Over the past ten years, digital projectors used on their own or used with interactive whiteboards (IWBs) have been extensively used as ‘the large screen’ in classrooms, for presenting and to bring more interactivity and engagement into teaching and learning. However, with advancement in technology Interactive Flat panels have proved themselves better technology as compared to Smart Classroom. Over that time projector technology has evolved from portable or long throw projectors to short throw, and more recently ‘ultra-short throw’ and ‘ultra-short throw interactive’ projectors. The shorter throw projectors are more fit-for-purpose than the longer throw, however despite these improvements, projectors still have a number of issues which cause problems and frustration to schools.
Projector problems experienced by schools include:
- Projector image brightness fading over time, leading to difficulty clearly viewing screen content
- Projector lamp unit failures
- Inability of new spare lamp units to fully recapture the original brightness of new projectors
- The cost and inconvenience of replacing faulty lamp units in projectors
- The warranty provided on replacement lamp units is typically just for 3 months, which is too short
Some relevant questions include:
Can these problems be overcome?
If not are there more ‘fit for purpose’ technologies available as alternatives to projectors?
Some ‘Projection’ target objectives in the classroom might be:
- To facilitate a better learning environment in classrooms
- To transform the learning environment to improve learning experiences and outcomes
- To facilitate more effective engagement and interactivity with students
- To provide better quality images on the large screen
- To facilitate high levels of natural external light in classrooms, where possible.
- To avoid having to close window blinds or dim classroom lights to improve image quality
- To use technologies that consume lower level of energy
The more recent technology that is challenging Projectors is Interactive Flat Panel (IFP). This is the same type technology that is used in flat screen TVs. Interactive flat screen technology has the potential to achieve the‘objectives’ stated above, however the initial purchase cost is generally higher than the cost of a digital projector.