School audio-visual solutions seem to be converging, with major suppliers of AV products releasing their own versions of solutions offered by competitors in an effort to keep pace. Interactive whiteboard makers are releasing projectors, and projector makers are releasing student response systems—making nearly every supplier a one-stop shop for presentation tools.
For instance, ELMO USA now offers a student response system (SRS), which it demonstrated at the Florida Educational Technology Conference in January . Available in 24- or 32-unit bundles, ELMO’s SRS devices operate on the 2.4GHz radio frequency, with a range of about 50 feet. The software that drives the system works on Windows XP, Vista, or 7 computers.
In another example of this convergence, Promethean unveiled its own version of an interactive tabletop surface at FETC, the ActivTable. Like other companies’ interactive tables, it’s aimed at elementary and special-needs students in particular—but it includes several unique features as well.
At 46 inches, the high-definition LCD display allows up to six students to use it at any one time, with ample room for them to work together on tasks that require problem solving, critical thinking, and group decision making. The ActivTable includes web browsing and tools such as keyboards, math applications, and more, and it integrates with resources and content from Promethean and other vendors, including interactive whiteboards.
See the ActivTable in action:
Promethean also has teamed up with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to offer new interactive math content designed for use with interactive whiteboards and handheld learning devices. “Go Math! Interactive Lessons,” aligned with the Common Core standards for grades K-6, include hands-on activities to help students explore math concepts more deeply, the companies said. The content follows the scope and sequence of HMH math textbooks, but it includes embedded assessments so teachers can use student response systems to gauge understanding before they move on.
SMART Technologies, meanwhile, introduced its first interactive projector, the LightRaise 40wi. It’s a pen-enabled, ultra-short-throw projector that can turn nearly any surface into an interactive learning space. The LightRaise includes SMART Notebook collaborative learning software for collaborative learning, and it comes with a rechargeable interactive pen, a pen holder, USB and VGA cables, and an easy-to-install wall mount. The projector can produce screen sizes up to 100 inches in a widescreen format.
Epson, one of the pioneers in interactive projection technology, introduced a mobile app that lets iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch users present to any networked Epson projector right from their mobile device. Called iProjection, the app allows users to display documents and photos to Epson projectors wirelessly from most iOS Apple devices running iOS 4.2 or later. It’s available free of charge in Apple’s App Store, and it also supports cloud-based file services such as Dropbox or various eMail applications, Epson says.