TCEA 2013: New school AV and presentation tools

Listed at $1,250, Epson’s BrightLink 436Wi ultra short-throw interactive projector can be either mounted on a wall or used on a table. Users can interact with projected images from a variety of sources—including tablets, document cameras, Blu-ray players, and VCRs—using two pens at a time, without having to be connected to a PC. The 3,000-lumen projector can deliver an image up to 113 inches diagonally from only three feet away.

Available for $1,199, Epson’s PowerLite 935W delivers ultra-bright images with 3,700 lumens of both color and white-light brightness, for classrooms with lots of natural lighting. Epson also showed two 3D projectors designed specifically for classrooms: the PowerLite W16, based on active 3D technology, and the W16SK, designed with passive 3D technology.

The PowerLite W16, which requires active-shutter radio frequency glasses, sells for $849. The $1,899 PowerLite W16SK is a dual-projection system consisting of two stacked projectors with polarizing lenses, and students can view 3D images with inexpensive glasses priced at only $3 a pair and sold as a box of five pairs. Both systems use energy-efficient lamps that reportedly can last up to 5,000 hours in economy mode, and schools that are part of Epson’s Brighter Futures program can buy replacement lamps at a special discounted rate of $99, Epson says.

FrontRow demonstrated Juno, a new voice-activated system that automates the recording and sharing of lessons and presentations—making it very easy to do this, FrontRow says, even for teachers who are not tech savvy. The system consists of a one-touch teacher microphone; an installation-free digital line array speaker tower that is expandable with up to six additional speakers; desktop software; and up to four simultaneous student microphones.

“The educational potential of lesson capture has excited schools for a number of years, and there are dozens of programs out there that let you record a file,” says Jeff Shaw, product manager for FrontRow, “but not many schools can actually do it, because it’s just not easy. … Even if [they] have the technical skill, very few teachers really have the time.”

Juno’s Echo voice-activated feature lets teachers simply say “begin” to record their voice, as well as student voices, multimedia audio, and any content projected on the computer screen. The system then automatically titles this content with the correct subject based on the teacher’s schedule, and prepares it for uploading to websites for sharing. Videos can be any length and are saved in the device-agnostic MP4 format, viewable on Windows or Mac computers, smart phones, and other devices.

“Now [educators] can record an important concept on a whim, from anywhere in the classroom, without having to rush back to [their] computer,” says Shaw. “It’s shockingly easy now to flip your classroom, improve homework results, and help absent students catch up.”

At TCEA, FrontRow also announced a new lesson capture contest, “How do you Juno?,” that lets schools try Juno free of charge until June 1. Applicants can request a Juno system to participate in the contest until April 15. To enter, they must submit an example of a video lesson or presentation recorded with the system by May 1, and the winners will be announced on May 15. There will be three grand-prize winners and five runner-up prizes, totaling more than $17,000 in value.

Mimio announced several new products at TCEA, including its first projector series (called simply the Mimio Projector), which is available in three models: an interactive version that works with a single pen; another interactive version that works with two pens simultaneously for multi-user input; and a regular projector that can be upgraded to an interactive version through a simple, snap-in device—giving schools an easy path for upgrading later if they choose.

eSchool News Staff

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