A few years ago, we bought a digital (data) projector for our classroom.
Sure, our school had a projector on a media cart, but to be perfectly
honest, it was inconvenient to have to share it with the entire school.
(And murder if you had to “wheel” the cart up a flight of stairs.)
We’ve adopted a balanced literacy approach to explicitly teach decoding and
comprehension strategies, and we wanted to use the computer projector
pretty much 24/7. So we splurged a thousand bucks and bought our own.
We set up our data projector permanently on a tall filing cabinet. We use
the entire side of the classroom wall to project a giant image of the
teacher’s PC. Pretty much every day, we would use the data projector during
our modeled and shared reading lessons, as well as during modeled and
shared writing. It was hooked up to the Internet, so we could use it for
our media literacy lessons as well.
Attention-grabbing. After all, we live in a TV generation. (After some initial training, the
novelty wears off and you can use the technology more effectively as a
With the right set-up, you can display an image larger than any overhead
projector image. Easy to read from anywhere in the classroom. In our class, we aren’t
projecting onto your typical, pull-down, overhead projector screen. We’ve
covered one side of the room with white paper and created a huge 7′ x 10′
Can model how to effectively use technology. (Spell check, effective searching on line, copyright issues) as well as
critical thinking skills.
Easy to integrate multimedia into your lessons.
Can model comprehension strategies on non-traditional texts (i.e. blogs, wikipedia, website articles, ezines) as well as media texts
(i.e. commercials, youtube)
Easy to display quickly-changing information on the board (i.e. graphing in Math)
If your school has a scanner (and many photocopiers / printers do have a
scanning feature), then it’s easy to digitize stuff and throw it on the
data projector in the same way that you would throw a photocopied transparency onto the
The biggest draw back is that you can’t (easily) write on your documents (compared to an overhead projector). Sure you may be able to type faster
than you can write, but there are some things that are better done by
handwriting (i.e. revising or editing a piece of shared-writing.) Digital
ink can be tricky or expensive.
Technical difficulties – technology doesn’t always work. Computers crash, hardware fails, bulbs
burn-out… all when you least expect it.
Expensive. Although the price of projectors are continually dropping, you’ll still
have to shell out $500 to $1000 for a decent, new data projector.
Security. We’ve locked our projector to the desk to prevent theft, but that doesn’t
mean things can’t go wrong. Will you lock it up at night? Take it home on
the weekends? Where do you put it when you have a supply teacher covering
Insurance and Replacement Cost: Chances are your personal items aren’t covered under the school’s
insurance plan and won’t be replaced if anything happens. Better call your
home insurance provider to see if your belongings are protected at work.
If you’re ready to start a classroom blog , we’re here to help at http://blog.classroomteacher.ca where you’ll find this information and more detailed information about how
to use technology in the classroom.
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