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Hounsdown School explores the science of laser and LED projection

Hounsdown School in Hampshire, a year 11-16 Specialist Science and Leadership comprehensive school situated near the edge of the New Forest

Hounsdown School in Hampshire, a year 11-16 Specialist Science and Leadership comprehensive school situated near the edge of the New Forest, is leading the way with its environmental initiatives and not just within the management team. The schools Eco Club is a well attended extracurricular group where students can share their thoughts about sustainability and use this to inform practices of the future.

As part of this, Hounsdown is in the process of making the transition to laser and LED projection throughout the whole school which includes 62 classrooms.

“I am a long standing veteran of Casio and laser and LED projection, having had one of the first Green Slim Casio projectors that launched in 2010 from the first container to be shipped into the UK,” explains Steve March, IT consultant HCC, Hounsdown School. “Casio has established itself as a market leader and pioneer of laser and LED technology having specialised in just this method of image generation for the last five years.”

During this time, Hounsdown School – under Steve’s recommendation – has invested in 28 Casio units in total; 23 of these are the Green Slim models (one in each classroom) and five are the 3,000 lumen Signature Series, which are located in the drama studios.

During the five years these have been in situ, only two models have needed any attention, and one was replaced instantly under Casio’s extensive five year / 10,000 hour warranty. When you compare this with the amount of maintenance that a lamp-based model would have needed during this time, this is extremely low.

“Everyone at the school loves the laser and LED hybrid projectors as they retain their brightness over a long period of time, have an excellent contrast ratio and are really easy to use,” says Mr March. “They also contribute greatly to our sustainability scheme, with research showing that they use on average 30% less power than traditional projectors.

“One feature that has proved invaluable is the ability to upload your own background logo to some models. This has enabled us to place an energy saving notice on them to encourage users to turn them off when not needed.”

Laser and LED projection is an alternative method for generating an image which removes the lamp from the process, therefore replacing one of the most unsustainable light sources on the planet, mercury, with two of the most sustainable, laser and LED.

“From an operational perspective, making the switch to laser and LED projectors has saved us significant maintenance time, as there are no lamps or filters to change and the projectors can be placed on a timer to automatically power off at the end of the teaching day,” explains Mr March. “The fact that the Casio laser and LED projectors also contain no mercury is a bonus, as removing this harmful and extremely hazardous chemical from the school environment is something that we are striving for.”

The lifetime of the projector is also increased compared to traditional lamp-based models, as this solid state light source has no components that can degrade. This negates any drop off in brightness which a lamp would suffer from near the end of its lifetime, so the days of having to draw blinds are well and truly gone. This also removes any waiting time for lamps to start up when a projector is turned on, as the Casio laser and LED systems start instantly so lessons can begin promptly.

Miss Carter-Brown, a history teacher at Hounsdown School, explains: “From my perspective the quality of what the students can see on screen has improved massively. For History, where images are vital to unlocking the past, this has greatly facilitated teaching as it has increased the variety of images I can use. It also means that Powerpoint presentations (the basis for most lessons) can now be made more engaging as before I was reliant on white/black to ensure that students at the back of the room could read the information on the board.

“In terms of classroom utilisation, I no longer have to turn off all my lights and have the blinds down to use the whiteboard, which then makes it almost impossible for students to use their books at the same time. I also really like to Eco function, as it makes it easy to dim the projector for students who find it bright.”

The most recent investments have been for Casio’s newest model the Core, which launched earlier in 2015. This features all the same consistence brilliance as the other Laser & LED hybrid models but has an entry level price point, designed to make the benefits of this revolutionary technology accessible to everyone with all budgets.

“We used these in a dual display setup for our recent Year 11 leaving celebrations,” says Mr March. “This allowed a good view of the presentations for over 500 parents and pupils in the sports hall. We have used a portable Green Slim for various other events, ranging from our Oscars evening, to citizenship days for external guests and community events.

“I am inundated on a daily basis by teachers who still have lamp-based projectors asking me when they can have one of the Casio models. Not only are they a more reliable light source but aesthetically they also look good, which counts when you are in the same teaching space for eight hours a day.”

Miss McLoughlin, one of the school’s art teacher’s comments: “I have found the new projector a massive improvement upon the last. The colours and clarity are superb, which is essential for my subject. It is quicker to come on and maintains brightness throughout the duration of use.”

Follow the link for more information about Casio projectors.
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