For one of our classrooms we have picked up some really new technology that we hope will help the teacher to instruct her students.
We had a Smartboard representative come out and talk to us about their product and I left it feeling that there should be a better way to do that.
So I looked around and for the cost of one of their boards and a projector, I found a tablet PC, projector, and a Linksys Video Gateway
This totals up to just over $3000, which is about what Smartboard was offering us and that didn’t include a fully functional PC and it also had the instructor tied to one spot.
This solution allows the instructor to walk around with the tablet PC and do whatever they want while the results are displayed via the projector. The Linksys Video Gateway acts as a wireless AP that lets machines connect to it and display their screen out on whatever is connected to the VGA port on it. From our point of view this is a lot better than what a “Simple” smartboard could have offered us. Plus it allows other computers to control it as well, which could be used for a completely interactive class room.
Those links may not work since they are logged in to the insight website.
Here are the model numbers:
Tablet PC: Acer TravelMate C302XCi
Video Gateway: WPG54G
The Linksys WPG54G is actually running Linux and has nice GUI frontend that runs all the time on it. When you connect to it, it actually uses WebEx to transport your display to the WPG54G, which then goes out the built in VGA port. It also has the ability to control the mouse on the connected computer with the included remote. Another interesting thing is that you can have several people connected to it and then, using the remote, select between each of them having control of the screen. The only thing that I don’t really like about it is that there doesn’t seem to be a way in the software to build your connection and always have it ready. Like if my WPG54G is always the same IP address I should be able to setup a connection that just automatically connects to that server. Instead I have to go through the software and let it search for all available WPG54Gs and then let you connect to them. It is an extra 30 secs or so that just doesn’t need to be there IMO.