We always encourage instructors to learn how to use the technology in the classrooms before the semester begins. This can help lessen frustration and anxiety using the equipment. Please understand that the information presented here is no substitute for reading instruction manuals for your computer or each classroom, testing beforehand, or a hands-on training. Spending 30 minutes testing the equipment BEFORE the semester starts can save you lost teaching time.

Each room comes with an instruction manual, that you can find in your room’s description on the Classroom Search Tool. We also offer video demonstrations on how to use the technology in our rooms. Contact KitCats for assistance if you need more help with any of these tools, to to schedule a training session with one of our experienced technicians. 

Using Laptops and Projectors

Projecting computer images has become an essential teaching tool. This section will help you learn how this takes place and how to make your laptop work with our projectors. Because there are literally thousands of laptop configurations, models, screen sizes and screen resolutions out there, we cannot know how each laptop works.

We can provide BASIC troubleshooting and configuring to allow your computer to work with our projectors, but you will need to:

  • know your laptop’s display requirements.
  • know your laptop’s resolution requirements.
  • Know how to configure your ethernet adapter for the Internet.
  • Always have a backup plan.

Attaching your computer to our projectors

Whether you use the installed system in a classroom or AV delivers one, the hookup is the same:

  • You attach an HDMI cable FROM the projector or podium/wall plate TO the laptop.
  • The cable attaches to your laptop via the EXTERNAL MONITOR port on the back (or side) of your laptop: Important note: Some laptops do not have standard HDMI ports and may require an adapter.

Make sure you have any adapters or docking ports with you or you will not be able to connect to our systems. It is not our policy to provide them. Please call us for a consultation if your laptop does not have the standard connection pictured below.

In general, the order in which you do things with computers and projectors is very important:

  1. Connect the cable to your laptop.
  2. Turn on the PROJECTOR, either by pressing the appropriate input on the touch panel, by pressing the ON button on the button panel, or if the projector was delivered, the POWER button, let it warm up and select the proper COMPUTER/HDMI/LAPTOP input using the MODE or INPUT button.
  3. Turn on and/or log into your computer LAST. (Never rely on your laptop’s battery. Always bring your AC adapter.)

This is important because when you turn on your computer, it looks to all the ports and connectors to see what’s hooked up to it. So theoretically, the computer will know there is a projector connected and send the image that you see on the screen out to the projector.

Some rooms also include a wireless projection option utilizing the Crestron AirMedia. This can also be used as a back up incase the wired option if you do not have an HDMI port on your device and you do not have an adapter. Read more about it HERE.

What do you do when it doesn’t send the image to the projector?

Always check this first: Is the system/projector’s input set to the correct COMPUTER input? If it is, try the following:

For Windows users:

If you get an image on the laptop screen but not on the projector, check the following:

  1. On your laptop’s keyboard, find the key marked “FUNCTION” or “Fn” (lower left corner of the keyboard).
  2. Then, search for a key that has either the letters “LCD” or a little monitor icon. Most often, it will be in the top row of keys marked F1 through F12.
  3. When you have both keys located, press and hold the FUNCTION key and then press the LCD key that you located before. It might take a couple of seconds for the computer to react. This should toggle the screen image through a cycle like this: Image on Laptop Screen | Image on Projector | Image on Both

So if you press the “Function” key sequence once, you’ll get an image on the projector, but your laptop screen will go black. Press the key sequence again and you’ll see the image through the projector and on your laptop.

For MAC users:

All Apple laptops made since 2008: Hold down the Command Key (to the left of the spacebar) and press F1. This will toggle the mirroring on and off.

First time setup: System Preferences>Displays>Display Tab. Two windows will appear. Check that the resolution on both is 1920×1200. Also check the “Show displays in Menu Bar” checkbox to put a display shortcut at the top of your screen (near the clock).

Know your laptop! Read the manual and carry it with you. Always do a dry run before your class starts to work out any bugs.

Screen resolutions

Screen resolution affects what you see projected and how it looks. This will be important if you use fine, detailed images and text. Today, monitors and computers have advanced to the point where many different resolutions are possible. Most modern laptops use a 16:9 or 16:10 widescreen format. Most of our projectors use 1920×1200 resolution.

Just to confuse you further, some laptops can display one resolution on the laptop’s screen, but can output a different resolution to a video projector. Laptops can also split the display so half the desktop is in the laptop’s screen, the other half is sent to the video projector. This configuration is used for the Presenter View/Presenter notes in PowerPoint. Yikes. See why we recommend testing it first?

How to use this information

In a nutshell: Our projectors display up to 1920×1200 (higher resolutions will be compressed down to 1920×1200). When you connect your laptop for the first time, go to the Displays Preferences and set your laptop resolution to no higher than 1920×1200.

Windows users: Control Panels>Displays

Mac users: System Preferences>Displays

What happens when I use an external display with my MacBook Pro with Retina display?

Your MacBook Pro with Retina display automatically optimizes the resolution for your internal Retina display and any external displays that are attached. You can adjust resolutions for displays by choosing System Preferences from the Apple menu and then clicking Displays.

If you have Mirror Displays enabled (under the Arrangement tab in Displays System Preferences), you will see the following under the Display tab on both internal and external displays:

This allows you to optimize for the internal or external display, or even scale the content on both.

If Mirror Displays is not enabled, then you are using Extended Desktop mode. In this case, resolutions can be set individually for each display. Check the Display System Preferences window that has the description for the display you want to adjust on the top of the window (there will be a unique preferences window for each display). Adjust as necessary.

I need a resolution for my external display that is not appearing on the list. Is there a way to get more resolutions to appear?

Yes. Hold the Option key down while clicking the Scaled button to see more resolutions. This is only available in extended desktop mode.

How do you know what resolution you’re using?

  • Windows: Start > Settings > System > Display. On the right, you’ll see the current display resolution setting and a dropdown menu to change it. (This is in your instruction manual or in the Help feature on your laptop.)
  • OS X: System Preferences -> Displays. You will also need to bring an adapter if you plan to use our projection systems.

So what should you do? TEST it before you need it. Get into your classroom and try it before your first class.

Internet access

The Hopkins wireless network is readily available in most technology classrooms (signal strength may vary). An ethernet cable may be available in some rooms but it is not always guaranteed. To use either network, your laptop must be registered in JHARS.

Also, we do not perform repairs on data connections and make no assurances that the port is active in each room. Please direct all repair questions concerning data jacks to x6-HELP (410-516-4357).

There is no quick fix for ethernet problems. Therefore: we recommend the following: Download all pages or video files you need to your laptop, and copy them to a flash drive as a backup before class. The links will not be active, but you’ll have the pages to view.

Back-up plans for all computer presentations

Nothing is 100% reliable. If your class depends on a Powerpoint or Word presentation, there are two back-up choices:

Get your presentation off your laptop and on to another form of computer media. Purchase a Flash drive and copy your files on to it. Always carry it with you. In the event your laptop fails or will not display properly, you can use the installed PC in the podium (where applicable) or borrow another laptop. As long as there is internet access, you could also save it to OneDrive or email.