Category AV in Education

Sharp Projectors Offer Teachers a Clear View on 3D

Research has shown test scores may increase where classroom lessons are presented in 3D. The beauty of 3D technology is that it has the ability to change the way students learn by “immersing” them as a part of the on-screen classroom presentation. Science, math, geography and art education are just a few subject areas where 3D can help better captivate students.

As an example, Sharp’s PG education series of projectors includes the 3D Ready Sharp PG-D45X3D BrilliantColor™ DLP® Projector, offering a range of options – including portability, connectivity and high brightness — that’s well suited for K-12 classrooms and small auditoriums.

Key features include:

• 4500 lumens, XGA Resolution (1024 x 768, 4:3)
• 3D Ready with DLP® Link™ Technology
• BrilliantColor™ DLP Technology (2500:1 contrast ratio)
• Sealed DLP chip with filter-free design
• Wide connectivity including DVI-I and RJ-45
• High output 10 watt audio system (Stereo – 5W/Ch)
• Presentation assist remote with PC/mouse control

Sharp 3D Ready projectors incorporate DLP® Link™ technology which has become the 3D standard among many manufacturers – particularly for educational use. These projectors, when used with compatible 3D content, PC/graphics card and optional 3D active shutter glasses, project captivating 3D imagery – from a single projector – that literally appears to come to life.

As an optional accessory, Sharp offers their XpanD™ brand X102 3D Active Shutter glasses. These come individually boxed, and include a spare battery, a special tool to change the battery and wipes to keep the glasses clean. These glasses are waterproof, enabling them to be cleaned in a sink or dishwasher.

Ready to Learn More?

For more information on Sharp’s 3D ready projectors, contact an AVI-SPL representative at 800-559-8197, or click here to request a quote today!

Students Give Their Thoughts on Classrooom Technology

If you want to know how students learn, just ask them. Their opinions and insights are authentic and more valuable than just about anyone else’s!  I had the privilege to interview a few sixth-grade students in Ms. Janet Tolson’s math class at Seven Springs Middle School in Pasco County. I wanted to know what they thought about using technology in the classroom to improve their learning.

I asked Rachel, a student in Ms. Tolson’s class, what technology she already uses at school to improve learning:

“We do research on the computer, we have two computers in this classroom, and a computer lab we can go do,” Rachel told me. “One of my teachers has a SMART board which helps me to understand things better. I do well in all of my classes,  and most of my tests are paper and pencil.  I have an iPad and can purchase books to read on it. My sister is in high school, and she has an iPad and uses it there. I also use technology at home for learning, like Study Island, and Coolmath.com for math facts, and games for learning math.”

When I asked what she thought it would be like to have all of her textbooks on a digital device, Rachel answered that while it would be nice not having to carry around a backpack, students might not be prepared to take care of technology devices. She also said she’d still like to use textbooks.

Emma, Ellen and Chandler from Ms. Tolson’s class provided me with more valuable insight.  Here are a few of their quotes:

“Having an iPad would keep you from carrying books. We could get digital books from the school website. Kids would know how to use any device if their teachers know what websites to show us.”

 “SMART boards would help to visualize concepts, because you can write on them better than a regular erase board.” 

 “We use the computer lab but are allowed to bring digital readers to school.”

 “I like computers for some things but not all.  I would rather have paper and pencil for FCAT to help you focus more. Looking at a screen hurts your eyes.”

 “Kindles look more like a book than an iPad.”

 “SMART boards help if you interact with it.”

 “We use Study Island for homework.”

 “If you have a device, you might get distracted.”

 “Teachers should use apps so kids could play and learn.”

I was also lucky enough to talk with Ms. Tolson to find out what type of professional development would really help her to use technology more effectively. Ms. Tolson has been teaching for over 20 years and is a Pasco County Teacher of the Year finalist. In summary:  “At least one full week with one team at one school, of co-teach work-embedded lesson planning and delivery would help to change the way we teach and the students learn.  Or spend the week with department heads who can then model for their teachers.  I need someone ‘on call’ who can come assist me and help to move the lesson forward.  I can take it from there.”

To learn what is really happening in school today, ask to visit and spend time with the folks that matter – the students, who really do know more than adults about how they learn; and the professional educators, who know what would help them to use technology. Listening and providing a variety of opportunities for all teachers, such as onsite co-teach, can help reach more educators and make a difference.

Epson Debuts New BrightLink Interactive Projectors with Built-In Annotation

For Epson, this month’s TCEA Annual Convention and Exposition served as the debut of their expanded BrightLink education projectors, featuring their all new interactive projector and pen combination.

Epson’s three short throw models – the BrightLink 425Wi, 430i and 435Wi – come with a wall mount and two interactive pens. These models deliver a large interactive learning area at a fraction of the cost of traditional interactive whiteboard systems with variable image sizes from 68-inches to 113-inches diagonal (WXGA) or 63-inches to 106-inches diagonal (XGA).

