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Visualisers are central to school’s teaching

Despite the undoubted attractions of IWBs, some schools - such as Engayne Primary School in Upminster, England - prefer visualisers.

Six years ago, Engayne Primary School in Upminster, England acquired 21 Samsung UF-80DX visualisers – and, according to the school, these continue to be used on a daily basis. Subsequently, additional units – including two Samsung SDP-860s – have been purchased. All of the school’s classrooms now feature a visualiser.

The UF-80DX is an XGA resolution device with a 1/3”, 850,000 pixel CCD. It features a 42x zoom (14x optical, 3x digital), delivers real-time motion at 20fps and includes both DVI and USB ports.

The SDP-860 features a 1.39 megapixel camera and 30fps full motion replay capable of outputting resolutions between XGA and HD. Zoom is a combined 48x (6x optical, 8x digital) and an SD memory card slot is provided.

Responsibility for the visualisers, together with the remainder of the school’s IT capabilities, rests with teacher Stephanie Homewood, who is a Primary Advocate for the Visualiser Forum, a representative group of education professionals and manufacturers who are cooperating to promote the effective use of visualiser technology. A key objective of the forum is to provide advice on the features and functionality of visualiser technologies and to enable education professionals to share examples of best practice.

“We are very fortunate to have Stephanie as part of the Visualiser Forum team,” said Deputy Chair, Chris Brittan who is Sales Manager for specialist AV distributor AVM. “It is highly valuable for us to have someone like Stephanie, who is involved with visualisers on a daily basis, to help us spread the message to a wide audience.”

“The most obvious use of a visualiser is in science classes where pupils remain at their desks and yet are able to see close-up three dimensional detail of a sample or exhibit,” said Ms. Homewood. “There are, however, so many other practical ways in which a visualiser can contribute to both pupils and teachers getting the most out of each lesson.”

She quotes an example of a teacher using a visualiser to show pupils how to sew. The visualiser is programmed to record the teacher sewing a stitch and the recorded video is then ‘looped’ so that pupils can watch it repeatedly whilst they individually attempt to do the same stitch.

One of the most common ways in which visualisers are used is where pupils are given the opportunity to show their work to other children in the classroom. This avoids time being wasted by the work having to be passed around. Teachers’ time is also saved by not having to make photocopies of lesson paperwork as the visualiser can project the original paperwork for all to see.