More than 500 ed-tech companies exhibited at this year’s National Educational Computing Conference in Philadelphia. Here’s a sampling of news from the exhibitors offering projectors and presentation tools:
InFocus Corp. demonstrated its new X3 projector, with 1,600 ANSI lumens and a 2000:1 contrast ratio. The X3 uses Dark Chip 2 Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology from Texas Instruments for sharp images that will not deteriorate over time. The projector is wireless and can be used with computers, DVD players, PDAs, satellite TV receivers, and video game consoles. It retails for $1,199.
Mitsubishi showcased its two new business and education projectors, the XD110U ($1,395) and the SD110U ($995), both using Texas Instruments’ DLP technology. Both projectors reportedly blast 1,600 ANSI lumens and will be available sometime in July.
Promethean Inc., which produces the ACTIVboard interactive whiteboard, showcased its recently announced ACTIVstudio2 software for Macintosh OS X. Totally rewritten for OS X, ACTIVstudio 2 includes a large selection of searchable resources, a new interface, and many new interactive tools for lesson creation and student collaboration, Promethean said. ACTIVstudio2 has a new searchable resource library that teachers can use to develop collaborative lessons for the ACTIVboard quickly and easily. Lessons can be saved locally or to a central storage point and catalogued by keywords (such as state standards, topic, grade level, subject, or activity type). The company designed this new feature to encourage collaboration among teachers and turn the lesson creation software into a district-wide curriculum delivery vehicle. ACTIVstudio2 for OS X also features a 3D interface. Each placed object or handwritten annotation casts a shadow on the page, making the images “pop” out from the ACTIVboard. The Lake Washington School District in Redmond, Wash., has decided to place the Promethean Collaborative Classroom solution in each of its 48 schools. School officials said the district-wide implementation was based on four important factors: integration with current district technology; demand-generating pilots; community support; and the district’s evaluation of currently installed classrooms in other school systems. Forsyth County Schools, north of Atlanta, Ga., also has chosen to deploy the Promethean Collaborative Classroom solution, which includes the ACTIVboard, ACTIVstudio, and ACTIVprimary lesson development software, as well as attendant interactive learning devices.
SMART Technologies announced that the Bellevue School District in Washington has standardized on SMART Board touch-sensitive displays for classroom instruction. Starting this school year, additional 545 SMART Board interactive whiteboards will be installed in the district’s 28 schools, bringing the total to nearly 900–or one in every classroom. The district also has deployed a teacher-training program with SMART Notebook software and SMART Ideas concept-mapping software in preparation for the large installation. To support teachers with technology training and curriculum building, Bellevue has employed 22 full-time technology curriculum coaches. The coaches help teachers learn to create lessons using Notebook and SMART Ideas, which ship free of charge with all SMART Boards. By next June, all of Bellevue’s Notebook and SMART Ideas software files will be made available on a district web site for teachers to share, critique, and build upon.