Presentation power: improvements in display screens and projectors offer colleges new ways to `show their stuff.' (Technology).NOT LONG AGO, A STATE-OF-THE-art presentation system was a bulky overhead projector wheeled around on a primitive metal cart. Using one meant waiting for it to arrive in a classroom, sweating through awkward moments of setup, and trying to explain regular malfunctions.
Thankfully, those days are over for instructors like Carolyn Bentivegna, an associate professor of biology at Seton Hall University Seton Hall University is a private Roman Catholic university located 14 miles from Manhattan in historic South Orange, New Jersey. Founded in 1856 by Archbishop James Roosevelt Bayley, Seton Hall is the oldest diocesan university in the United States. . Now, teaching in one of the 60 classrooms at SHU equipped with Sharp LCD fixed ceiling projectors The ceiling projector or cloud searchlight is used to measure the height of the base of clouds (called the ceiling) above the ground. It is used in conjunction with an alidade, usually positioned 1000 ft (304.8 m) away and wherever possible set at the same level. , things are infinitely more convenient, she says. Bentivegna can arrive early, plug in her computer, and be assured that everything will work smoothly.
Other educators around the country, using products from various manufacturers, have similar stories to tell. And though there's always room for improvement, the future of presentation systems is "pretty exciting," says Gary Kayye, chief visionary of Kayye Consulting (www.kayye.com) in Chapel Hill, NC. Both portable and fixed ceiling projectors should continue to improve dramatically in the next two years, he says.
Bright ideas. One rapidly improving feature that classrooms are universally welcoming is the ability to adjust brightness and contrast levels. It means that teachers who (like Bentivegna) teach both day and night classes, won't have to fiddle with Verb 1. fiddle with - manipulate, as in a nervous or unconscious manner; "He twiddled his thumbs while waiting for the interview"
manipulate - hold something in one's hands and move it overhead lights or window shades while presenting a lecture. Companies are already responding to this need. For example, Canon's latest multimedia projectors (ranging in price from $1,500 to $7,000) feature Turbo Bright System technology which boosts brightness as much as 25 percent, to 3700 lumens in their top model.
Network news. Possibly the most important short-term innovation to come, will be ease in network connectivity. Companies such as JVC JVC Victor Company of Japan (or Japan's Victor Company)
JVC Jewelers Vigilance Committee
JVC Jesuit Volunteer Corps
JVC Jet Vane Control (directs VLS-launched missiles)
JVC Jonker-Volgenant-Castanon , Mitsubishi, Sharp, and Sony offer networkcapable projectors ranging in price from $2,000 to $20,000. Soon an instructor will be able to stick one of these highly portable devices into his bag, carry it into a classroom, plug it into an Ethernet port A socket on a computer or network device for plugging in an Ethernet cable. See WAN port. , and retrieve a presentation he already prepared and stored on the network. The newest breed of systems allows cable-free hookups, sans laptops, real-time communication, and remote monitoring--all of which should soon become the standard.
Familiar feel The interface on these machines will also grow sophisticated enough to allow users to browse the Internet and access Web resources in presentations. The look and feel of the operating system operating system (OS)
Software that controls the operation of a computer, directs the input and output of data, keeps track of files, and controls the processing of computer programs. will most likely mimic (if not actually employ) Windows CE (Windows Consumer Electronics) Microsoft's version of Windows for handheld devices and embedded systems that use x86, ARM, MIPS and SHx CPUs. Windows CE .NET superseded Windows CE 3.0. , a mini-version of the Windows operating system already used in PDAs and cell phones. The prevalent understanding of and familiarity with Windows in university communities will make the systems intuitive for instructors, a huge advantage for faculty who are uncomfortable with new technology. The simplified interface is a growing requirement at many universities; besides making the instructor's life easier, it allows IT staff to concentrate on IT issues, rather than on user training.
Standardization across campus is also extremely important. For Don Carter Don Carter may be:
There is, however, the chronic issue of platform compatibility to address: Kayye sees the Presentation System industry advancing largely through use of Windows technology, because Apple has focused somewhat less on the needs of industry. This means that university officials who use Apple products as a standard might have to reconsider, when it comes time to evaluate their projectors.
Joe Schuch, manager of ATN ATN Acute tubular necrosis, see there Multimedia Classrooms at the University of North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures
Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop. , Chapel Hill, thinks that the advent of the digital video interface will eliminate some of these and other compatibility issues. "Right now, the biggest challenge for manufacturers is the accusation that they're building a commodity with a calculated expiration date Expiration Date
The day on which an options or futures contract is no longer valid and, therefore, ceases to exist.
The expiration date for all listed stock options in the U.S. ," he says. For an LCD projector See LCD TV, data projector and LCD panel. to convert an analog signal An analog or analogue signal is any time continuous signal where some time varying feature of the signal is a representation of some other time varying quantity. It differs from a digital signal in that small fluctuations in the signal are meaningful. to a digital one, he explains, it must be able to recognize various incoming frequencies. The problem is that most LCD projectors today are aware only of frequencies that existed when the product was manufactured, so the are less able to adapt. Digital video carries more information with the signal itself, which Schuch hopes will translate int greater longevity for the devices.
