TROY, MI-"How is this technology going to affect the teaching, learning and growing of students within our district?" According to Steve Shotwell, director of technology for the Troy, MI, school district, this question is asked at every presentation that he makes before members of the Troy school board. At one meeting last year, Shotwell was prepared to answer the question before it was asked. While he usually addresses the board about computers, servers, wide area networks and the like, the focus of this particular presentation was visual presentation tools.
Hundreds of Elmo P30 XGA visual presenters, Mitsubishi XD450U digital projectors and portable carts were delivered to schools within the Troy School District in Michigan.
The Troy school district was to vote on a $1 million proposal to replace and upgrade existing technologies in each of its schools. When teachers were surveyed as to what technologies they most needed and wanted for their classrooms, a priority of all teachers was obtaining the latest Elmo visual presenters for elementary classrooms, followed by new projectors. A 10-member committee was created and looked for cutting-edge technology that would provide maximum image quality, color accuracy, trouble-free operation and ease of use. After discussing these needs with Kevin Gibson of City Animation, an audio-video dealer based in Troy, the committee recommended replacing existing document cameras and overhead projectors that had been used for years with Elmo P30 XGA visual presenters and Mitsubishi XD450U high-resolution digital video projectors.
Shotwell was so impressed by the Mitsubishi projectors that he elected to retire all of the projectors being used throughout the district and replace them with XD450Us. Due to the overall lower cost of the projectors, the Troy district was also able to purchase additional units, raising the number of projectors they own to 185, approximately double the previous number.
Shotwell was particularly impressed with the XD450U's image quality, along with its filter-free design, low fan noise, and DVI connector, which is perfect for use with the Elmo P30 presenter. "Our teachers are very pleased with the overall quality and performance of both of these units," he said.
Shotwell demonstrated the equipment to the Troy School Board last year. First of all, he noted that the advanced technology allowed the images to be easily viewed without having to dim the room lights, saying, "The brightness and clarity is far superior to other products we reviewed." He proceeded to show how easy it is to present documents and pages from books to large groups of students; freeze images while flipping pages; zoom in for close-ups of everything from pictures to peg boards; and create snapshots of images that can be captured on SD memory cards and called up at will. Shotwell also explained how the presenter's S-video feature enables teachers to display images on monitors and switch from computer to presenter with the touch of a button. He described how other features, such as auto focus and white balance, make it easy for teachers to display images without having to deal with focus or iris controls.
Gibson described the excitement shown by teachers and students alike when their trucks pulled up to the various schools. "We heard teachers yelling 'The Elmos are here' and one kindergarten student actually walked up to the presenter and said, 'Welcome to our school, Elmo.'"