you went personal, you need to record which license went on which computer. You might also want to mark the computers with a sticker so you can remember to pull the license when it's time for that computer or teacher to move on. 
  • Retract your activation code to reuse it - We've been successful through two ways. First, you can uninstall Airserver, making the activation code ready to use on your next computer. Or you can run this script:  "%ProgramFiles(x86)%\AirServer\AirServer\AirServerConsole" to keep the software on the computer, but use the activation code elsewhere. If you are running a 32 bit computer, then remove the (x86).
  • Use a passcode - There are great activities for mirroring more than one iPad on your screen. Students can show their responses all at the same time. But unless you are using it specifically for that type of activity, then you should probably put a password on so others can't "accidentally" hijack your computer.
  • Shutdown Airserver when you aren't using it - This issue has popped up because of the heavier usage. Some teachers have said that other iPads have appeared on their screen. Because it uses Bonjour, it's a good idea to shut it down when you aren't using it to eliminate unnecessary chatter on your wireless network. 
Hopefully those tips can help you out in your deployment. It's a wonderful tool which I would argue is essential to teaching effectively with the iPad. Let me know if you have any questions or tips on how you are using it. 

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