The digital modern update of the overhead projector, visual presenters continue to be one of the most popular segments of K12 education technology, as educators find more ways to use them in classrooms across content areas and grade levels. When used with a projector or monitor, these devices enable educators to display everything from documents to dissection specimens, even microscopic objects through the lens of a microscope. Current trends with visual presenters also reflect the economic realities faced by most districts, as the segment is no longer just characterized by manufacturers outdoing each other with expensive new features but is largely emphasizing value. Several of the latest new models from industry leaders are inexpensive, portable, entry-level units that include basic features, with prices in the $400 to $700 range instead of $1,000 to $2,000 or more for the top-of-the-line with the most powerful capabilities, and more companies are also offering value packages with a projector included. Much of the technical criteria for differentiating visual presenters have remained the same for years and are similar to those of digital cameras: image resolution, zoom magnification, video frame-rate capture, and image storage capacity. Here are some of the recently released, affordable, entry-level visual presenters to consider using in your district.
TT-02Rx, $845 alone, $1,640 or $1,740 in a Doc-Tor bundle
The fourth and latest generation of the company’s flagship education document camera, ELMO’s TT-02rx includes several features of higher-end models but at an entry-level price. A Sony 1.39-megapixel camera captures video at 30 frames per second and offers image capture at a choice of resolutions: XGA, SXGA or WXGA. The control arm is a solid metal piece that can be rotated to place the camera on the eyepiece of a microscope, and an included remote control aids in making presentations. ELMO also now offers this model as part of its new Doc-Tor (short for “document camera and projector”) value package, bundled with either the company’s new CRP-22 or CRP-26 projectors. www.elmousa.com
Epson’s DC-06 is designed to be both functional and extremely portable, as it folds up into a lightweight brick-sized unit that fits into an included carrying case. The camera captures XGA resolution, has an LED light integrated into the camera arm, and draws all its power through a USB cable linked to a computer or projector. Additional features include auto focus, image rotation, and a large 10.7-inch by 14.3-inch image capture area. The DC-06 is also available in value bundles with Epson projectors. www.epsonbrighterfutures.com
SAM CAM 860, $799
This new model from Samsung Techwin includes features such as a 1.4-megapixel resolution camera, 6X optical zoom plus 8X digital zoom, SXGA image output resolution, and 30-frames-per-second video capture. An SD card slot enables storage of images, video and audio via the integrated microphone or an optional external microphone, and the SAM CAM 860 also includes a remote control, LED lamp and microscope adapter. www.samcam860.com
The recently released DC166 replaced the DC162, one of Lumens’ most popular models. It includes features such as SXGA resolution, 6X optical zoom, an internal hard drive that can store up to 120 images and an SD card slot for additional storage. The design of the DC166 utilizes a unique flexible gooseneck arm for the camera and LED light, allowing for maximum placement flexibility. An Auto Tune function automatically adjusts brightness, contrast, color balance, exposure and focus for optimal image quality. www.lumenseducation.com