Whether for a presentation or merely to assist in teaching, hundreds of thousands of teachers across the world rely on classroom projectors on a daily basis. Some opt to use their to display documents, written pieces, and example worksheets. Others, particularly those teaching at a higher level, might use their class projectors to assist students in showing their own work to the rest of the class.
Whatever their application may be, the value of a good classroom projector is rarely disputed. With a clear, powerful, and relatively easy to use projector as part of your classroom, displaying example projects and showing off work becomes much more simple. Unfortunately, many teachers are given poor quality projectors, either by their school itself or due to a complete lack of available funds.
This simple guide can help you find the best classroom projector, whether for a small classroom or a significantly larger lecture theater. While the immediate value of upgrading your projectors might not seem obvious, the results can be incredible. From greater student focus to an increase in the way that your presentations flow, a great classroom projector can have immediate, useful effects.
Lumens, LCDs, and Projector Lighting
At the heart of any projector is its clarity and lighting power – two of the most important factors for ensuring that your content is being read and understood by the class. Images that lack light are hard to read and incredibly difficult to memorize, making it difficult for students and teachers alike to see content that’s displayed on an aging, often underpowered overhead classroom projector.
There’s just one measure of a classroom projector’s illumination level: its lumen count. A projector with just one thousand lumens is unlikely to be able to display a crisp, clear image in a larger room, making it difficult for students to understand your presentation. On the other hand, a projector with three or four thousand lumens can display an easily understood message in almost any setting.
While there’s no set level of lumens for effective presentations and information display, most expert teachers agree that three thousand is the best trade-off between clarity and affordability. High lumen values can often drive the price of a projector up significantly, resulting in reduced consideration for other important features such as a projector’s clarity, image crispness, and response speed.
Alongside a classroom projector’s lighting power is the versatility of that lighting. Many projectors are outfitted with a simple setting-based lighting control system, which allows them to function just as well during the daytime as they would in darker settings. This is often referred to as ‘daylight’ or ‘smart lighting’ technology, and it can be an incredibly valuable feature for high-light classrooms.
Clarity, Readability, and Functional Value
High-end doesn’t necessarily mean highly usable. While the projector market seems to be divided into ‘high-end’ and ‘low-end’ categories by enthusiasts and home theater gurus, there’s no need for classroom teachers to invest in the best. Inexpensive projectors are often more effective for use in the classroom than their expensive counterparts, largely because of their strong still image clarity.
What’s this? It’s the measure of how effectively a projector can display a still image, and how easily it can be read by people at a variety of different distances. Projectors that are effective at displaying a still image tend to be more clear and readable than others. This increased clarity makes them more effective for use in a classroom or lecture theater, where readability is the most important feature.
So think in terms of functional value when purchasing a classroom projector. Higher-end equipment designed for ultra-clear photography and visual displays may not be the best when it comes to quick document displays. The most value measure of a projector is its functional value – how it acts when used in the classroom, when placed in front of students, or when used for a major presentation.
Pricing and Classroom Projector Availability
Despite having a reputation for expensive and unreliability, today’s top projectors are priced at fairly reasonable levels and built to last. Lamp lifespans regularly extend towards the tens of thousands of hours when used in low-brightness modes, and pricing has decreased significantly from the earliest days of classroom projector use, often to a level that’s affordable even on a per-classroom basis.
Many classroom projectors are priced around the one thousand dollar mark – a simple measure of a projector’s relative value and quality. Manufacturers such as Sanyo and Sony have introduced many of their own classroom projectors at similar price points to this, aiming to offer a fairly low price on the whole. These projectors are often of a high quality level, despite their fairly low price point.
Classroom projectors are available from a variety of manufacturers, and are often able to be sourced at an educational discount. For the classroom, the lecture theater, or merely the tutoring room, using a projector can help you improve information retention and spice up an otherwise dull lesson.