Epson’s ultra-short throw projectors are helping the next generation of digital learners, and the students of St Luke’s Grammar School are reaping the benefits.
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In today’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) learning environment, a generation of students have grown up with handheld devices.
With the proliferation of mobile devices, interactive projectors have become a staple item in every classroom, catering for collaborative learning spaces which support visual and auditory learning. iPads, laptops and tablets are now commonplace, and aid the experience through digital note-taking, audiobooks and video lessons.
To keep pace with this digital revolution, St Luke’s Grammar School, in northern Sydney, is constantly looking for the latest technology. Andrew Longhurst, Director of IT, says the school recently installed four Epson EB-695Wi interactive projectors to augment its existing devices across two campuses, which cater for pre-kindergarten through to Year 12. Andrew says he has been working with Epson for more than four years and their reliable projectors were installed for the school’s new state-of-the-art library renovations, the Learning Hub, an open plan space.
“Our school offers a BYOD iPad program in our junior school for Years 5-6 and a laptop program in our senior school through to Year 12,” Andrew explains.
“BYOD fits in with our new Learning Hub because we’ve changed from a traditional and rigid learning space to an open plan. This flexibility allows for students and teachers to work remotely with a range of multimedia apps, including YouTube videos, interactive flip charts and PowerPoint presentations.”
Andrew says the school installed the EB-695Wi because of the technology’s capacity to project a larger image than usual. The ultra-short throw projectors provide a 100” image from as little as 28cm away with virtually no shadow interference. The end result means students can take in and read information from all sides of the room.
“Size of image and price per size of image was the overall factor in our decision-making. We’re using them predominately in two types of spaces. One of which is our two new music rooms, which have fairly wide dimensions so size of image is crucial.
“The Learning Hub is a bright room so the larger images help reduce glare in a room with glass windows. The projectors have been paired with the Epson Cable Management & Connection Box, which allows us to simplify the use of each projector for users in a shared space, so we don’t have remotes that go missing.”
Andrew explains that a key consideration was the brightness of the projector. Using the company’s powerful 3LCD technology, Epson says the projectors provide an image three times brighter than their leading 1-chip DLP competitors, with equally high colour brightness and white brightness. Andrew says the colourful effect leaves student’s feeling more engaged with their learning, as the brighter images display colours of up to 3,500 lumens.
All Epson projectors are based on 3-chip LCD technology. One chip processes each primary colour continuously (red, green and blue), which adds to the realism of the image. Colour brightness is also particularly important in classrooms where ambient light is overbearing.
“We specifically use the Epson projectors because of the 3LCD technology. LCD provides equal brightness across the colour range. After seeing the results, we’d never go anything below 3200 lumens,” Andrew says.
He says the projectors have been paired with Apple TVs which allows BYOD students to share images from their iPads and laptops in a collaborative learning space.
“A BYOD projector is really powerful for students who want to share what they’ve learnt with their peers and also lead other students in their own learning, whether that be lesson plans in the form of movies, images and websites – or their own creations.”
Finger touch and dual pen capabilities allow multiple students to annotate their learning on a whiteboard, Andrew adds, and supports an engaging and flexible learning environment. It also caters to those who learn visually, he adds.
“We pair our Epson projectors with standard whiteboards. One of our music teachers makes use of interactive flip charts. But we also have teachers who prefer to use that more tactile whiteboard marker approach so having an interactive projector means that we can cater to both teaching styles.”
The projectors can also be seamlessly installed with a flexible wall mount function, reducing the need for third party installations. Andrew says a number of Epson models have been installed in-house by school staff in a simple and quick relocation.
He adds that another crucial factor schools consider when purchasing any technology is its reliability. As schools often find themselves time poor and budget conscious, minimal maintenance issues are just as important as an effective product.
Epson’s lamp and filter share the same 10,000 hour replacement schedule when run in eco mode. This saves schools money and time by having only one replacement cycle. Power is also conserved through eco mode and light optimiser mode, which adjusts the lamp brightness and standby audio.
“The replacement lamps and the cost of those make them a really economical unit. I’ve got older units up to five years old that are still going strong.”
And as school’s increasingly move towards collaborative and flexible learning spaces, today’s BYOD learner will increasingly look to mobile technology that can be used in a variety of areas.
“Most of our spaces we are building now align with a view that they will be flexible and used in a different way in five years’ time. Those classrooms with desks all facing forwards have gone by the wayside.”
St Luke’s Grammar School’s Learning Hub is a multi-modal environment which allows students and teachers to access a range of intentionally designed learner-centred spaces, as well as carefully collected and curated resources. With access to interactive technology, students will learn to use their devices responsibly and in consideration with others.