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How to Future-Proof Your Classroom Projector Purchase

When it comes to purchasing new technology, making the wrong decision can be a costly move – especially for financially strapped schools. For example, a district’s upfront cost when purchasing a device can be just a fraction of what they’ll pay if they buy the wrong device, which impacts both budget and resources.


ViewSonic has advice for educators on how to future-proof their classroom projector purchases, while making the best initial selection for their budget. Purchasers should first answer this simple list of questions to significantly lower total cost of ownership (TCO) to guide them in their decision-making:


1. Does the projector have a lamp? If so, what’s the expected lamp life?

Replacement lamps are not cheap; on average they can run $200-$300 per lamp. Look for the projector with longer lamp hours and a lower replacement lamp cost. Similar to the printer market, also be careful of projectors with a “too good to be true” price point. Often times, they will come with high replacement supply costs.


2. What sort of time requirements does the projector require of my staff?

Know whether your projector selection will require filter cleanings and replacement. This is usually the case with 3LCD projectors. These maintenance costs can add up over time, so to avoid filter costs completely, shop for a DLP projector.Look for top-loading projectors as well to avoid needing someone from the union to come out to change the bulb.


3. What sort of hidden costs might there be?

Installation and servicing can be expensive. Before you buy, talk with a servicer/installer who will answer your questions. Find one who will offer your school the best services for a good price. This can make a huge difference. The electricity costs of operating projectors can be more than you might think, so look for projectors with energy-saving features such as ECO mode (dims brightness by 20 percent) and DynamicEco™ (dims brightness by 70 percent). As an added bonus, these features will extend your lamp life too!


4. Warranty information can be confusing. What do I need to know? What is considered a good warranty?

Some projector companies offer seemingly longer warranties that exclude the more vulnerable moving parts and labor costs. Be weary of projectors that only ensure the chipset. This part of the projector hardly ever goes bad. To protect your investment, look for projectors with longer labor warranties (2+ years) to guard against costly repairs. A 1-year lamp warranty is also ideal in case the expected hourly lamp life isn’t meeting expectations. As most schools require 5-year warranties on the projector hardware, be sure to research which projector brand has the best price on extended warranty options.


To share hard numbers with your district heads on the savings your school can expect to achieve, check out our DLP projector TCO calculator. Still have questions about your next projector purchase? Ask us here!

Flipping Teaching On Its Head: Our Opinion On The Flipped Classroom

Have you heard of the flipped classroom teaching model? It is a teaching technique that is gaining steam across the country. The idea is that students do their homework during classroom time, and lectures are done outside of the classroom via the Internet. This allows for classroom activity to remain centered around student and teacher collaboration.


The argument is that with traditional teaching models, students can be overrun by homework assignments. When students don’t fully understand the lesson plan, completing homework at home can be difficult. For students who lack structure and guidance in the home, or a quiet place to study, completing assignments outside of school can become a nightmare.


In a recent article, Tech Decisions shared an interesting case study about Clintondale High School near Detroit. Clintondale spends most of class time giving students help rather than classroom lectures. Additionally, multimedia presentations and video conferencing with other classrooms around the world have become part of the school day for a more interactive environment.


For this school and many others like it, the individualized attention is working. Chronic failure rates have dropped dramatically, while college readiness scores have more than doubled to nearly 29 percent. The best part is that this new approach requires a very minimal investment in technology upgrades, and no alterations to existing network infrastructure. It’s a great approach for schools experiencing a decrease in financial resources. In Clintondale’s case, they needed to purchase five PCs with powerful CPU capacity to support the increase in PowerPoint presentation creation, a few USB microphones so teachers could record themselves for lessons, and two tablets for greater mobility options.


Students vary in how they learn best. That calls for leaders in education to be open to evaluating new strategies for helping students grow, both personally and developmentally. It’s great to see students achieving impressive levels of success because teachers are taking better notice of their needs.


We’d like to hear from educators whose students have seen academic gains with this method or another alternative educational model. Share your results with us, or tweet your tips to @ViewSonic.


