Define a Teacher's Classroom Projection Needs

Define your classroom projection needs before purchasing projection equipment by asking the question, "What do you want to project and why?" Projector types and abilities vary, so focusing on your needs will help you identify the projector system that will work best in your classroom.

Reasons for considering classroom projection equipment

As you consider what you might want to project in a classroom, consider some of these typical responses:

  • I’m teaching content that I want my students to remember so I want them to copy it from the board.

  • I want to have a way of facing and talking with the class while material is presented on the board.

  • I want to review some text with the class so we need to look at it together.

  • I want students to discuss and critique text while I annotate it.

  • I want to show images and/or video during class.

  • We need to browse and display the Internet together as a class.

  • I want to display important information during class and record it for review later.

  • I want to prepare and/or record materials ahead of class and then present it during class.

Determining your objectives will help decide what projection, hardware, and software you need. Often, way too many schools rush out and invest heavily in expensive interactive whiteboard systems before really asking these basic questions and determining whether the whiteboards met their objectives. So take the time to truly define your needs.

Available classroom projection options for teacher's

So, as a teacher, you've decided that you definitely need some form of projection in your classroom. Your options include the following:

  • A portable projector that’s rolled into a room on a cart: It’s inexpensive because one projector can service multiple rooms; however, it’s cumbersome, not always available when you need it, and time-consuming to locate and start up. Sharing a cart isn’t ideal, but if that’s what your budget allows, you can make it work.

  • Ceiling-mounted projectors: They can be controlled by remote and usually sit somewhere toward the front and center of the ceiling. The main problem with ceiling-mounted projectors is that you must make sure you are out of the projected area when you’re at the front of the class.

  • Short throw projectors: These are mounted right on top of the board that they project upon. They are a little more expensive than regular projectors, but you don’t have the concern of blocking the projection and casting a shadow.

  • HDTV sets: Becoming popular options, HDTV sets are easily cabled to a computer, and you can connect to them wirelessly with an iPad. The cost has come down and will continue to fall, and they tend to be more durable than projectors. They also don’t have any bulbs to replace.

    You do need to be careful to purchase an HDTV that is large enough for the room in which it will be used. Also, check it out from the sides and corners of the room, especially if students need to read from it, because those areas tend to have the worst vantage points.

Examine all your options and consult with an expert. Whether you just want to show the occasional video or really want a full-blown, expensive interactive whiteboard, you need to find projection that works well in your physical space and fits cozily into your budget.

Presenting on the board doesn’t mean you have to be anchored to the front of the room. With the help of a relatively inexpensive Apple TV (around $100 and the size of a hockey puck), an HDMI cable, and possibly a cheap converter if the projector doesn’t have an HDMI interface, teachers can roam around the class and wirelessly mirror their iPad displays at the front of the room.

The coolest part about iPad mirroring is that you can have students project their own iPads to the AppleTV as well. That’s a real bonus for collaborative activities and when you want students to share their work with the rest of the class. Consult the Apple website for more information about Apple TV.

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