When I delivered my first training course nearly 25 years ago, all I had was a flip chart and some coloured marker pens. I didn’t even have a projector to demonstrate the software to the delegates. This week, the flip chart and pens were replaced with an iPad, my finger and a free app.

ipad displaying via monitor

To place this blog post in context, you need to understand that I work in a corporate environment where I’m not allowed to connect my own kit to the company network. By my own kit, I mean my MacBook and my iPad.

Most of the courses that I deliver require a connection to the network. I’m either delivering virtual training (and by definition that requires a network connection as it’s delivered via Webex) or, when I do deliver face-to-face training it is usually for network based company-specific systems.

This week, for a change I delivered a live classroom course that required no network connection (Excel 2007 Intermediate). Although I can’t connect my devices to the network, I can connect them to a projector. So, I thought it would be an idea to see how effective the iPad could be as a replacement for the flipchart.

Although I could have connected the iPad directly to the projector, using the Apple VGA adapter, I also needed to have my work laptop connected to the projector so that my delegates could see my Excel demos, however, I wanted to avoid having to keep unplugging the iPad and laptop from the projector.

My 13 inch MacBook provided the perfect answer as it has VMWare Fusion installed with an Office 2007 installation. I connected the MacBook to the projector and ran Fusion in Full Screen Mode.

I used Draw Free, a free drawing app, as my electronic flipchart.

My plan was to use Reflection to mirror the iPad to the MacBook and because the MacBook was connected to the projector, the delegates would be able to see the iPad output on the big wall-mounted screen.

iPad and MacBook

That left just one issue – how to get the MacBook and iPad to “talk to each other”. The answer was to use a router that I bought for that specific purpose (I keep it in my desk drawer).

iPad and MacBook

Plug in the router, configure the MacBook to connect to the router, configure the iPad to connect to the router, both devices are on the same wireless network. Hey presto!