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Big Screen

ManualGrande_180_200_title_mainEliteScreen’s Manual Grande's name says it all: Big screen without a motor to open and close it. The Manual Grande can be had in sizes of up to nearly 17-feet and is perfect for that large lecture hall or auditorium. With a 1.1 gain matte surface, the screen works well with just about any projector and has a wide black border. It comes with a 3-year school warranty.

 

HD and then Some

BenQ_CH100While their imaging is far from 4K resolution, high resolution projectors can add detail to lessons compared with older projectors. BenQ's CH100 does it all without a traditional lamp. At $1,800, it’s on the high side, but the CH100 is powered by LEDs, so it will never need a new lamp. Only about the size of a small notebook, it can deliver 1,000 lumens of brightness. With the latest digital light processing chip, the CH100 can create a 7.5-foot image 6-feet from the screen.

 

Small but Powerful

BenQ_i500BenQ raises the bar for small projectors with the $750 Colorific i500, which not only can wirelessly stream video but can be a Bluetooth speaker as well. Small and weighing just 3.3-pounds, the i500 is powered by LEDs so there’s no expensive lamp to change, although the projector delivers 1,280 by 800 resolution at only 500-lumens so turn the lights off. It can do something few projectors can: directly stream video from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and other services. 

Best of ISTE: The Table that Projects

Feature_conen-table_320x180Epson’s BrightLink Pro family just got a lot bigger with the addition of the All-in-One Interactive Table. Basically an interactive short-throw projector aimed at a reflective tabletop, the Interactive Table lets teachers and students work the way they are most comfortable by changing the screen’s angle to the table. It can accommodate finger or pen input and everything is motorized for easy adjustments of the 50- by 67-inch work surface. Booth 3100.

 

Best of ISTE: Cut the Cord

2794fa32c6ff7057ab319331b27bf216_InFocus-IN5148HDLC-HeroInfocus’s IN5148HDLC projector not only shows full HD material but has the company’s LightCast receiver built in so it can connect with anything from a Chromebook or Android to PCs, Macs and iOS systems. It can deliver 5,000 lumens and its focus, zoom and lens shift are controllable through its remote control. Booth 3833.

 

Best of ISTE: No More Burned-Out Projector Lamps

Boxlight P12Because you never have to replace a burned out lamp and they use a lot less power than conventional projectors, laser projectors, like Boxlight Mimio’s P12 LTU device can be a lot cheaper to operate. Able to show an extra-wide 1,920 by 720 resolution, the ultra-short throw P12 projector has a six-segment DLP color wheel and can put 3,100 lumens onto a screen. It comes with MimioStudio Classroom software and you can order the P12 with touch and interactive technology. Booth 3311.

 

Project and Write

WBTE_01_03Projector screens that double as whiteboards for Dry Erase markers are always compromised: either they are dull or eventually show the telltale signs of stray marks that won’t go away. The latest WhiteBoardScreen from Elite Screens starts with a theater-quality screen that has a 1.1 gain with a matte finish that can improve the look of any projector. Its nanotech resin surface lets you write with dry markers and completely erase anything. Available in sizes as large as 5- by 10-feet, the WhiteBoardScreen has a shelf for holding the markers and eraser.

Up Close with HD

DH758USTIR_04_lWho says you can’t make an interactive short throw projector that can show true HD material? Not Vivitek, because its DH759USTi projector not only can create a 7-foot image from a foot away, but it can show full 1,920 by 1,080 resolution and offer 10-finger interaction with the company’s DT02 laser module. The DLP projector puts out 3,500 lumens of light, has a pair of HDMI and a pair of VGA ports as well as wired networking built in. Best of all, it includes the hardware you’ll need to mount it on the ceiling or wall.

 

Click to Present

Clickshare aThe promise of being able to quickly and easily wirelessly mirror a screen on a projector or display has failed to materialize for schools – until now, that is. Barco’s ClickShare can not only simplify mirroring a screen, but uses both 802.11ac WiFi channels for top resolution and video quality.

I looked at Barco’s CSE-200 set, which has a host base station that you plug into a display’s HDMI port, and a pair of small ClickShare modules. The kit is a huge step forward in terms of making screen-sharing easy and quick, but at $1,750, it’s an expensive necessity. There are also versions with a single ClickShare button module and one with four.

After you’ve plugged the base station into a projector, it instantly shows directions for connecting. Rather than a discourse with IP addresses and passcodes, it has three visually-oriented steps and few words. For PCs and Macs, plug one of the ClickShare modules into a USB port and load the software right from it. It takes less than a minute to install and you only need to do it once.

Clickshare dAfter that, press the module’s central button, which has a lit white circle; it turns red when you’re connected. In about 10 seconds, what’s on your screen is seen by the entire class. Click again to disconnect when you’re done. On the downside, the clicker gets kind of warm if used for more than 10 minutes at a time. It’s not hot, but could be uncomfortable for a small child to use.

Connecting Android and iOS phones and tablets is a little more complicated and constraining. That’s because there’s no ClickShare module available to plug in. You’ll need to get and install the ClickShare app, but the set up screen has a QR code that makes it a snap. Shoot a shot of the QR code and the software download page pops up. Again, you only have to do this once.

The phone and tablet ClickShare screen has a circular button that looks like the one on the ClickShare module. Tap to connect.

Because the base station has AirPlay technology built in, an iPhone or iPad can mirror what’s on its screen. You can also select individual files from the device’s local storage on an Android or iOS system or an online storage service that are sent to the projector. It’ll even work with the phone or tablet’s camera for a live feed of a chemistry experiment or a student reciting a poem.

Screenshot_20160615-080128On the downside, for schools that have standardized on Chromebooks, Barco doesn’t have software for these devices, but is working on it and could have an app ready by summer.

At any time two can share the display in a split screen format. I displayed an HP EliteBook Folio and a Google Nexus 9 at the same time, making it a good tool for comparing or contrasting what’s on the screens of students or putting an image of the Declaration of Independence on the side and the text on the other. Other Barco ClickShare products allow you to connect up to four screens, but none let the teacher save the material for later use or distribution to the class.

Because it uses both the 2.4- and 5GHz WiFi wireless data channels, ClickShare can deliver high-quality HD imaging while allowing any of the clients (teacher or student) to annotate the screen; this obviously works better with tablets and touch-screen notebooks. The device has excellent sound synchronization and delivers smooth video up to its range limit of about 40-feet.

While at $1,750, all but the best budgeted districts will be hard pressed to get ClickShare systems for more than one or two classrooms. It’s a shame because ClickShare belongs in every classroom that has a large display or projector.

A-

CSE-200 host

Barco ClickShare CSE-200

$1,750

+ Easy wireless connections to projector or display

+ Uses both 2.4- and 5GHz WiFi channels

+ HD-capable

+ Includes audio

+ Software for tablets and phones

+ Split screen

 

- Expensive

- Chromebook software not ready

How Low Can You Go?

Pjd5153_left_hires_1$500 projectors are old hat, $400 ones are more interesting, but what about a $330 classroom projector? That’s the bottom of the price pyramid for Viewsonic with its LightStream PJD-5153. The DLP projector is old tech all the way with 800 by 600 pixel resolution, the ability to put 3,300-lumens of light on a screen as well as a pair of VGA ports and S- and Composite video connections, but not HDMI ones. 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tools are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.