Check with the school:
- Do they allow personal devices on the network?
- Which type of video connection is available? (VGA / HDMI)
- Are speakers available, if so – what is the connection type? (3.5mm jack / HDMI)
NB. If you are connecting the video via HDMI and sound via 3.5mm jack, the sound may need to be disabled on HDMI and enabled through the regular headphone socket.
If there is IT Support on site, they will be able to assist with this but you should know how to change this on your own device in advance.
- Is WiFi available?
- Is it 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz
- Is it 802.11a, 802.11b/g/n, or 802.11ac?
Schools may be using older systems, so newer devices may not be compatible.
- Is the Visitor WiFi Secure or Open?
Some devices are unable to connect to open WiFi networks, mainly corporate devices (police, armed services etc.)
- Does the Visitor WiFi use a Captive Portal?
Some devices are unable to connect to WiFi with captive portals.
- What are the details of the TV or projector, so you can prepare the right size content for the screen without having squashed content or black borders:
- TV or Projector
- Ratio (Square = 4:3, Widescreen = 16:9 or 16:10)
- Is there a dry-wipe whiteboard in the room? (If required)
- Name of the room you’ll be in
Reception staff may not have been told, but if you are DBS cleared they may be able to show you to the room to set up rather than waiting for the organiser.
- Ask whether your mobile network’s signal is likely to work in the room in which you are presenting.
Mobile signals in schools can be very hit-or-miss, varying between the different networks and different areas of the school sites. It would be advantageous to know in advance if there is a chance you may need to resort to a mobile access point or tether via your mobile.
Notify the school:
These may be the most important points – implementing changes based on the following may take several days in some cases.
- Provide the websites/ports you will need to access well in advance and ask for confirmation they will be accessible.
- Let them know if you are bringing any equipment with you that may need to connect to the internet.
- It is worth knowing the MAC address of your laptop and any other devices that will connect to the wifi so the school can provision access in advance. Not all will ask for this, but it will save time if you have it ready.
Instructions for finding your MAC address on Windows, MacOS, and iPads can be downloaded on the right of this article
Have copies of all required files available on a USB drive and in the cloud in case anything goes wrong with your own device.
- Take an adaptor to convert the output of your laptop to VGA and HDMI if either isn’t built-in.
- Take your own:
- VGA cable
- HDMI cable
- 3.5mm audio cable
- Extension Lead / Multiway adapter
- VGA Adaptor(s)
*Lamps can blow at any time, you may need to set up in a room that doesn’t have speakers.
- If your content is heavily dependent on the internet, take a mobile hotspot, or know how to tether through your mobile – better safe than sorry.
If you ask the school to complete the table below with as much notice as possible, you should have all the technical information you need to prepare for your visit.
Having details available for all staff to share with visitors in advance is always going to be beneficial, and will save you a headache in the long run!
It’s worth putting a list of the rooms that are regularly used for visitors, e.g.
One table with all the rooms regularly used for visitors would be good for staff when they’re planning:
Then one table for each room that can be shared with visitors in advance so they can prepare accordingly.