As you may have noticed, The Media Geeks are continually making upgrades to the classrooms to keep the in the best possible condition to support instruction. Last year (2012) we upgraded most of the projectors across campus to new projectors that are both brighter, and able to support true digital connectivity (like the native output of an iPad, or many new laptops). This year, we begin the process of upgrading classroom control systems to connect digitally to these new projectors. Once this project is completed, most of the classrooms on campus will be natively digital and ready to support the newest devices. This means more device support and better video quality.
What does this mean to instructors?
What this means is that right now, you probably are using a classroom where the "on/off" control is a series of push buttons, and all the connections are analog. This means you have to a special adaptor when you connect newer devices like Macbooks and iPads, but not on older laptops. Sometimes this means you can't connect a new device at all to the projector.
You will know when your classroom has a new digital connection because the "on/off" buttons will be replaced by a touch screen, and you will have TWO different wired connections available to connect your own devices to the projector: one "old" 15-pin analog connection and a "new" HDMI connection. Depending on the device you connect, you may still need an adaptor, but it's likely that you'll need the digital version of the adaptor. The Media Geeks can help you figure out exactly what you need.
Why are you doing this?
There are a number of reasons we're doing this right now. One is that most display manufacturers have agreed that by 2012 ALL analog 15 pin video connections (this is the connection used by most devices for the last 20 years) will be eliminated. This is why you may have a TV or laptop that already doesn't have that connection anymore. This is creating a challenge for us, as the analog and digital formats are not directly compatible. We are already having instances where we haven't been able to support user's needs for connections because of this. Also, the new controls (the touch panel) give us much more flexibility in the types of devices we can support, and how we can support them. There is a lot of potential for "technology" behind that touch screen to help us understand how the classrooms are being used and improve the experience. We want the technology in the classroom to be an extension of instruction, and we hope these new controls will help us grow in that area.
So, we ask for your patience and understanding over the next few months as we upgrade. We expect some bumps in the road as we move forward. We are among the early adopters of digital control (not bleeding edge, though), and that always comes with some additional challenges. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions, or if you'd like to see the equipment we are installing and learn more about it. As always, call the Help Desk if you are in a classroom and need support. The Media Geeks will respond immediately.
Thank you for your support in this.
B Bagby - Head Media Geek