What is Chrome Casting?
According to Wikipedia, “Chromecast is a line of digital media players developed by Google. The devices, designed as small dongles, enable users with a mobile device or personal computer to play Internet-streamed audio-visual content on a high-definition television or home audio system through mobile and web apps that support the Google Cast technology. Alternatively, content can be mirrored from the Google Chrome web browser running on a personal computer, as well as from the screen of some Android devices.”
Chrome Casting has become synonymous with sending the screen of your device, up to the “big screen” by virtue of a Chrome Cast Dongle. It was developed by Google really so that you could send your Apps and Video from your Phone over to your TV. It was not intended to be used in the classroom. However, today, teachers want to be able to send their Student’s screens up to the Interactive LED or Whiteboard.
Apple also have a version of this which is called Airplay. You are able to Mirror your Phone or Ipad over to your big TV if you have an Apple TV connected. According to Wikipedia “AirPlay is a proprietary protocol stack/suite developed by Apple Inc. that allows wireless streaming between devices of audio, video, device screens, and photos, together with related metadata. Originally implemented only in Apple’s software and devices, it was called AirTunes and used for audio only. Apple has since licensed the AirPlay protocol stack as a third-party software component technology to manufacturers that build products compatible with Apple’s devices.”
Again, this was designed for the home user and not really designed for use in the classroom. There are a couple of flaws with both setups when used in a classroom environment that we would like to explore.
Firstly, both rely on a third party piece of hardware. In Google’s case a Chromecast Dongle, and in Apple’s case, an Apple TV which is considerable more than its 50 buck Google counterpart. That said, this is not the biggest barrier to use in the classroom as we see it.
The more import thing to note here is that both of these methods require a lot of steps and control from the students. They are user-led in that the student has to cast his or her device and also has to disconnect before someone else can connect. The teacher has little to no control over this which in a classroom environment, is not a good scenario.
What is the solution then I hear you ask? TouchIT Technologies have developed a piece of software called Contribute Cloud. Contribute Cloud has a casting piece built into the software that’s allows teacher-driven Casting of student devices – Contribute Cast.
What is Contribute Cast?
Contribute Cast is a part of the Contribute Cloud software that is designed and developed by TouchIT Technologies. What TouchIT have done is flip the whole casting experience and design it in a way that it is much more suited to the classroom. What we mean by this is that TouchIT put the teacher in control over who is casting and when. The teacher with a touch of a finger on the interactive LED are able to cast up the screens of the students who are connected to the session. There is no intervention by the student, the teacher is controlling it all. Switching from Student A to Student B is again just the touch of a finger away. All of this is made possible by simply installing (usually the IT department would do this centrally) the Contribute Cast Chrome Plug-in from the Chrome Store. Firefox users have nothing to install, the browser supports this functionality as it is.
What is more, there is also no additional hardware required; this is all done through the Contribute Cloud software. How cool is that?
What is Contribute Multi-Cast?
If it not cool enough that we are able to cast without any additional hardware and the simple installation of a Chrome Plugin, then wait until you hear about Multi-Cast. With the same Contribute Cloud Software, we are able to cast multiplier student’s screens at the same time live on the big screen. You can switch between them, pop them up to full screen and back. This is an awesome feature if you are looking to do some comparative work or look how some students have completed an activity in a different way.
If you would like to try these features, why not head over to http://contribute.cloud and sign yourself up for a trial of the software.