What are Visualisers?
Many will know visualisers by a different name, what used to be called over-head projectors or OHP for short have been swept along with and adapted with advances in technology and changes to modern teaching.
As a child of the 80â€™s I remember OHPs well with their large lightbox bases and unwieldy arms that allowed you to focus a head containing a series of mirrors over transparent sheets that were printed or written on specifically to use with the projector. The setup was sometimes cumbersome and lengthy and the projections themselves were not always easily read, suffering from blurred print-outs (a symptom of printing on to acetate) or because a lot of the materials were hand written and contained only somewhat legible hand writing. Such was my experience of the OHP in education. For a more technical look at what an OHP is see this article on Wikipedia.
Today things have moved on substantially. Gone are the large and cumbersome lightboxes, the unwieldly head full of mirrors and the infuriating acetates required to project your resources. In their place are flat, unobtrusive, wipe clean writing surfaces, digital cameras that allow you to project anything in their field of vision and the ability to connect external devices capable of outputting video, allowing you to display your capture on monitors, large format displays and projectors.
How is the technology used in education?
As weâ€™ve already talked about, the ability to capture and out-put video to any form of display is a visualisers primary function, but it doesnâ€™t just end there. Live digital capture allows several interactions that are simply not possible using traditional OHPs. For example, a digital signal can be used at the same time on multiple displays, allowing teachers to project at the front of lectures, present to groups on smaller screens, stream over the internet to students in remote locations or do all these things simultaneously. Many visualisers offer recording functionality through various software or hardware. Being able to keep visual recordings of the resources you have presented means that you can easily review what was covered in a lesson, distribute it digitally alongside documents and even re-use the video for other classes or lectures. In practical terms you might use your visualiser to:
- Share studentâ€™s work and then peer edit with the rest of the class.
- Introduce presentations and develop key communication skills amongst students.
- Stimulate studentâ€™s curiosity by showcasing objects close-up.
- Review your footage to aid in your own professional development.
- Deliver close-up demonstrations of techniques/skills/experiments.
How can you ensure your valuable technology is kept safe?
Of course, these innovations come at a cost and visualiser systems come in a range of price points reflective of the features and technology found in them. Suffice to say that they are somewhat more expensive than a traditional OHP with prices ranging from ÂŁ200 entry level models to ÂŁ3,000+ for professional, feature packed models. If youâ€™re going to be spending that sort of money you want to be sure that your equipment is secure when itâ€™s in situ.
TOP-TEC offer design services and manufacturing capabilities that allow us to create secure solutions for housing visualisers. Protect your expensive visualiser equipment by fitting a made to measure housing customised to suit your requirements.
You may also be interested in our previous blog post in which we discuss the practical applications of Way-finding in Education.