Yesterday I was up at my old employer – The University of Derby, running 2 sessions on Mind Genius for students that will be starting at the University in a few weeks time.
When I arrived at the room I was pleased to see that they had improved the facilities from the previous year including a SmartBoard with a short throw projector and the whole thing on wheels. This was the first time that I had used this particular arrangement – and it worked really well.
Firstly the board was perfectly calibrated – often with SmartBoards that are fixed with a seperate projector – they are slightly out, and even doing the usual re-calibration, I find that in the corners of the boards you still have a slight problem. But with this set up the calibration was spot on, making it so much easier to use.
Secondly – I could move the board to different positions – in my first session I had a small group, who naturally filled up from the back – but thanks to the presence of a wireless mouse and keyboard, and a reasonable length of cable connecting the board to the computer I could pull the board about 2m into the room bringing me closer to the group and saving me having to shout. Then part way through the sun came out, and blanched the screen – (a problem that room always had) – but fear not, turn the board slightly and I had removed the problem. In my second session I had a bigger group and 2 deaf students with 2 interpreters – I was then able to position the board completely differently to make it as easy as possible for the deaf students to see the board and their computers and their interpreters – something that I couldn’t have done with a wall mounted system.
The only thing that could have been done to improve the system, was the ability to alter the height of the board (which some systems allow) so that people who are shorter than me, can drop the board slightly so that they can reach the top of it, but apart from that it was a real pleasure to use, and I hope that other users apply the same thoughts that I did and are prepared to move the board into the room, twist it slightly, think about their audience etc, as this is where having it on wheels really gives an extra option.