Classroom of the Not-So-Distant Future

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By Adam Reynolds

 

The future is not so far away. Numerous technological modifications have been made to the BASH library classroom, and it is serving as a model for all classrooms at the high school.

The room is equipped with a projector that can give a whiteboard the capability to behave like a Smartboard. This projector can mirror your iPad (Apple TV) and provide access to broadcast television. The technology in the classroom has already started to be implemented in other classrooms throughout the school.

“As Smartboards and projectors break or suffer from the effects of age, we will replace them with the new projectors [Epson Britelink 485/585 WI Ultra Short Throw],”  says Mr. Scott Major, Boyertown Area School District Director of Information Technology.

The projectors can be  integrated with laptop computers, so students will be able to take full advantage of the new technology in classrooms as the school moves to provide students with individual laptops over the next five years.

The room includes:

Improved Projector Capability. The new Epson ultra-short throw projector allows a whiteboard to become an interactive Smartboard. This is better than the mounted Smartboards because it gives teachers full functionality of their existing white boards. The projector also eliminates shadows, performs better in brightly lit rooms and eliminates the temporary blindness teachers experience when they stand in front of the board and look straight ahead

The new projectors are also more cost efficient at $1,549 each vs. the $3,000 cost of Smart Boards plus a $600.00 projector, and the bulbs for the new projector are $80 as opposed to the $300 for existing Smartboard bulbs.

They will be put into classrooms as the current ones break down; some high school and elementary classrooms have already upgraded. The projectors will also go into new classrooms built during the high school’s construction project, which begins in the fall.

• CATV and Apple TV functionality. This new classroom model provides students and staff with the ability to watch educational television shows and movies through the new projectors. It also provides a series of apps to help make lessons more interactive.

The projected TV will replace current televisions in classrooms, which are smaller and harder to hear. The new setup also includes a speaker and a microphone system, which makes lessons, using the equipment, even easier for students or large groups to hear.

Students will be able to get Cable TV channels through their web browser, including Fox 29 News, BASH TV, BASD TV, ABC, CBS, NBC, The History Channel, and the Weather Channel.

Apple TV allows students or teachers to play songs from ITunes and watch channels such as PBS, ESPN, ABC, the Smithsonian Channel, and Bloomberg News.

•Rolling tables. Desks in the new classroom have been replaced by wheeled tables that are more functional and efficient. “It will make the classroom more interchangeable,” Major said. “It’s all about communication and collaboration.”

Currently, any teacher can get training to use the library classroom. Students are also allowed to  use the room as a study space. As the new technology is put in classrooms, all teachers will have the opportunity to be trained to fully utilize it.

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