The problem with touchscreen versus projector is the cost of the touchscreen to start with at the moment. You can get a 100inch image from an interactive projector for about £2k (installed etc), TVs are just in a compeltely different price bracket, pushing double that, which means even over a lifetime the TV would be more expensive by my reckoning, which is a real shame but a better image won't make members of SMT approve double the cost for a similar result.
Just had a look at the 82" clevertouch, that is more of a want than a need ha ha!
interactive projectors are pants you have to calibrate them all the time, have a mind of their own and cost way too when you can pick a interactive board and projector for cheaper.
We have 40+ Epson interactive projectors installed across the school & have been using them since Jan 2011. The projectors have been very reliable, initially we had a load of problems with the pens until Epson replaced them with a new improved version. They are all networked & I can control them & monitor status (temperature, lamp life etc) centrally using an Epson application on my PC. Calibration takes longer as there are more 'points' than on a Promethean board but once done does not need to be redone.
We bought a site licence for RM Easiteach Next Generation as this provided similar functionality to ActivInspire but at a fraction of the cost; Promethean are not keen to allow you to use their software on 3rd party hardware & make it very unattractive financially to do so.
The Epson units need quite a high ceiling height if you are to get a decent screen size...... a couple of our rooms had sloping ceilings & were too low so we had to install 'all-in-one' IWBs.
They are also sensitive to reflections off the surface you are projecting the image onto, so a matt finish is recommended. We discovered when the sun is low in the sky that a slightly reflective wall/whiteboard + direct sunlight + poorly fitted blinds moving in the breeze can cause 'phantom' movement of the mouse pointer on the boards.... the kids were convinced the room was 'haunted'.
I would certainly recommend you visit a school using them if they are under consideration.
Last edited by broc; 22nd May 2012 at 10:08 AM.
We have a couple of the InFocus ones, and they are alright, but not stellar. They aren't suitable for bright rooms in my experience, as the wands have tracking problems when there isn't a good contrast level, but that may be particular to to the brand.
I also wouldn't install anything that can't be used with fingers in any classroom below Year 5.
We use Dell interactive projectors bundled with software,hdmi(handy for those ipad thingys),ultra short throw and a crisp picture,replacement pens are expensive, but overall compared to having a board and projector installed this to us was the way to go! Supplied and installed by the nice chaps from XMA.
Installed they look the part and they are suitable for our Primary School especially if your going down the ipad route.
Only gripe with some staff was not being able to use a certain branded interactive software .Updating bundled software sorted out some compatiblity issues with flip charts.
All staff seem to be happy :-) all in all a good result.
Don't forget to think long-term - while the purchase costs are similar between interactive boards and projectors, an interactive board will outlive its projector, so if you buy interactive boards, you just need replace the projector after 3-5 years and leave the original board in place.
You can expect anything from 10 to 15 years life span, manufacturers quote 50,000 hour minimum back light life. However lamp replacement isnt possible. I'm over Newbury way, any questions on touch LCD am happy to answer, hope you managed to get to see some on Monday!
So we now have two Smart Projectors in the school.
What can I say about them, they are much better then the Hitachi one we trialled. They work using Infra-Red, which means they don't need calibrating as such like a board does. The projector detects where the infra-red is on the wall/ whiteboard and moves it accordingly. Although we don't have the problem of the wall shaking, I would imagine that using infra-red like this means that shaking isn't a major issue. All in all I am actually very impressed so far, and so are the teaching staff that have tried them.
They have a HDMI in for those lovely Apple TVs.
The downsides are, the pens need charging via a USB, they are meant to last 20 hours off a 2 hour charge. But since you only get one pen with each projector, the staff have to remember to charge them. The pen holder/ box effort they provide feels cheap, and although it has a gap so you can dangle a cable into it, I think they should have basically made it a charger like an electric toothbrush where it just slots into place, plugging in a USB is stupid. The pens are also ~£100 to replace and although they look pretty sturdy, pens being lost or broken is still an issue. The cost of them also puts me off having "spares" just sat around.
Your also only get a 3 year warranty, not the standard 5 like SmartBoard.
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