ViewSonic Expands Cost-Effective MultiClient Virtual Cloud Solution with New Hardware And Software Bundles

Thin client computing offers significant benefits over traditional PC deployments. In fact, IDC found that thin client users (when compared to full PC users) experience a decline in hardware and software costs of 40 percent and a reduction in IT operations costs by 29 percent. In addition, IDC concluded that a thin client computing setup increases IT worker productivity by 56 percent due to a reduction of troubleshooting and repair needs, when compared to traditional PCs.


For organizations wishing to save acquisition and operating costs, enhance security and manageability, and promote green IT and sustainability, ViewSonic’s MultiClient solution puts thin client computing in reach for cost-conscious districts and SMBs.


Following its unveiling at ISTE 2011, ViewSonic is announcing new product bundles and software support today for the company’s MultiClient computing offering. This cost-effective, scalable solution lets educators and businesses easily create and manage their own private cloud computing environment. Enabling up to 20 independent user stations (with monitors, mice and keyboards) to be powered by just one host server, MultiClient significantly lowers the cost per seat, reduces energy costs and virtually eliminates compatibility issues and IT management needs.


Now two additional energy-efficient zero client VMA Series adapters are available, each with four USB ports, so users can connect their preference of peripherals. We enable users to select their preference of software licensing between Userful MultiSeat Linux 2011™ and Microsoft® MultiPoint® WMS2011 for true customization.


To get started with a MultiClient setup, educators and businesses just need to connect the MultiClient Adapter box to a monitor with keyboard and mouse, and then plug into the host server. For more MutliClient information, click here.


Are you a thin client believer? What sort of benefits have you seen? We’d love to take your questions about thin client deployments within your organization. Share your experiences with us here!

ViewSonic MultiClient Solution Benefits

Are Electricity Bills Zapping Your School? How Districts Can Minimize Budgets While Still Increasing Technology

Technology in the Classroom

While schools haven’t always had to pay for their electricity use, the current economy and budget cuts have made districts responsible for these payments. As a result, some schools are facing huge electric bills. In fact, according to Energy Star, the nation’s school districts spend more than $7.5 billion annually on energy — more than the money spent on computers and textbooks combined. Even worse, as much as 30 percent of a district’s total energy expense is spent unnecessarily.


ViewSonic has some tips to help school districts save on electricity use while maintaining or even increasing their technology implementation within the classroom:


  1. Turn Technology Off: Ensure that electronics and lights are turned off at the end of the school day, as well as when they are not in use. This includes computers, overheads, projectors, etc. Remember lights are used in some less obvious areas as well, such as hallways and bathrooms. Also consider replacing lights with more energy efficient bulbs.


  1. Don’t Let Energy Get you Hot Under the Collar: A big cost for schools can be proper heating and cooling of educational spaces. To keep heat and air conditioning in rooms to maintain temperatures, keep all classroom and office doors closed. Be sure to turn the heat down after school and on weekends as well. If heating and cooling bills are still higher than desired, consider the impact a little landscaping can make. Pinpoint the rooms that get the most sun each day, and try planting trees to shade the windows from the direct rays.


  1. Computer Labs Can Be Consuming Culprits: Not surprisingly, a school’s computer labs can be a huge energy expense. The heat generated by 30+ computers and CRT or LCD monitors can generate expensive air conditioning bills, and older computer monitors can be big energy consumers as well. Consider a computer lab makeover – ViewSonic’s MultiClient solution for example enables up to 10 individual monitor stations to share a single computer, helping schools reduce overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by as much as 60%. For additional energy savings, Energy Star certified LED displays make a significant impact – up to 60% compared to an equivalent LCD monitor.


  1. Saving with Solar: Another approach to reducing electricity consumption is by installing solar panels. Take Huntington Beach City School District for example. The district has slashed its electric bills in half and expects to save more than $15 million over the next 25 years in electricity costs. There are plenty of incentives and rebates out there to help your district with the upfront costs of panel installation.

Schools can go green while implementing the latest technologies

Have an energy-saving tip to share that’s been implemented at your school? Share it with us here on the blog, or tweet it to @ViewSonic.