December 28, 2014 by Mike
One of my favourite self-bought gadgets of recent weeks has been the Google Chromecast, a wonderful little dongle that allows me to stream content from my iPad or laptop direct to the TV. A real bargain at around £30 and, as I found them half-price for a while on Amazon, I just couldn’t resist having two of them – one for work, one for play. But how do I justify the “work” one to myself?
In a way, that’s easy. I was at a conference in Texas in November and had the usual problem of getting the hotel AV systems to talk to my Macbook Air. A simple Chromecast would have solved the problem instantly and, indeed, one or two of my fellow presents did exactly that, popping their dongles into the projector for direct casting of their presentations and videos. Once I figured this out, I instantly saw the potential value in carrying this handy little device in a large university with buildings and classrooms of different ages, each with their own IT idiosyncrasies. This neat little Google thing certainly takes the worry out of that.
Once you begin pursuing this train of thought, other more interesting classroom applications begin to suggest themselves to you. When students are working on group activities, for instance, allowing them access to your Chromecast instantly allows a group’s outputs to be shared with the whole class. I can see the valuable-but-at-times-dull formative presentation taking on a whole new lease of life here, thanks to Chromecasting.
For those looking for other ideas for that funny little dongle you’ve just been using to watch YouTube videos on your home TV set, there’s now a really active Google+ community with 200+ members, all with innovative new ways of using Chromecast for Education purposes. Well worth a look! For the more techie among us, nice to see Google have also made the Developers’ Kit publicly available too so you can create your own handy apps.