Mount St Benedict College needed a stable, easy-to-use and consistent way for teachers and students to wirelessly display Windows devices in classrooms. HDMI cables limited teacher mobility, and wireless technology was often inconsistent. The Ditto screen-mirroring software provided the stability, simplicity and compatibility needed in a wireless solution.
Mount St Benedict College is an independent school in Sydney, Australia, with more than 1,000 students.
Mount St Benedict College deployed Windows devices to teachers and students to help achieve educational goals, but sharing work from those devices proved to be a challenge.
Janet Wilson, ICT Desktop and Server Administrator, said teachers had been using outdated and restrictive HDMI cables to manually connect Windows devices to classroom projectors.
“Teachers need to be able to roam around a classroom and teach from any location in the room,” she said. “They can’t be tied to their desk with an HDMI cable.”
This prompted the school to begin looking for a way to wirelessly share content from Windows devices to the primary classroom display. A wireless solution would simplify how presentations and instructions were delivered, and it would allow students to present from their seats if needed.
Mount St Benedict College required a wireless solution that was cost-effective and met four criteria:
After testing a number of different hardware- and software-based wireless solutions, the school’s IT team decided that each classroom would receive an Apple TV to use as a screen-mirroring receiver. With its receiver of choice selected, Mount St Benedict College needed a way to send Windows device content to the Apple TVs.
Mount St Benedict College looked into screen-mirroring software that would add AirPlay capabilities to Windows devices, enabling the devices to connect to Apple TVs. The software was ideal in theory, but network traffic became an issue. Apple TVs use the Bonjour protocol to broadcast their availability as an AirPlay receiver. This can cause environments with many Apple TVs – like schools – to experience network congestion. With nearly 100 Apple TVs at the school, the list of available receivers populated inconsistently for the Windows device users and connections dropped frequently.
“As teachers moved from room to room, the screen-mirroring software on their Windows devices searched for available Apple TVs,” Wilson said. “Quite often, the Apple TV for the room they were in wasn’t listed. We needed something much more stable because the teachers can’t spend the first five or 10 minutes of class trying to establish a connection.”
Mount St Benedict College then tested Ditto and discovered that it didn’t share the same connection issues. Ditto doesn’t search for Apple TV AirPlay signals upon every connection because each Apple TV is assigned a unique room code during setup. Ditto knows which Apple TV to connect to when a user enters that code and automatically pairs the devices.
The initial Ditto test was positive. Mount St Benedict College had one last adjustment to make to its Apple TV setup.
“Our testing showed us that if both the Apple TV and Windows device network connection was wireless, we experienced a little instability so we placed all Apple TVs on a wired connection,” Wilson said. “Since then, we’ve had a very good experience with connections in the room.”
Our staff now has a reliable wireless mirroring service and a significant amount of teaching time has been reclaimed.
Mount St Benedict College now has more than 100 Ditto-enabled rooms and will establish an estimated 100,000+ wireless connections annually using Ditto.
Wilson said the number one reason Mount St Benedict College went with Ditto was simple: stability.
“What we found through the first term of this year is virtually no calls to the service desk for connection issues,” she said. “That was unheard of. There were always problems in the past. Our staff now has a reliable wireless mirroring service, and a significant amount of teaching time has been reclaimed.“