Teachers who stayed in one room for most of the day, and thus usually connected to the one Miracast device, had a wonderful experience and provided very positive feedback.
However, problems soon surfaced in an environment with:
- large numbers of wireless enabled devices (in the one-to-one classes).
- teachers moving from room to room for various periods.
- the necessity to connect to a number of different Miracast devices daily.
The problems were intermittent, but followed common themes.
- Some Miracast devices were occasionally not visible in the list of devices available for connection.
- When visible, some would not connect on the first few attempts, or could not be connected to without restarting the Miracast device or the Surface tablet.
- Teachers would be randomly disconnected on occasion, sometimes part way through a lesson.
- Audio would occasionally lag.
Miracast is an amazing technology. It is an open standard from the Wi-Fi Alliance, so it is not restricted to a particular brand of computer or tablet. Unlike some other solutions, it does more than just stream apps or browsers. When combined with a light, compact, powerful device like a Surface Pro 3 it is awesome. Add pen-based technology, such as OneNote and the results can be particularly empowering. The combination feels as if it were built specifically for the classroom.
A teacher can walk around a room while writing on a white board (a virtual whiteboard on his/her tablet), flip to a video, swap to a presentation, draw diagrams or write with a stylus, with everything projected onto a screen. Students with Windows or Android devices can also connect, which creates even more flexibility and opportunity for collaboration in the classroom.
However, the promise is almost a reality. Hopefully the next generation of MiraCast devices, or a new firmware update, will solve the problems that arise in a wireless dense, diverse, mobile environment.
Then, finally, teachers will have total flexibility in a classroom.