System Savvy: Smart IT Departments Are Assessing the Value of Projectors and Related Technology on Campus, and Their Timing Couldn't Be Better: Prices Are Still Coming Down. (Presentation Systems)

Article excerpt

Higher ed is now a multimedia experience. These days, more and more instructors are enhancing their teaching with digital audio and video clips snatched from the Web. The old slide show has fallen under the wheels of that oncoming tank, the PowerPoint presentation.

But to pull off compelling instruction in the multimedia age, PowerPoint just isn't enough; the old hardware tools have given way to new technology as well. Projectors, now cheaper and lighter, can link directly to the Internet, allowing professors to push information to students' laptops or to a monitor or screen at the front of the lecture hall. Digital document cameras can photograph three-dimensional objects--a tissue sample or a gemstone, for instance--and project a high-resolution image for all to study and save electronically. And electronic whiteboards can capture information from any number of sources, in real time, and store that information to digital files for retrieval

According to Tom Warger, managing editor, Edutech Reports (, all colleges and universities are using at least some form of projection technology, with "at least a few classrooms equipped." Trouble is, he says, projection systems are still a stepchild of the information technology departments at most IHEs: too high tech to be the purview of the facilities department alone, but not quite top-of-mind to the IT folks. Projection systems are still struggling to find ownership, says Warger, and that means that their care and expansion on campus often have no champion.


But savvier IT departments are assessing the value of projectors and related technology on campus, he says. They're building into their budgets funds for replacement and upkeep, and their timing just couldn't be better, say industry watchers. Prices on projection technology have come down considerably in the past few years. A projector that renders a 1024 x 768 dpi image (XGA resolution) would have cost $12,000 to $15,000 five years ago. …


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