According to Ted Lai, director of technology and media services for the Fullerton School District in Fullerton, Calif., the BrightLink 450Wi is a great solution for future-proofing classrooms.
Fullerton has been piloting one BrightLink 450Wi projector since November 2009 and plans to install another at the end of January.
Lai said that while traditional IWBs are useful, there are still problems. For example, “with a mounted LCD and IWB, there can be issues of calibration when AC units turn on or the building shakes. The shaking/calibration issues are more pronounced in portables,” he said.
He added: “With the traditional all-in-one IWB units, we have found those are much more stable, but they are also a much higher cost for the hardware and installation. Additionally, the projectors on all-in-one units are generally lower quality than what we are accustomed to. The Epson image is much clearer and brighter and has more accurate colors. Also, the BrightLink is a single unit that is installed, not a board and projector.”
And with fewer parts involved, “less can go wrong or break,” he concluded.
Mike Rodems, founder of AVRover, said adding IWB capabilities directly to a projector eliminates the need for constant recalibration, and it makes setup easy. But he noted that his company’s ONfinity solution will work with any projector, “allowing [schools] to select the projector that matches their needs best.” And with the ONfinity technology separate from the projector, “the interactive technology will be available to use long after the projector wears out, becomes obsolete, or is … damaged,” he said.
Linda Thomas, vice president of marketing for SMART Technologies, the leading manufacturer of IWBs for schools, had this to say about the new IWB-capable projectors:
“We are confident that educators will continue to choose SMART Board interactive whiteboards [owing] to their superior ease of use, driven in part by our touch technology.” (SMART Board users don’t need a stylus to interact with the board, as the company’s technology is touch-sensitive.)
Thomas continued: “There are already many low-cost, pen-only hardware offerings in the marketplace. We are not concerned about another entrant in that space. When educators invest in education technology, they are not just buying a whiteboard or a projector. They are also investing in the content, resources, and services that are required to transform classrooms. They choose SMART because we provide the best complete education solution.”