In addition, Epson’s ultra-short throw series – the BrightLink 475Wi, 480i and 485Wi – offer several new features that bring interactive technology unlike any other to the classroom:

Built-in Annotation: Allows teachers to connect the BrightLink to a variety of devices, including an iPhone®, iPad®, iPod® touch, document camera, DVD player, and more, to share and engage with more content; annotate over the network via a wired or wireless LAN, or annotate using the built-in tools PC-free

Dual Pen Interactivity: Two users can work simultaneously, or independently, with dual pen support and Epson’s Easy Interactive Tools (EIT2) software

Interactive Table: When used with the BrightLink table mount, the ultra-short throw models can transform a table into an interactive surface for small group learning centers or collaborative workspaces

Auto Calibration: Models perform automatic calibration for seamless interaction with the pens

Ultra-Short Throw Distance: Can be mounted as close as 2.8-inches away from the wall to accommodate smaller classrooms or meetings rooms; can create a widescreen interactive area up to 100-inches diagonally and enables users to stand as close as 6-inches away, virtually eliminating hardware and shadow interference

The new BrightLink series of projectors are expected to ship this spring. For more information, click here to request a quote, or contact an AVI-SPL representative by calling (866) 559-8197 today!

Websites for a Digital Makeover

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I had the privilege of seeing Cheryl Conley’s sessions on the 21st Century Teacher at FETC in Orlando a few weeks ago.  Cheryl is a former Florida Teacher of the Year, and I can see why. She was so engaging and enthusiastic!  Cheryl shared examples of technology-integrated lessons that she has used with her 4th graders that really bring learning to life. The following are a few examples of websites that Cheryl shared to help teachers start or continue their Digital Makeover.

http://www.appitic.com/— This website organizes iPad apps by subject and grade level, allowing you to search for curriculum-related learning apps.  Appitic is a collection of more than 1300 apps organized by Apple Distinguished Educators.  If you have iPod carts or access to even one iPad that you can use in your classroom, this site would be a great way to start organizing your content.

http://edudemic.com/  — Edudemic is an excellent resource for all things education technology related that teachers can really use. This website will bring teachers up to speed with resources such as: “The 20 Best Apps for Special Education” and “5 Apps for Organizing School Work.”  If you just don’t know where to start when it comes to integrating technology into your teaching practice, Edudemic is a great starting point.

http://www.voki.com/ — Create speaking avatars and use them as an effective teaching and learning tool. Voki is a free service and also has a database of lesson plans, tutorials on how and why to use avatars in the classroom,  a teachers corner, a “Voki” classroom to create a manage students account, and much more. I visualize this as a opportunity for your students to have ownership over a project by managing a “Voki” project for your classroom. There is so much out there for teachers to learn, let’s flip the classroom and allow the students to teach us a thing or two!

https://www.mheonline.com/apps/  — Textbook companies such as McGraw Hill are making the transition from paper and pencil to digital through a variety of resources, such as this website that features mobile apps for learning. If your school has invested in iPod carts, this would also be an excellent resource.

In this information age there is so much out there that it is difficult to know where to start when it comes to using technology for student achievement.  Choose one really helpful website as a reference point that includes resources you can blend with your existing technology tools.  Have your students be active participants in project-based learning that incorporates your favorite websites or apps. I hope the above sites peak your interest and give you a few creative ideas!

Learning in 3D

3D technology has come a long way since the days of those cardboard specs moviegoers wore to cinemas in the 1950s . Today we’ve been witnessing the rise of 3D from a novelty to a staple of movie theaters and home entertainment.

Only recently has this technology moved into our classrooms.   The number of brand manufacturers of 3D projectors has increased significantly, making the technology more available to K-12 classrooms.  Although not yet widely used, there are a few pioneering school districts implementing 3D.  I was curious to find out if 3D in the classroom improves learning gains and what educators have to say about it.

Boulder Valley School District in Colorado has integrated 3D in four of its schools. From an article in THE Journal, Nov/Dec 2011 issue, titled: “Taking Learning to a New Dimension,” thoughts on the effects of 3D in STEM education come from science teacher Kristin Donley, who says , “I teach mostly biology and chemistry, and a lot of that information is hard to visualize, so 3D really helped them see in much more detail what I was trying to teach them.”  She goes on to say, “As they would do an essay question about molecular processes, for example, they were able to recall details much better from a 3D versus a 2D and were able to put those details in an essay.”  

3D seems to go beyond the “wow” factor and encourages a deeper level of thought processes. Donley’s students, for example were able to demonstrate a higher level of understanding, and the use of higher order thinking skills. Anecdotal evidence points to what could be called the “Toddler Effect.”  Have you ever seen a very young child deeply immersed in play?  Students are deeply engaged in a 3D lesson as they want to know more about what they are seeing, which leads to much deeper understanding. 

Sounds like some of the early adopters of 3D are seeing tremendous benefits for their students.  I can’t wait to see more classrooms coming alive in 3D!