Case Study

Education Matters!! Interactive Projector Technology Enhances The
Learning Environment Of The Classroom

Plano, TX Independent School District (ISD)

Mary Hewett Said: “In Summary, We Believe That The BenQ MP780ST PointDraw™ Projector Has Completely Changed The Learning Environment In The Classroom”.

Situation And Challenge

Today’s media savvy youth are so connected that they consume content at an increasingly faster pace. In the meantime, the classroom experience has become simply an exercise of balancing classroom culture, curriculum, participation, pace and schedule with little room for innovation and attention to student engagement. A teacher using typical tools available in the classroom must compete with Call of Duty, Halo 3, Rock Band and Just Dance. Add Facebook, texting, television, movies, iPad content, NetFlix, Apple TV, 3D movies and Blu-ray, then whole challenging picture of student engagement comes into focus.

How can our communities expect teachers, in the era of decreasing budgets, greater restrictions, noisy media from every direction and larger class sizes to accomplish their education goals with all these challenges? Furthermore, there is continuing pressure from the state and civic authorities to raise test scores, which increases stress for even our best instructors.

The traditional technology implementation within the classroom has helped. However, the usual way technology gets utilized is one-to-one or is simply a monitor type display, which tends to offer too little group inter activity and be too small to engage the entire class.

The School District

As in most school districts, for 4,200 teachers of the Plano, TX Independent school district (ISD), keeping over 55,400 students engaged is a priority. As early as 2008, Plano ISD was able to preview a Texas Instrument innovation that allowed a projector to integrate inter activity using the fast speed DLP chipset. It was obvious even at that early junction a greater interactive experience could play a pivotal role in engagement and sustained learning.

lano teachers had the desire for interactive white boardlike technologies, which would fit well into the current model of projectors with wireless keyboards/mice and annotation software. The addition of PointDraw™ technology would add that extra built-in interactivity. Other districts started adopting interactive white boards, but Plano ISD decided not to go in that direction given that teachers are constrained by the interactive white board itself. In addition, interactive white boards did not provide flexibility and natural flow around the classroom. Many schools and districts have experimented with a variety of projectors. Projection systems can vary widely in brightness, clarity, throw distances, resolution, inputs and maintenance. Plano ISD planned to add projectors in their elementary school classrooms, and during this research they discovered the BenQ PointDraw™ system.

Plano ISD is the 14th largest districts in the state of Texas, and carries influence nationally as one of the most progressive districts with respect to incorporating technology. The school district encompasses pproximately 100 square miles and includes 69 campus sites. Furthermore, Plano ISD continues to add new students each year.

What The Research Showed

Before deciding to use the new interactive projector technology, Plano ISD worked with various brands to pilot the PointDraw™ technology in the classroom. The BenQ MP780ST was installed in two elementary classrooms for testing. Plano ISD has completed installation in 11 elementary schools and will install in 32 more elementary campuses before fall. To complete the learning experience, in addition to installing interactive projectors, Plano ISD is also equipping each classroom with a quality document camera. Furthermore, Plano ISD is able to utilize SAFARI Montage to support video conferencing using the same document camera.

The Results Of The School
District’s Research

Mary Hewett, Executive Director of Instructional Technology commented “This interactive technology has changed the classrooms and enhanced the learning experience for teachers and students. The interaction happens anywhere in the classroom. The pen can be used from any location in the classroom. In addition, traditional interactive board solutions are quite expensive. The price for an interactive white board is roughly twice the cost of the BenQ MP780ST interactive projector and it does not even include the projector.”

There has been plenty of published research around the use of interactive technology, showing that kids learn better, are engaged longer and the teacher has greater flexibility. In reality, learning is facilitated by enabling a learning environment within the classroom. The BenQ MP780ST allows the teacher to change the strategy on how teaching happens within the classroom. As the teaching strategy changes then learners and the atmosphere within the whole class culture changes. The BenQ MP780ST projector and PointDraw™ pen, which allows for a collaboration partnership anywhere in the classroom, provide this two-way learning environment.

Ultimately They Chose BenQ

The district extensively researched the projector vendors using an interactive engine. The BenQ brand kept coming out on top in relationship to the desired standards and issues, such as :

  1. Exceptional visual performance
  2. Overall product quality
  3. Comfortable pen design and recharge capabilities
  4. Smooth pen operation, meaning low pen latency when interacting with the material
  5. Little to no learning curve for the instructor
  6. Low maintenance
  7. Competitive price

The BenQ Q-Draw™ software package, which is bundled with the projector came out ahead of all competing vendors. Plano ISD ultimately got to acquire a district license, which included the rights to share with parents and students at home. BenQ was flexible, listened to their specific needs and provided a customized solution for Plano ISD. BenQ’s education division provided excellent local customer support during the process and deployment.

Project Execution

When installing technology into existing facilities, there is always an on site learning curve, such as the kind of construction, how the school is wired and all of the other details needed in a successful installation. BenQ projectors made the integration process much easier.

The model MP780ST is a short throw projector, meaning that the projector can be placed much closer to the projection screen or surface, minimizing shadowing. Since each classroom is different, installation maps were designed on a classroom by classroom basis. During this project, a custom ceiling mount for the projector to accommodate each of the installation hurdles encountered was designed.

In Summary

According to Juan Alvarez, Director of US Education for BenQ, “Plano ISD selected BenQ for its superior product, high video quality, interactive pen and premier technical/administrative service they received. However, the real value is the incredible learning curve students have enjoyed. Ultimately the Plano ISD plans on equipping over 2000 classrooms with BenQ’s PointDraw™ interactive technology.