Safely sharing hands-on work – Keith Spencer, Studio Art

The problem

I teach painting, a very hands-on experience. Students need to clearly see me demonstrate various techniques and procedures. In the past, this meant students gathering around my worktable (pictured below). While this generally worked, such crowding around the table was not a socially distanced experience. Moreover, even during “normal times” with 18 students, there were always a few on the fringe of the group who couldn’t quite see what was going on.

The fix

Initially, someone suggested a document camera, but I needed to share a large space while being mobile enough to even share student workspaces. Chris Faur recommended using the AirServer app. This allowed me to mirror my iPhone or iPad to the laptop, then project the laptop to the overhead screen. As seen in the below picture, I can stand at my workstation or move around the class with my iPhone focused on a space to project. The iPhone is wirelessly connected, via AirServer, to the computer at the back of the room. The computer then projects the iPad image to the overhead screen in real time – as my hands move, so does the image on the screen.

The upshot

Now my students can safely remain at their workspaces and clearly see what I am demonstrating (picture below). Better yet, I can easily record these sessions or share with remote students via Zoom. This experience has forced me to think in new ways. As such, I have a better system for my students learning that I will continue, even when we return to “normal times.”

Keith Allyn Spencer