“You can assume that anybody who has content that they needed to see bigger and in more detail has gone to that kind of technology,” he said of projectors like the Canon REALiS model. “It has a lot of application.”
Elizabeth Dourely, an expert on projectors for education and a contributor to ProjectorCentral.com, said the Epson BrightLink 450Wi is “one of the most buzzworthy projectors” in education today. The 2,500-lumen device includes built-in software that eliminates the need for a separate interactive whiteboard. It can project images onto any whiteboard, wall, or smooth surface, and it comes with two digital infrared pens that let teachers and professors mark images and highlight specific areas.
“We would certainly consider this projector a game-changer,” said Claudine Wolas, project manager for Epson Electronics’ BrightLink 450Wi. “It’s not just the newest and latest in projectors, but in whiteboards as well.”
Educators said the BrightLink maintains stability even when a nearby air conditioning unit turns on. Many classroom projectors shake from close-range vibration, they said.
In its Classroom Projector Resource Center, ProjectorCentral also features “Problem-Solving Projectors Under $1,000.” These include the Sanyo PLC-XW300, which features XGA resolution and a Blackboard Mode (“Who needs a screen?” writes the web site); the NEC NP510W, a networkable projector with WXGA (wide XGA) resolution that is ideal for classrooms with one-to-one laptop programs, allowing any student to project an image from his or her own machine; and the BenQ W1000, a quiet projector with 2,000-plus lumens running under 30 decibels.
Sound systems incorporate iPods, amplify presentations
Projector companies are also addressing sound system issues in the classroom and lecture hall with devices that attach to projectors. Epson’s AP-60 Sound Enhancement System, for example, can be installed on ceiling-mounted projectors. The device amplifies sounds coming from the projector with four interconnected speakers and directs the sound toward the audience.
The AP-60 also comes with an infrared pendant microphone for educators and students speaking to a large classroom or lecture hall. The Epson device can connect to almost all projectors’ standard mounting equipment, making the enhancement system ideal for school officials looking for retrofit their classroom technology without spending a fortune on brand-new equipment.
As iPods have become ubiquitous among teenagers and young adults, an Illinois-based company called AmpliVox Sound Systems has found a way to incorporate the popular MP3 player into classroom use.
AmpliVox’s IPOD PA System, which is compatible with almost every iPod model and the iPhone, has a docking station for the Apple devices and is designed to amplify the iPod’s sound. The 30-watt machine is used at about 3,000 schools and college campuses nationwide and is made for audiences of up to 500 people, making it usable for even the largest college lecture halls and rooms of up to 2,500 square feet.
The IPOD PA System, which hit the market six months ago, also features a DVD/CD player, a USB outlet, a wireless microphone, and four-hour rechargeable batteries.
“The only way to describe the iPod phenomenon is ubiquitous,” said Don Ross, CEO of AmpliVox, adding that the IPOD PA System recharges iPods and iPhones when they are plugged into the machine’s docking area. “It’s really become a way … for students to incorporate technology in their homework and class presentations and a whole range of [other assignments] that they get from their teachers and professors. … We’re happy to help [students] find new ways to incorporate their iPods in their education.”