For schools investing in new ICT hardware, data projectors are now just as important as individual computers. By projecting computer or video images as large-screen displays they turn ICT into a whole-class activity and allow teachers and students to show others their digital achievements.
School assemblies can offer clips of weekend school sports action or pages of news freshly culled from the Internet.
Newton School in Powys, Wales, recently used a data projector to turn their record of achievement into a "mini Oscars ceremony". As students came forward a PowerPoint presentation showed their pictures and details up on the big screen while the music pulsed.
Three factors have prevented projectors making a more immediate impact in classrooms - lack of brightness , size and cost - but this is changing. The MP1600 from Compaq sets a new standard for portability, brightness and ease of use.
The shape of the projector is vertical - like a chunky book sitting on its spine - and at less than 1.9 kg, this projector is certainly light enoug. Utilising Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology developed by Texas Instruments, the projector creates a crystal clear display which is bright enough to use in classrooms without the need of blinds.
The MP1600 also manages display across a wide range of screen resolutions from VGA up to SXGA, the highest resolution commonly supported by computer display cards.The projector also works with Apple Mac computers. Price remains the final frontier however, as at over pound;3,000, portability comes at a higher cost than larger desktop models.
Other manufacturers are rushing to bring lightweight projectors to the market. Sony and CTX have similar products on the way. Soon there will be a long list of teachers offering to take the projector home at weekends - especially when there is sport on TV!
Compaq MP1600 pound;3,293 excl. VATVideo adaptor pound;198 excl. VAT Tel: 0845 2704222www.compaq.co.ukeducationindex.asp John Davitt
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