Like many of you, I have an iPad through my school and the school has been encouraging us to integrate technology into our lessons through professional development and training. Unfortunately it was pretty tough for me because all I had was a projector that is on a cart and I’ve always found that it’s a pretty big hassle to roll it out and then roll it back into my closet during a lesson so that it doesn’t get hit by a ball, jumprope or run into by a student – not to mention having kids trip over the cord when we start moving around.
I’ve considered mounting it on the wall, but even then I would have to have it hooked up to a computer and use an app like Airserver to mirror my iPad or have a wired connector on the wall for my iPad. Plus, the projector takes a while to warm up before turn on and connecting to the computer.
Deciding on a Flatscreen:
I decided that the ideal situation for me would be having the ability to wirelessly stream content to be viewable for my students with minimal setup and breakdown – this way I could stop in the middle of the lesson and we could look at a quick student example, watch a demo video or go through a quick slide presentation without wasting any time with setup.
The solution that I thought would work best is by mounting a flatscreen TV on our gym wall. Another benefit is a TV is easier to see with the lights on than most projectors.
So I put together a proposal and luckily my administration was very supportive of my idea and helped me out by funding the project after I did some research and gave them a detailed pricing proposal. They did shoot down my first proposal which included an expensive TV Shield, so I priced out the cost of building one myself and they approved the project.
I created a plan to build a wood and plexiglass frame around the TV that would protect it from getting hit by a stray ball and it’s been working pretty well. (I share the gym with an after school program, so I wanted some good protection since I can’t be in there supervising kids after school). So far I am really enjoying the setup and it has definitely enhanced my lessons and saved me time with setup and take down.
See a run through of my current setup below:
Closed Cabinet vs. Plexiglass
Before looking into TV protectors you will probably want to decide if you want a closed cabinet or a plexiglass cabinet. The downside of plexiglass is you might have a glare (sometimes I turn off half the gym lights to help with this). The downside of a closed wooden or metal cabinet is you will have to open and close it each time you want to use it. Also, make sure you know the dimensions of your TV so you can be sure to get a box that fits around it.
*Below you will find affiliate links to all the products mentioned in the video and any other tech tools that I use in my program. You can support this website by using any of the affiliate links below – same price for you, but Amazon gives me a small referral fee.
Options for the Box that Protects the TV:
- Build your own
- Get someone to build it for you
- Another school in my district had the High School Shop class build her a TV Cabinet for her gym as a class project – Great idea
- Order a screen protector (for example: 60″, 70″, 75″)
- Order a custom TV Enclosure (for example: 60″ TV Shield)
I ended up building my own protection box since the TV Enclosure cost more than the actual TV and I wanted to protect the TV from any impact. A screen protector will protect your screen, but the TV itself will still receive an impact from a stray ball.
If you are interested in building your own, you can check out my notes on how I did it in the very unofficial guide below:
DVD Player, iPad Holder Box
Next, you will probably want a Wall Mounted Cabinet or Shelf that will be close to the TV, but under it so it is accessible without using a ladder. This is where you can put your laptop or iPad when they are plugged into the TV. I also use it as a charging station for my iPod and iPad and have my DVD player in it.
- Make your own – I just used some old wooden shelves in my closet, made a box big enough for my laptop to fit in and then put it on the wall with some L brackets. I also put a PVC pipe across it to protect my laptop and iPad from any Basketballs or soccerballs.
- Order one (for example: This would probably work, or this one if you want to get fancy – it’s what I use for my stereo and I’ve been pretty happy with it, just make sure it’s the size you want)
Inside the TV Box:
- Flat screen TV (I got the Vizio 60″ , you could go big with a Vizio 70″ )
- Wall Mount (Cheetah Full Motion Mount )
- I highly recommend getting a full motion swivel mount, it makes setting the TV up, mounting and making any changes later way easier than a standard wall mount because it allows you to leave the TV attached to the mount, but pull it away from the wall or tilt it any direction. That gives you room to plug in cables, HDMI cords ect. very easily.
- Surge protector
- Apple TV
- There are lots of cheaper ways to stream your iPad to the TV wirelessly through apps, if you have a laptop, 2 that I know of are Reflector or Air Server
- 2 HDMI cords (or more if your TV has more inputs)
Inside the wall cabinet:
- DVD Player – (Sony Blu Ray Player )
- I got this and am very happy with it, it also has a USB for a flash drive so you can easily play digital video files or photos on your TV with a flash drive
- USB Flash Drive – 32 GB flash drive
- Multi USB charging station (Power Add Charger )
- Cords for charging your devices (iPhone 5 and up, or iPhone 4 and under)
- iPad to HDMI converter – (newer iPads, older iPads)
- There are other converters, but these are great because they give you the ability to charge your iPad while it is plugged in to the HDMI
- If your computer doesn’t have an HDMI out, you will need a way to convert to HDMI, mine already has the HDMI out, so I didn’t need anything else.
