Among the new technology tools installed over the summer, and funded by the voter-approved Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) were tools to create interactive whiteboards. While most classrooms that already had a mounted projector were equipped with MimioTeach devices, which snap magnetically to an existing whiteboard in order to allow for pen-based manipulation of a projected image, 33 district classrooms received Epson BrightLink interactive projectors.
These projectors integrate all of the necessary sensors to make the projected image interactive, allowing for pen-based control and annotation of whatever is projected on the screen. The pens used to interact with the projector are wireless, although the computers being used to project the image must have a USB connection to the projector in order to use the wireless function.
In addition to the interactive function, the BrightLink projectors are also ultra-short throw projectors, which mount to the wall above a whiteboard (rather than to the ceiling), making installation easier and less expensive, and allowing a teacher to stand in front of the screen to use the interactive whiteboard without blocking the light (which is being projected at a sharp angle from above). Further, while most interactive whiteboards cost well in excess of $2,000 in addition to the cost of a standard projector, and where the MimioTeach devices cost around $800 in addition to the cost of a standard projector, the BrightLink units cost about $1440/each, resulting in a significant savings to the district compared to similar technologies, and costing only slightly more than a standard ultra-short throw projector.