DOES SIZE MATTER? Kayye says that for schools the can't afford to spend between $50,000 and $100,000 to outfit classrooms with the latest technology (including pricey Pricey
Term used for an unrealistically low bid price or unrealistically high offer price.
Of, relating to, or being an unrealistically high offer. An offer to sell a security at $50 when the current market price is $47 is pricey. ceiling projectors), the portable market is particularly attractive. Sony's new VPL-FE110, for example, is a state-of-the-art machine that features 4000 ANSI lumens A measurement of light that has been standardized by ANSI. It is commonly used to rate the brightness of a data projector. An ANSI lumen rating uses an average of several measurements taken across the face of the light source. and a 30MB storage capability, but carries a price tag of $22,000. Less powerful but reliable portable systems can cost as little as $2,500.
Portable projectors, already lightweight at three to five pounds, will only get lighter over the next year; some will weigh as little as 1.5 pounds, says Kayye. Of course, as ultraportable systems become smaller, they also become more vulnerable to theft and careless misplacement mis·place
tr.v. mis·placed, mis·plac·ing, mis·plac·es
a. To put into a wrong place: misplace punctuation in a sentence.
b. . This is a major complaint with the machinery often cited by university officials. "The smaller size is great for portability, but a drawback because people can stuff the systems into their backpacks," says Paul Fisher Paul Fisher is the name of:
The obvious way to get around the hitch? Bite the bullet and invest in the ceiling projectors. Kayye points out that these (yes, costlier) systems are growing more sophisticated, with features such as built-in alarm technology that alerts authorities of an invasion before a machine can be removed from its post.
Another technology advancement that university administrators seem particularly excited about is flat-pane display. Schuch says some of the advantages include ease of installation and reduced heat Fit generation, compared to a CRT (1) (C RunTime) See runtime library.
(2) (Cathode Ray Tube) A vacuum tube used as a display screen in a computer monitor or TV. The viewing end of the tube is coated with phosphors, which emit light when struck by electrons. monitor. Flat screens don't have as many image degradalion problems either, he says.
SHU is still in the early is stages of integrating flat at screens into the classroom, but and Fisher points out that lighting is less of an issue when dealing with a flat screen. And, he adds, prices have come down dramatically: from about $10,000 for a 50-inch screen to $5,000. Kayye predicts that by 2003, as the consumer market begins to embrace the screens, their cost should plummet to about $2,000 while the size of the largest screens should increase by about 20 inches.
Right now, though, the technology hasn't advanced to the level university educators had hoped for. For one thing at says Kayye, the only flat screens currently available that are larger than 20 inches, are plasma displays--some of which weigh as much as 100 pounds. By the end of this year, however, flat-screen LCD models weighing about one-quarter as much as plasma displays Also called "gas discharge display," a flat-screen technology that uses tiny cells lined with phosphor that are full of inert ionized gas (typically a mix of xenon and neon). Three cells make up one pixel (one cell has red phosphor, one green, one blue). will be released, says Kayye, But there's another major issue: While the clear picture makes the flat screen display ideal for small classrooms, the current size ranges limit effectiveness in larger settings. One way around the problem, though costly, is to connect a number of panels to create a video `wall.'
Kayye envisions a time, perhaps just two years from now, when video walls will be the standard tool used in collaborative learning Collaborative learning is an umbrella term for a variety of approaches in education that involve joint intellectual effort by students or students and teachers. Collaborative learning refers to methodologies and environments in which learners engage in a common task in which each . Collaborative learning will supplant sup·plant
tr.v. sup·plant·ed, sup·plant·ing, sup·plants
1. To usurp the place of, especially through intrigue or underhanded tactics.
2. distance learning, he says, and will allow students at different ends of the earth to view each other and interact in life-size settings. He adds that schools might one day choose to set up satellite `virtual' classrooms, it where students can gather in rooms outfitted with video walls and engage with professors who appear to be standing right before them--no projector-on-wheels required.
Presentation System Providers 3M New: MP8749 Multimedia Projector; 3M Wall Display www.3m.com/meetings Canon New: LV-7545, LV-7345 "Turbo Bright" projectors www.canonprojectors.com Fujitsu New: LPF-4800, lPF-7700 LCD displays www.fujitsugeneral.co.jp/english/products JVC New: DLA G20 networkable projector pro.jvc.com/prof/jvchome1.html General Presentation Systems Turn-key builder of audiovisual and conferencing systems www.genproj.com Mitsubishi New: X490U, $490U Natural Color Matrix displays www.mitsubishi-projector.com/ NEC New: LT75Z, LT150Z, VT45, VT650 featuring "Keystone Correction" www.nec-pj.com/ind pj.htm Panasonic New: PT-LC50U, PT-LC70U micro-portable projectors www.panasonic.com/pbds/presentations.html Sony New: VPL-FX50 LCD Data Projector bpgprod.sel.sony.com/bpcnav/appgroup/10007.BPC.html Sharp New: XG-P20X (display), PG-M15X/S (ultra-portable) sharp-world.com/products/text/lcd.html Toshiba New: TLP B2, TLP X20/21, TLP 780/781 projectors www.toshiba.com/presentations/ Zenith New: LXG 120, DXG 210 projectors wwww.zenith.com Michelle Adelman is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, N.Y.