In California State University at Fresno‘s (USC) collaborative classrooms, students are the stars.
The collaborative classrooms were designed to have “students at the center of instruction,” with the help of five separate pods, 30 computers, six display devices, Apple T.V.s, and five Epson BrightLink projectors.
Otto Benavides, Director of the Instructional Technology and Resource Center for the School of Education and Human Development, and Director of the NASA Educator Resource Center, CSU, Fresno, says the BrightLink projectors are a key factor in students’ ability to collaborate.
There are “five Epson projectors so they can share if they want to display something from their pod,” he says. “The instructor has access to the projection devices as well – to the computer assigned to the teacher, and the flat display at the front of the room. They can go around and access the devices from their computer or from a tablet as well.”
Epson BrightLink Projectors Breakdown:
• Models provide short-throw and ultra-short throw distances
• 2700 to 3400 color brightness
• 2700 to 3400 white brightness
• Come with BYOD support with moderator
• Dual pen and finger touch capabilities
The building that houses the collaborative classrooms dates back to 1994, when the university had access to only three computer classrooms, an overhead projector and not-so-bright LCD panels.
From there, USC grew – along with technology demands.
Benavides and his team put their heads together and opened the first collaborative classroom in 2012, which came equipped with 24 computers, seven Apple T.V.s and 840WI Epson projectors.
“They were a great advancement over what we had before,” Benavides says. “And that allowed students to collaborate by sharing their screens and projecting onto any of the pods around the room. There was only one problem there – the students couldn’t manage the Epson projectors because they require a USB cable. We were thinking about maybe creating a switch on each pod, so that students could select which projector and computer they were going to use by these switches, but that became cumbersome, so we decided not to do that.”
Two years later, and with more money to spend, Benavides and his team built another collaborative classroom and refreshed the current classrooms with new technology, including replacing the 840WI Epson projectors with BrightLink projectors.
Benavides says it was love at first sight when he came across the projectors – the price was right and they could fill the university’s collaboration demands.
“I fell in love with them,” he says. “The cost was much lower, they did exactly what I wanted. So we bought the new BrightLink projectors…That has also been a total success. Both faculty and students can go into any of those projection screens, and we have the EM boards to go along with the projectors. The faculty are really enamored with what they can do, and what the students can do.”