The times are a-changing in American classrooms, says Casio Senior Director Joe Gillio.
“Research shows that students understand more, learn more and retain more when they are actively engaged in the learning process,” he explains. “So educators at all levels, from elementary schools through universities, have gone to student centered, project-based teaching models.”
Part of the reason for the change is the remarkable amount of information that’s available online. It’s no longer necessary for an instructor to serve as the font of knowledge, although, Gillio says, “there’s still a need to guide students in understanding which information sources are credible and which are not, and in processing the information they find into useful knowledge.”
While the active learning model is great, the technology to support it can be remarkably expensive. What’s been missing has been a simple, low-cost way for students to present what they learn while instructors retain enough control to keep everyone on task.
That missing link is available now, through Casio’s Educational Solutions technology.
Educational Solutions, available for no charge, adds simple wireless projection to any classroom, from Chromebooks, Apple and Android phones and tablets, and Windows and Macintosh computers. Critically, it includes a Moderator function that allows the instructor to control which student devices are connected to the projector.
It works like this.
The technology coordinator creates One Click Connection files for each classroom using the C-Connection App available at no cost on Casio’s website, then uploads them to the school’s shared server. Next students and teachers download these files, and they appear in their app drawers or desktops along with their other apps.
Because the technology manager can assign simple names to these files, such as “Room 22” or “Biology Lab,” it’s easy for those who work in more than one Casio classroom to connect to the appropriate projector.
Now when instructors want to make presentations, share web pages, videos, or anything else on their laptops or mobile devices, they simply click the classroom icon to establish wireless connections with their Casio projectors and display their screens.
In doing so, there’s no need to remember a command like Function-F4 or to open a simulcast app to tell the device to output to the projector. Merely clicking on the icon takes care of everything.
Instructors can use Casio’s web service page, a browser-based interface, to give them moderator control over access to the projector. Now when students click on their classroom app icon, instead of taking over the projector, their names appear on a list on the instructor’s device. If the instructor decides to change the image on the projection screen, she or he simply clicks on a name and that students device will be displayed.
In this way, the instructor can wander the classroom, assigning problems or projects to individuals and groups, and checking on their progress. At the same time, he or she can send material to the projector, further explaining the problem or sharing new insights. When a student or group is ready to address the class, the instructor clicks on a name and transfers the connection to the projector.
The Projector Remote feature provides a remote control for the projector from the instructor’s device. Now the instructor can wake up the projector, change inputs, and control volume levels for any audio without having to search for the remote control. The PC Remote feature allows teachers to open files and advance PowerPoint slides from their devices without having to keep returning to their desk or podium.
A nice enhancement is the ability to project the screens of multiple devices and project them at the same time so that the instructor can stimulate discussion or debate. The instructor can choose and project up to four screens at once, so students can compare their findings.
At the end of the class, there’s no need to turn off the projector. Pressing the stop button on the app removes the projected image from the screen while maintaining the network connection status. If another teacher enters the room, he or she can connect quickly, and if not, the projector will automatically power off after 20 minutes.
It makes perfect sense for Casio to introduce this technology, Gillio says, because the company’s focus has always been on education.
“Casio was the first mover in high-brightness, solid-state projection technology, introducing our LampFree light source back in 2010,” he explains. Since that time the company has sold more than a million LampFree projectors, achieving the highest market share in solid-state projection for the last eight years. The majority of its projectors are installed in K-12 schools, though recently more and more are going into higher education.
Casio uses a unique laser/LED hybrid light source, which combines the best of both technologies to produce more lumens per watt and more lumens per dollar than either all-laser or all-LED projectors. As a result, Casio hybrids use about 30% to 50% less electricity than most comparable laser projectors. Compared to bulb-based projectors, their purchase price is somewhat higher, but the lifetime cost is far lower, with no replacement lamps or filters to buy and little or no labor needed for maintenance.
Much of Casio’s success is due to the extreme reliability of their technology, with fewer than 1% of their projectors requiring service during their five-year warranty period. Compared to projection lamps, the hybrid light source produces very little heat, and so the electronic components, power supplies and optical engines deteriorate far more slowly. Service, even for older projectors, is rare.
Educational Solutions is simple, effective, and free of charge. It will work with any current network-capable Casio projector. These include:
“Educational Solutions,” Gillio says, “is meeting a need our educational customers have felt for several years. They’ve empowered their students to direct their own learning, and in doing so have dramatically improved outcomes. Now they have an easy, inexpensive way to allow students to present what they learn to each other and to their instructors.”