AV in the Classroom Discussion: Projectors vs. Smartboards?

By Marina Gregory, CAO - 25 May, 2017
Collaboration & UC Data Networking
Students at schools and universities across the country expect the latest technology to be integrated into the education process. The use of AV technology such as projectors, smartboards, and interactive whiteboards have the ability to transform the learning experience for both students and educators completely. Projectors and smartboards are both viable AV options for schools, but which one is more effective? Whether you choose to use projectors or smartboards, using a systems integrator will streamline the process.

System integrators, who specialize in bringing components into a whole and ensuring the subsystems work together, can help make the daunting process of choosing and implementing AV technology easier. Integrators look at the specific needs of individual schools and universities and choose the best technology to meet those needs. Let’s explore the similarities and differences between projectors and smartboards, and how using a system integrator can simplify choosing the correct AV technology.

Projectors vs. Smartboards?

Projectors and smartboards are both useful AV technologies with effective educational applications. Currently, projectors are being utilized in school settings across the country, and for good reason. Projectors are reasonably priced and have the capability to provide an image as large as 12.5 ft. The large images provided by projections offer benefits in larger spaces—lecture halls, student unions. Smartboards can’t compete with projectors when it comes to the size of images the technologies display.

Both projectors and smartboards have ultra-high-definition (UHD) capabilities. UHD resolution offers almost four times the pixels as regular HD, so the resolution shouldn’t be a determining factor when choosing between a projector or a smartboard. When it comes to shadows though, smartboards have a tremendous advantage over projectors. The angle and the lighting used by projectors make shadows inevitable. In a classroom where smartboards are being used, shadows aren’t a problem.

Projectors offer user interaction through a wired connection—typically to a desktop or laptop— to display images, PowerPoints, videos, lesson plans, etc. Smartboards take user-interaction to a different level. While smartboards can be connected to a desktop via a wired connection, it’s not the only way user-interaction is enabled. Digital markers can be used with smartboards to display interactive graphs. Some smartboards even have touch capabilities. The various ways smartboards encourage user-interaction should be taken into consideration when choosing AV technology for the classroom.

Projectors and smartboards both offer various benefits in a classroom setting. Assessing the specific needs of an educational institution will help determine which AV technology is the best fit. With the support of a systems integrator, universities and schools can assess specific needs, and choose the right AV technology accordingly.

Why You Should Use a Systems Integrator

The applications of AV technology have the ability to transform the learning process altogether. However, with the various types of technology on the market, choosing and implementing the technology that best fits an institutions’ specific needs is a challenge. Systems integrators work with universities and schools to assess needs and wants and choose the best technology tailored to these specifications.

Systems integrators can create custom built AV technology to fit any space and adapt it to the specific needs of a school or university. Also, they also provide expertise regarding the latest AV technology. For schools and universities looking to upgrade existing technology, having an expert to aid in the process is an invaluable tool. After choosing the right solution, systems integrators provide professional installation to maximize the technology’s capabilities.

AV technology isn’t immune to the inevitable glitches or malfunctions that happen to even the most advanced gadgets. Luckily, when organizations use systems integrators, expert maintenance is provided. Any organization—especially schools and universities—considering the purchase and implementation of AV technology should utilize a systems integrator. The expertise provided by a systems integrator from purchasing to installation, to maintenance ensures that your organization’s AV technology is maximizing its potential.

The Takeaway

There are many factors to consider when choosing AV technology for a classroom. Both projectors and smartboards are viable options, but knowing the specific needs of your classroom might make one a better option than the other. A systems integrator will be able to identify these specific needs and aid in the decision-making process. However, a systems integrator’s job isn’t finished after the AV technology is chosen. Integrators also provide installation and maintenance to ensure the highest quality possible. Regardless if you choose to use projectors or smartboards, using a systems integrator will make sure you get the most out of your AV technology.


Photo Credit: Shen Milsom & Wilke Flickr via Compfight cc

Author: Marina Gregory, CAO