Class projectors waste too much valuable time. In some faculties you will need a special remote that’s only good for the projector of a certain class. You will have to sign some documents claiming to be responsible for the stuff and it will not work easily. You might also forget the connection cable. If you are prepared and you brought (or they gave you) a cable, you will still lose several minutes configuring the whole thing to get the image to show on the screen.
I am quite peculiar in connection with these things… First of all I hate bureaucracy. As soon as someone tells me about filling in some forms for the use of blah, blah, blah… I totally disconnect and my brain is already looking for a quicker alternative without all of that hassle. In the case of projectors I found it long ago. There are portable projectors that you can buy for little money and they are quite light to carry. They won’t be as powerful as the one in the class, but with the blinds down, they will be more than enough. The advantage of these projectors is that you can connect a USB stick to them, or an SD card and BOOM! 😎 begin your lecture without wasting any time. If you are determined to show the system what a maverick you are, you can always get the average line of home projectors… for 200€ or… (I just realized I have no pound symbol on my keyboard… well you know the exchange rates anyway…) go totally crazy and get the top-line which will be even more powerful than the ones from any faculty known to man.
The factor you need to consider is the weight… Are you going to carry it around? Then the entry-level machines are good enough for that. If you are going to leave it at your office, then you can invest a bit more and avoid all the problems with cables, paperwork and waste of time configuring the one in the classrooms.
Since we are sharing professional secrets , my dear children, I will recommend you to invest 0.99 cents of euro, pound, dollar or whatever, to get one of those adapters for micro SD to USB. You download a relevant internet video on your phone or tablet, you take the phone card out like a pro, put it in the USB adapter, then directly on your projector´s USB slot and there you go. No cables, no laptop configuration… everything fast and smooth.
And just in case you are wondering, tablets are much better than laptops for an effective lecture. The trick is to have the tablet connected to a keyboard and use it as a light and quick version of a laptop. Android takes less time to load than a laptop’s OS and it has an extra advantage: the Bluetooth functionality allows you to send any file quickly without giving anyone access to your laptop. I use a tablet specifically for teaching. I wouldn’t dare to bring my personal laptop to a Computer Science class for example… Call me paranoid but a hacked tablet is bad and a hacked laptop is a total disaster.
There are mobiles with a projector function but they lack power for a class, and the battery of the phone dies fast. Until Google’s ARA Project brings us powerful projector modules, I would stay away from that area. Having an external speaker for your phone to use audio files at full sound is always a plus, though.
See you in the next post! 🙂