FETC 2011, aka the Florida Educational Technology Conference, was held in Orlando Jan. 31 to Feb. 3. In reviewing the news, I found out a lot about how important AV is to schools, the many ways it can be provided to them, and the growing needs for projection technology here.
The event featured about 336 exhibitors from Absolute Software (software for data management and computer security) to Zarbeco, LLC (Digital microscopes and imaging software for education). Of course, companies more familiar to Display Daily readers were there too, including 3M, Acer, Adobe, AVI-SPL, Cisco, Crestron, Dell — you get the picture.
Technology is important in today’s schools. One thing I was not aware of is that the US Congress agrees with me. In the $787B 2009 Stimulus act, Congress allocated about $80B for educational technology. Even spread across more than 300 million Americans, that will buy a lot of technology.
I guess school administrators are accustomed to lots of paperwork but I suspect even they have problems navigating the maze of applications for this and other grant money. Not to worry, the projector makers are willing to help. For example, Acer has a Resource Guide administrators (or anyone else) can download, providing information on the various programs. If you use the guide to get money to buy Acer projectors, that’s fine with them. They have a line of five DLP projectors ranging from $399 to $800 for the educational market.
Epson America goes even further. They now offer product alignments for three major federal grant applications: IDEA, Title 1 Part A, and ARRA School Improvement. If you are applying for a different program, they have a universal grant template that includes the extensive product manufacturer information required in grant applicants. Both the grant template and product alignments cover not only Epson projectors, but also document cameras and sound enhancement systems. The product alignment ensures educators that each grant has been reviewed by Epson and the recommended Epson products meet the stated grant requirements. Epson, through its dealers, also offers the Brighter Futures program to help educators minimize total cost of ownership of their projectors.
Certain features are useful for education and additional markets, especially corporate training and conference room use, I suspect. Some of these features include:
Matt Brennesholtz is an analyst for Insight Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org