First we take on the little black box from Apple - the Apple TV. At $99 this is a powerful tool not only connect your laptop, iPad or iPhone to a projector or TV but also enables a wide array of video providers and allows for sending your music "through the air" to play in your classroom where ever you are in the room. A couple of connection basics are that you will need an HDMI cable to connect the unit to your TV or projector. If you do not have an HDMI connection, there is a cool VGA adapter box you can get to bring your analog system into the digital world. The Apple TV connects via your wireless network so you just need to make sure that whatever device you are using is on the same wireless network as your little Apple TV unit. I admit that using the little Apple remote to choose navigate around the menus and enter letters and numbers for passwords and setting is a bit like an old school video game, but the good news is that generally this is a one time set up. Once you are all configured, your device should show a connection choice icon to allow you to switch to present on the display you want. This is a good way to connect in the "cloud" and project whatever is on your device. The resolution does leave you with few choices, so if you are just looking to go untethered for a keynote or powerpoint, the next two tools may be a better fit for what you are doing.
Keynote presenter is a free app in the app store (sorry non Mac users - not sure if there is an Android or other version of this) that allows you to control your keynote presentation, along with notes, from the wireless comfort of your personal device. When setting up this App, you will get a connection code that you enter into the Preferences - Remote section of Keynote and you are set to go. This app works great for iPhones and iPads to allow you to move around the room to assist and explain while providing a display appropriate resolution as your laptop is actually connected to the display. The alternative to this app is the Powerpoint version, PowerPoint Remote. This app functions is pretty much the same way as the Keynote app, but requires you to download a server app to your laptop that allows you to connect. This is just one more step and is only a one time thing you must do. When you have connected once, your devices will remember these preferences making the next connection that much easier.
Both of these web tools will allow you to get away from the static lectern stance and into the "trenches" with your class. The benefits of this approach enable a more personal connection with your students and maybe a little more of a view into what are they really using their laptops for. When you are walking around the class to engage them in your learning dance, they will be certainly less inclined to let their devices stray into the distracting social media haze. Dancing in the cloud may take awhile to get used to, but has the potential to engage your class in the dance with you instead of it being more one sided. If your dancing skills are anything like mine, the more people on the dance floor the better and … the more we involve and connect students to the context of the information we are presenting, the more opportunities for them to make it their own.