Whole-class learning is a key aspect of the modern classroom, but how do you find the right solution for your school? There are a variety of options, so you need to take a closer look at each one to determine which is the best choice for your students, teachers, curriculum, and budget.
Last week we looked at interactive flat panel displays, which offer HD and UHD brillant images with touch and collaboration features. This week, we're going to explore the interactive projector solution, which offers large collaborative areas with touch or pen features. Some of the most important considerations are what will work for your classroom configurations and for the teaching and learning styles of your educators and students.
Is an Interactive Projector Right for Your Classroom?
Interactive projectors have the advantage of creating a very large interactive space more affordably than flat panel displays. With these projectors, you can create interactive areas as large as 140 inches! Projectors now come in a wide range of models: touch-based or pen-based, bulb or laser (no bulbs to change, ever!), HD and ultra-wide—which can enable you to create an 11 x 4 foot interactive area. Many of the touch models allow up to 10 students to work together on the same projected activity.
- HD-Quality Images on a Budget: Projectors are able to create beautiful, bright, clear images that will rival almost any HD display since they are HD images. To get an HD display with an interactive area ranging from 104–140 inches just wouldn’t be possible on a comparable budget.
- Touch-Enabled Interactivity: Today’s projectors are available as finger or stylus controlled. In addition, they can allow up to 10 students working together at the front of the classroom, giving you the same opportunities for collaborative and whole-class learning.
- Large-Scale Collaborative Areas: This is where projectors offer a unique value—they can create an interactive area as large as 140 inches. Most displays allow 6–10 students to work together, but if the area is small, it isn’t realistic. Projectors allow for large-scale collaborative areas where students and teachers can actually work together. If this is the type of learning that you favor in your classrooms, then a projector might be a good alternative to a flat panel display.
- Flat Surface Issues: For touch-enabled projectors to work at their optimal level, they need a flat surface. Improper alignment or a whiteboard that is not flat will significantly degrade the performance of the touch tracking system.
- Installation Can Be More Involved: Projector installation requires calculating the distance from the whiteboard, and running wires through the ceiling or wall can often be more challenging. Most interactive projector companies offer distance calculators to make this easier.
- Ambient Light: If your school has classrooms with lots of natural light and limited shades, then a projector may not be your best option.
Laser vs. Bulb
No more projector lamps! Projectors can make large images at comparatively low cost, but oh, those lamps. These days, many interactive projector companies offer models that have replaced lamps with lasers, offering a rated lifetime measured in decades. Still, other companies offer low-cost programs that provide replacement lamps for as long as you own the projector.
No matter what you are teaching with, new technology has one main purpose: to educate. While traditional tools can capably communicate knowledge and ideas, interactive solutions more easily engage today’s students and create countless opportunities for collaborative learning. You can read more about interactive projectors, along with a variety of other whole-class learning solutions, in our new Interactive Solutions in the Classroom guide. Click here to download your free guide today!