I finally bought my own projector... A slim and sleek Epson EB-1776w. It's the one on the right in the picture below. The one on the right is it's bigger sistah.. The Epson EBW-18. A friend bought it not too long after mine. Just so happened that the projector she was using at school went on its last legs. And she didn't want to be without a projector to use in class and so she dug into her own pocket and bought her own.
As to why she did not ask her school to buy her a new one... It's supposed to be difficult for schools to purchase such things. In a supposedly technologically dependent world today, schools are still not allowed to buy gadgets or electronic tools with the funds. She could repair the old projector that was on its last legs but we were told by the technician that it was not worth it. Anyway, teachers like her who dig into their own pockets to buy a projector for use in school are rare... People usually will buy if it gives them a tangible return.... like so many other things in life.
I am going to start with my EB-1776w. I am more fortunate. I have a boss who has been very supportive of my foray into the use of technology to aid teaching in class. I recently requested a new projector and was given a EBX-18. The main difference between EBX-18 and EBW-18 is of course the native resolution. EBX-18 has an XGA, 1024 x 768. Both the EBW-18 and EB-1776w come with a WXGA, 1280 x 768. Basically it means that you get a wider screen. Both projectors come with a 3000 ANSI lumens bulb, which means you get a bright projection.
One of the thing I like about the EB-1776w is its size. This is an ultra portable projector with many cool features. It auto corrects the projection you put up, meaning, if once you press the Screen Fit function, it would automatically adjust the projection. No need to fiddle with the buttons. I find that quite cool.
Apart from that, another feature which I like is the Split Screen function. Basically this means that I can use 2 devices at the same time on the projector. I have tried my iPad, connected via the VGA cable and MacBook via the USB cable simultaneously. My iPad would be on the other projector. What this means basically is I can have up to 3 different inputs running at the same time. Nice.
I am still in my early stages of exploring with the use of multiple inputs in class. This is has just been made possible recently after my boss allowed me to convert an unused computer lab into a class. In the coming months, I hope to incorporate the use of Chromebooks in the my classes. I am still reading up, thinking thorugh, hatching ideas of how to go about it as this is something which has not been attempted in my school. My students seem excited too.
Tools like projectors, tablets, computers are great tools to use in class. They make lessons come alive. They tickle the senses and cater to those who need more than just printed words to get moving. However, they are still just tools, I believe. What makes a lesson come alive, or inspire a student to move in certain directions... I think is the teacher. Teaching is an art which also requires constant rejuvanation, resupplying, resourcefulness and so on. And I think that is something which many of us have failed to realize in our quest to churn out students who can score the A(s). Learning is a process. And like many processes, it needs time.
And I think it's a shame that schools have not upgraded all their old projectors to the newer generation ones. I think it's a shame that there is so much control over what can be or cannot be bought using school funds. I think it is a shame that the budget is not decentralisd. I think it is a shame that we still think education is like a production line. I think it is a shame that we have so much bureaucracy. I think it's a shame that many of our Principals feel that they are the smartest people around, the way they force it on the teachers.
I attended a Taklimat (briefing) on PISA recently. And even before the briefing began, this authoritative lady from the Ministry told the teachers sitting at the back to fill up the front places. And that started an 'standoff' in the minds. What these education officers who is in their lofty office chairs failed to take note is.... If their presentation is interesting enough, if they are able to ignite the fire and passion in the audience about the subject matter, by the next session I am sure everyone of us would be clamouring to sit in front. That is what is lacking in our schools too....
Instead, we had to sit through a most boring round of what sounded to me like babbling... The stats could have just been printed out and given to us.... Sigh! This is just an example of what is happening at school too.... Relevance. Being given relevance and providing relevance.... The state of education system... We hear lots of barking but actually very little progress is made because at many points, too many things are crumbling... And sometimes I feel some quarters seem to want it that way. Ignorant and dependent fools are way easier to manipulate. Thinking fools tend to burn themselves and others along with themselves...