I got a new tech toy to test yesterday, a Dell S300wi projector. “A projector a tech toy” you say? For sure. This projector is wireless and plugs into the internet. It projects four computers simultaneously, each in its own screen quadrant. The really slick thing is any computer in the school can log in to it and project. There is a logon code to prevent drive-bys. If I have a kid working on code and there is something interesting (an error, an interesting approach, a completed project, whatever) the kid clicks a shortcut on the desktop, enters the login code and the whole class is seeing the monitor on the wall. It behaves the same way with a wireless laptop. This thing is also a short throw projector so it is only about 3 feet from the wall which minimizes obstruction shadows. I am always trying to find ways to get away from the front of the room when teaching. The front of the room is addicting, I think it makes the teacher feel in command and when you have a bunch of people staring at you command is a comforting thing to have. Devices that allow the teacher mobility, that allow students to share and discuss information are where it is at. I am not too sold on Smartboard like devices; they seem to be just a blackboard with some software behind them. The teacher or student is still in the traditional front of the room but now they are also going blind from the projector. I think this projector combined with an eInstruction Mobi pad and the Interwrite software can add a needed dimension to the classroom. The projector does come with an interactive pen that is supposed to do the job of the mouse. It has a severe case of the twitches and it pretty much useless.
New teaching/tech toy