Posted on May 18, 2012 By Art Feierman
Ok, you’ve got a budget (hopefully) and some grant money for technology. You know how many projectors you’d like to add to the district this summer.
Long term vs short term costs: Money’s tight? Do you buy a lower cost projector so you can buy more units, even if spending, say 20% more on a projector with low long term cost, would reduce you costs over 5 or 10 years, by 50% or more? Tough call. I do hear from some admins who are so starved for maintenance monies that that have a number of projectors down, simply because they can’t afford the replacement lamps. Those of you doing this a will understand that those costs can put a real dent into your operational budget. In my dealer days, I had a district we sold over 400 projectors to. They literally suffered that problem, of running out of money to replace lamps, and repair out of warranty units. Even stranger, they had grant money for new projectors, but nothing to get the ones they already own, back in action… (I guess that’s like infrastructure in the US, build a new bridge, there’s money, find the money to fix a damaged one, good luck.)
Like the school district level people, you’re probably neck deep in deciding what projectors and where to put them, installation, and of course, having them all installed. You, though, probably do a lot more interfacing with the teachers. Some of you are “caught” between a “rock” (District Managers) and a hard place “meeting teacher demands”. Hmm, glad I’m not one of you.
Besides most of the same types of decisions as the district folks have to make, (I won’t repeat all those bullet points from the paragraph above), you probably have to deal more with exceptions, options… I’m talking about things such as adding wireless presenting or a remote mouse. Integrating a projector with a SmartBoard, or any number of other possible issues that don’t affect all of your projectors, but some. You are probably the people responsible for keeping the projectors running. Consider cost factors, consider the room requirements.Definitely consider labor – changing lamps, cleaning filters, etc. Oh, I have great confidence that you know your job, you should! After all, probably most of the teachers, and all the district IT/AV and budget people are all telling you how to do it. Good luck!
While today a large percentage of projectors going into schools are purchased in quanties, no one for a second, thinks that individual teachers aren’t also involved, and in many cases, the only projectors in schools are there because of the teachers – buying one when the money is available. If your network and IT/AV people aren’t dictating terms to you, then it’s pretty much your call. Your first big question is will the projector be mounted? I suspect that a far higher percentage of individual projector purchases at schools are portable projectors in that they are not mounted, but table top, and locked away when not in use. In many cases, the projectors are shared. Check out your room lighting controls! Make sure, if you want to mount, that the projector can be mounted where it needs to be.
Do you need remote mousing? What about presenting from flash drives – computer free – (only viable if you are not ceiling mounting the projector). If the projector is to be ceiling mounted, then you need to run a USB down to your work area. Close captioning – if you need it, most new projectors have it, but, make sure, there were still three of our fifeen reviewed projector that don’t have it.
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