Plano Schools to Make Leading-Edge Video, Computer, Broadcast Presentations the Norm With $4 Million Installation
During this coming school year, nearly 24,000 middle school, high school and senior high school students in the Plano (Texas) Independent School District will find that their classrooms have been transformed into leading-edge projection sites – and that bright, sharp, large-screen computer and video presentations will become the norm, thanks to PLUS(R) U2 Series digital projectors.
By September, 500 middle school classrooms each will be equipped with a permanent projection system consisting of a PLUS(R) U2-1110 ultra-compact, ultra-thin DLPthis digital projector, combined with a pull-down 84-in. diagonal screen and a separate stereo audio system designed to provide optimum audio performance in a 900-square-foot classroom. Moreover, once the more than $4 million installation is complete, a total of 1,000 Plano classrooms will have their own permanent sophisticated AV system in place. The entire installation is being done by ASC Companies (www.asccompanies.com), a leading installer of large-scale audio and video systems headquartered in Dallas.
The Plano Independent School District, located 20 miles north of Dallas and part of the Dallas Metroplex, serves a total of 48,000 students, and includes 39 elementary schools, 11 middle schools (grades 6 through 8), five high schools (grades 9 and 10), and three senior high schools (grades 11 and 12). All of the secondary schools, as well as an alternative education site, are being equipped with these new permanent AV systems.
“The overall objective at the Plano Independent School District is to provide our secondary school students with a dynamic educational environment that will encourage real-time presentation and sharing of student discoveries and teacher-guided dialogues in a multi-media fashion,” states Jim Hirsch, Assistant Superintendent of Technology for the Plano Independent School District.
The PLUS(R) U2-1110 projector was recommended by ASC Companies to a special steering committee of Plano teachers and administrators because it meets specifications stipulated by the district for a video projection system, including XGA (1024 x 768) resolution, 24-bit color depth support, a light source made from DLPoverall technology by Texas Instruments, keystone correction, and power on/off functions.
What’s more, the PLUS(R) U2-1110 exceeds Plano specifications for brightness by providing 1,100 ANSI lumens – a major benefit, notes Hirsch, who presented the steering committee’s recommendation to the Plano Superintendent and school board.
“When you look at the typical classroom configuration, you’d like to allow as much natural light as possible into the room without having to close blinds or turn off the lights,” Hirsch explains. “The brightness provided by the PLUS(R) projector helps avoid those distractions, which enhances the learning atmosphere within the classroom.”
Versatility was another major criterion that the PLUS(R) U2-1110 satisfied. “By versatility, I mean the ability to handle multiple forms of input,” Hirsch notes. The PLUS(R) U2-1110 handles a full range of inputs – RGB computer input, S-video, and composite video – which enable bright, top-quality viewing of video input from computers, videocassettes, DVD’s, and television.
“The ability to handle multiple forms of input is very important because in addition to providing computer presentation displays, the projection systems need to connect into our 116-channel private video network,” Hirsch observes. Through this network, every campus in the Plano Independent school District is able to broadcast its own programming as well as receive cable programming.
“The projection system needs to be able to handle those times when a classroom is taking part in a conference with another classroom at another campus, and possibly taking advantage of some cable programming or other programming available through our video network,” Hirsch stresses. “The projection system also has to be able to handle standard VCR type signals, DVD formats, laser discs, and video image display devices, which we have in many of our classrooms. The PLUS(R) U2-1110 can display all these types of video input with very good resolution.”
In addition, its very light weight (just 5.7 pounds) and ultra-compact size (2.3 inches high by 9.3 inches wide by 11.7 inches long) make the PLUS(R) U2-1110 very easy to mount permanently on the ceiling. Capable of providing images ranging from 25 in. to 300 in. diagonal, the projector easily fills the large 84-in. diagonal screen from a distance of 11.5 ft.
“The PLUS(R) U2-1110 projector was easy to recommend to the school district,” states Daniel Nix, Vice President of Sales for ASC Companies. “It’s sleek, it’s small, it’s bright, it works – but beyond all that, the image quality rivals that of projectors that cost more and are larger.” When ASC Companies demonstrated the video system to the steering committee in a classroom setting, they were stunned by the image quality provided with the PLUS(R) U2-1110. “When they saw how bright and crisp the images were, their first question was ‘Where’s the popcorn machine?'” Nix recalls, chuckling. Moreover, according to Nix, they thought the images looked better than what might be expected from projection systems used at many colleges.
The committee members were also excited by a number of special features provided via the PLUS(R) U2-1110’s remote control, including a built-in laser pointer, freeze-frame capability, and digital zoom – user- and classroom-friendly features that enhance the classroom experience for teachers and students alike, according to Hirsch.
All video and audio inputs for each system are tied into an input wall plate, 18 inches off the floor. In addition, a volume knob – “located at teacher height,” Nix quips – makes it easy to control the volume of the stereo audio system.
According to Hirsch, an additional five projection and audio systems have been installed by ASC Companies in the school district’s new professional development center. Built to provide training opportunities for the more than 6,000 teachers in the Plano district, the center includes a videoconferencing room, computer laboratories and a meeting room that accommodates 750 people. With its audio, video and computer technology in place, the professional development center is also in demand by many corporations and hotels in the area that are not equipped with such advanced technology. “But our first priority in building such an advanced center is to provide a quality training environment for our teachers,” Hirsch emphasizes.
“The Plano installation signals the emergence of an exciting trend, as more and more schools are evolving their presentation platforms to meet the needs of a new, increasingly digital and networked educational environment,” states PLUS(R) Corporation of America President Tom Oishi. “We expect to see tremendous growth in this area in the years to come.”
Headquartered in Allendale, New Jersey, PLUS(R) Corporation of America is an industry-leading manufacturer and marketer of extremely sophisticated, ultra-lightweight, and ultra-portable digital projectors, full featured electronic copyboards, and real-time interactive whiteboards. With an unprecedented level of performance, PLUS(R) communication and information products are designed to provide a high degree of value to today’s mobile professionals, including corporate presenters, medical and legal professionals, educators, trainers, military/government professionals, and technical consultants. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of PLUS(R) Corporation of Japan. The PLUS(R) Group has a 50-year-old history and consolidated revenue of $1.5 billion from its presentation, office and communications products.
For more information, contact: PLUS(R)Corporation of America, 80 Commerce Drive, Allendale, New Jersey 07401; Tel: (201) 818-2700; Fax: (201) 818-2708. Or visit www.plus-america.com.