Wither the chalkboard? Projectors are becoming an invaluable tool for teachers

Projector maker Epson rides Chromebook classroom surge with launch of collaborative projection app.

Richard W. Walker
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Richard W. Walker

Richard W. Walker is a freelance writer based in Maryland who has been covering issues and trends in government and public sector technology for mo...

New interactive projectors make it easier to project students work. (Courtesy of Epson)

Networkable classroom projectors are altering the way teachers and students are putting their materials to work in the classroom.

While projectors have become a common fixture in classrooms, recent improvements in interactive projector technologies are making them more versatile and in greater demand.

The Pflugerville, Texas, school district, for instance, recently retrofitted all of its high school classrooms with new interactive projectors. The program cost $1.7 million and replaced about 400 projectors throughout the district’s high schools, according to local news reports.

Epson, a top seller of projectors worldwide, is benefitting from and helping to propel the classroom-projector wave, most recently with the release of the Epson iProjection App for Chromebooks. The app will let teachers and students wirelessly display content from Chromebooks on Epson projectors sold in 2014 or later, including BrightLink interactive projectors and most Epson PowerLite projectors.

Using the iProjection app, teachers have the ability to display up to four Chromebook notebook computers simultaneously from a maximum of 50 connected devices, providing a collaborative experience for students and teachers.

Jason Meyer, senior product manager for Epson America, said that Epson worked directly with educators to ensure the app was meeting their needs for classroom collaboration.

“With the app, we developed a way to wirelessly mirror Chromebooks on Epson projectors so that it supports multiple Chromebook displays at the same time,” he said.

Meyer noted that Chromebooks, a thin-client notebook running the Linux-based Chrome operating system, are “now the device of choice” in the classroom.

To be sure, Chromebook sales have soared in recent years. Sales of the notebook computer now account for more than half of all portable devices sold for U.S. classrooms, up from less than 1 percent in 2012, according to a report from Futuresource Consulting.

Using Epson’s new app, teachers and students can move freely around the room and easily share content with the entire classroom by wirelessly sharing Chromebooks with the classroom projector.

When used on its own, the app can display content from a single Chromebook on an Epson projector. And when the app is conjoined with the Epson Multi-PC Projection with Moderator function, teachers can select and display from as many as four Chromebooks at one time.

Epson’s Moderator software on the teacher’s device lets the teacher pick and choose whose content to show, preventing students from beaming inappropriate content to the projector, according to a spokeswoman for Epson.

The app lets teachers wirelessly display documents, photos and Web pages from Chromebooks and most iOS Apple devices running iOS 4.2 or later, including iPhone and iPod touch and most Android devices running Android 2.3 or later, Epson said.

While the app was designed with educator input, no schools are using the app yet because it was just launched, the spokeswoman told EdScoop.

The app is free from the Chrome Web Store. School IT managers can force install the app as part of the student profiles, so that it will be immediately available when students open their Chromebook browser, the spokeswoman said.

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Education IT News, Edtech

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