- Another surge protector (see link above)
- Bluetooth Keyboard
- Not necessary, but nice if you are using your laptop for a video or presentation and want to be able to move around the gym while controlling the computer.
- Presenter – For clicking through slides wirelessly while walking around your gym
- HDMI Switch (5 ports)
- This allows you to have multiple HDMI inputs going into one HDMI plug in your TV. This switch is cool bc it senses when an input turns on and automatically allows that input to go to your TV – you can manually switch it as well if needed.
Other Tech Tools:
- iPad Mini 3 128 GB
- My school issued iPad is only 16 GB, so I was super pumped to get 2 of these through a grant on Donors Choose – check it out if you haven’t – it’s a great fundraising resource for teachers. The larger disc space allows me to do a lot more with video assessments and video highlights for parents and classroom teachers.
- Pepko iPad Case
- This is the case I have, it’s not top of the line, BUT it is a great price and will protect your iPad really well.
- The tripod I use for my GoPro when filming myself teach and when I need the iPad setup for games or when using an App like BAM Video Delay.
- iPad Tripod Mount
- Great little mount I got after hearing Jarrod Robinson recommend it. It works great and it customizable to fit most phones/tablets.
- Wireless Microphone
- This is the wireless mic that I recently got, it’s amazing for saving your voice – especially with large class sizes
It’s great to be able to wirelessly stream to your TV content from your iPhone, iPad or iPod by using a device like Apple TV, or an application like Reflector, Air Server or Airparrot. But you also want to have an HDMI to be able to plug straight into the TV as a backup plan in case your have wireless issues (which you will).
3 Years later, I finally got a soundbar to go under the TV. The sound wasn’t horrible, but it did get a little muffled since the TV was inside of the box. The soundbar is great and it can bluetooth to my iPhone or iPod as well in case I need a backup music player.
Here are some ways I use my TV in the gym:
- Watching Youtube Videos and Following Along (see some examples here)
- Fitness Blender Workouts
- Just Dance Videos
- Follow The Leader Videos (available through in the PE Specialist Membership)
- Watching professional sports highlights or other examples that introduce students to different units of instruction and get them excited about learning (see how I do this in my Basketball Unit or my Gymnastics Unit)
- Prezis, Google Slides or Powerpoint Presentations we often use a quick presentation to go over rules, cues or skill basics before starting a unit (You can find my “first day of school” slides here)
- iPad Apps Mirrored to TV
- BAM Video Delay – great to give kids visual feedback on a skill they are practicing – the app allows you to put your iPad on a time delay so students can perform the skill and then go look at it on the TV afterwards
- SworkIt – My favorite workout app for school – create custom workouts or choose from tons of premade workouts for warmups, cool downs or workouts.
- Scoreboard – kids love it when we’re playing games, makes it feel “official”
- Team Shake – automatically sorts your class into groups
- Interval Timer – awesome app for doing interval stations, create custom times for rotating and play music from your playlists within the app while in activity.
- Ubersense – Slo Motion Video – slow down a video of your kids performing a skill and show them the fundamentals
- Stopwatch – simple timer app to time games or challenges (like the Endurance Club Challenge)
- Coach Note – Good app for drawing game diagrams and giving a visual to kids for strategies or different plays.
- Noteability – Turns your TV into a whiteboard that students can draw on via your iPad
I hope that’s helpful if you are considering trying to get a TV in your gym. If you have any questions let me know and I will be glad to answer them. I think that Physical Education classes can be enhanced through adding a TV and in the future I think we will see a lot more of them, especially as prices TV’s continue to go down. PE is a visual subject, so it makes sense that we should have a way to provide visual feedback and examples to this digital generation of kids.
If you’re thinking about using a Projector or you just want to see other possible setups, check out the posts from some A+ teachers below for some more info:
- Jarrod Robinson (ThePEgeek) – BigScreenPE.com
- Kevin Tiller (PhysEdReview) – Projector Review
- Kyle Liebler – Smartboard Setup in PE
- Joey Feith (PhysicalEducator) – TV Setup for PE
Good luck in your teaching adventures!
If you already use a TV or projector in your PE class, share some of your ideas in the comments!