Projecting images and data on a large screen in the classroom is one of the best ways to engage students in discussion and deepen their understanding.
This post discusses how projectors can augment teaching by drawing attention to key points, allowing for immediate feedback and back-and-forth interchange, improving eye contact with the speaker, and providing continuity of information across both lectures and small group discussions.
These devices are making a remarkable contribution to education by increasing teacher efficiency, student engagement, and learning outcomes.
Teachers have begun to harness the power of projectors for an ample number of uses, including presentations, research, collaboration, instantiation of digital media, and interactive instruction.
These devices play a crucial role in the classroom as they can create a unique learning experience for students while also allowing teachers to interact with students in meaningful ways.
The use of projectors in the classroom offers a multitude of benefits including improved attention and participation in class, faster learning, and problem-solving skills as well as more active learning and that is attributed to greater student participation.
The use of projectors has also been shown to improve teacher-student interactions and improve student performance. A study done by the National Association of Educational Procurement found that teachers who use projectors perform better in their interactions with students.
Benefits of Using Projectors in the Classroom
The benefits of projectors are perhaps best explained by looking at the three key ways they are currently used in classrooms:
- to deliver or present educational materials,
- to display and discuss student work
- to stimulate critical thinking through discussion boards. Each of these uses is discussed at length below:
Deliver or Present Educational Materials
Projecting educational material directly onto a screen allows for students to see material from different angles and distances. Students can also take notes using either pen or keyboard with the ability to project slides at their own pace. In addition, the material can be saved and reviewed later.
Display and Discuss Student Work
Projectors allow for student work to be presented clearly and displayed in a central location for students and teachers to discuss. This allows students to easily share their work with groups or classrooms, as well as allows teachers to comment on a student’s work in a variety of ways.
The teacher can draw attention to key ideas or questions that should be addressed by the group, as well as point out which aspects of the project are excellent and which areas need more work. The display can be used as a tool for instant feedback and to help students pinpoint their strengths or areas of weakness.
Stimulate Critical Thinking Through Discussion Boards
When evaluating media and interactivity, it is important to note that users tend to not only evaluate the material, but also the methods in which it was created. The process by which something is created is important, but so too are the things one takes away from the experience.
Projectors allow for interactive media content to be displayed on a large screen, making it more engaging for students who are usually hesitant to engage with interactive applications. This allows students to engage with media within the safety of a large classroom, rather than being forced to remain at their individual computers.
Students are able to gain a better understanding of interactive applications by watching or doing the activity on their own terms, and then discussing what they learned.
By providing feedback directly onto the projection screen and by allowing students to take notes with pen or keyboard, projectors allow for feedback as well as collaboration between teachers and students. The ability for students to share their work with each other is an essential component in many aspects of education.
Collaborating in groups can allow for more active learning, better problem-solving skills, and enhanced creativity when compared to working individually.
When learning is more interactive and engaging, students are more motivated to learn and perform better. This is an important tool for those teachers who use projectors as a base for their lessons.
Projectors can improve student performance in the classroom by enticing them to actively participate in class discussions.
When teachers use projectors to display their notes or slides, it also creates a visual break from the teacher and makes students more engaged because they are required to actively interact with the material presented on-screen.
When used effectively, projectors can create an engaging learning environment for students and teachers alike.
According to the National Science Foundation, a recent study found that students who engaged in class discussion after they had received real-time feedback on their oral presentations demonstrated significantly greater gains in cognitive skills than those who were not provided such feedback.
Furthermore, this study also found that these positive learning gains continued for at least one week after the initial oral presentation. All of these factors show the importance of using projectors to aid in supporting classroom discussion.
The use of technology has been shown to increase teacher productivity by providing a larger workspace and reducing clutter on a personal computer or laptop.
Further, individual computer screens can cause eyestrain due to the lack of contrast between the screen and keyboard. The contrast that projectors provide is enough to make it easier for teachers to work on their lesson plans without feeling exhausted or experiencing eye strain.
In addition, because teachers are not limited by the space around them, they can better visualize how they will present their lesson plans.
A study done by the Ohio Technology Assessment Group found that over half (55%) of surveyed teachers said that they would put a projector in their room even if it cost $1000 more than a traditional whiteboard.
When asked why 38% said it was because they could permanently display anything while only 8% said it was because educators could write on them with markers.
For some teachers, the use of projectors allows them to have the best of both worlds – a traditional whiteboard and a projector. One can be used for lecture material while the other is used for student notes which can help with collaborative learning.
Projectors can create an engaging learning environment, but there are also disadvantages associated with their use. The main disadvantage is that they require electricity to function, limiting their ability to be moved from classroom to classroom or room-to-room within an existing school setting.
If one loses power in one classroom, it will affect all other rooms using the same power source. This is a large disadvantage in the event of a power outage. If one loses electricity to the building, all other rooms using that power source are also affected.
Another limitation associated with projectors is the maintenance and cost of upkeep. Proper care must be taken to ensure that the projector is kept clean and dust-free in order for it to function properly.
It can also be difficult to organize cords and wires that connect an external device from the projector itself. This can cause a mess behind or near the projector where it was plugged into or on top of where it is being used (“How To Clean Your Projector”, 2010).
Also, it is best to make sure that there are no obstructions that may cause the projector to be jarred or vibrate when moved. It is also important to ensure that the projector light does not shine through the screen on your computer, making the image look blurry. Projectors can scratch and damage surfaces in a room if not placed on non-conductive material.