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Projection Trends in the Education Market

Apr 2, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes

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Figure 2. Reasons for teachers not using projectors.

Figure 2. Reasons for teachers not using projectors.
Click here for a larger image

Recently, NEC announced the addition of the VT800 to its portable projector line. According to Guentner, the new features offered in the VT800 were a culmination of field research in the education market. The projector includes built-in closed captioning “in response to the trend in the K-12 market to make closed captioning mandatory in certain states,” he says.

The projector’s increased 2700 ANSI lumens is to improve performance in increasingly brighter environments. “With the green schools movement, classrooms have more and more ambient light. I would say that, at minimum, a classroom projector needs to be 2500 lumens in order to perform correctly in that environment,” Guentner says. “The VT800 can also act as an AV switcher. The projector has several audio and video inputs so if there is a connection to a self-powered speaker system, the instructor can control source and volume from one remote.”

The VT800 will be available for April 2008 shipment with an estimated street price of $999.

Extreme-short-throw projectors are also options for schools that have limited real estate for technology in the classroom. These extreme-short-throw projectors, such as the NEC WT610, can be mounted 18in. to 20in. away from a whiteboard. “When a projector is close to the wall like that, it reduces several issues. The steep angle means there is very little shadow on the whiteboard and the instructor won’t be blinded by the projector ,” Guentner says.

Looking ahead, Guentner says he sees the higher-education market moving toward 16:9 widescreen projection and switching over to high-definition video. “K-12 will go through this change a few years later with a switch to widescreen," he says. "Some schools are currently buying 16:9 screens and planning to add widescreen projectors in the near future.”

For now, projector use still faces some hurdles. According to TFCinfo’s Use of Projectors in Education Study 2007 (see Figure 2), 59 percent of K-12 teachers cite the lack of projectors as the top reason why they are not using the technology.

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