The Overhead Projector: Don’t Overlook It

My best friend in the classroom: an overhead projector—plastic transparencies and all—and not only from an instructional standpoint, but from a classroom management one too.That’s why I’m surprised by how many teachers still rely more on the chalkboard or whiteboard than a projector (be it the conventional kind, LCD, or SMART Board™).

Some teachers tell me they’d use a projector if they had one, in which case I advise administrators to make projectors a budget priority. But often teachers stick with the board even when they have a projector. Such was the case for me as a new teacher when my projector collected dust in the back of the room. For me it was about comfort zone (my teachers, from grade school through grad school, were devoted to the board—I had many a classroom nap interrupted by chilling chalkboard screeches). Convenience was a factor too, since I perceived (mistakenly) the overhead to be more of a hassle than the board. I also had logistical excuses such as the lack of a proper projector screen (which I later resolved by making a “screen” out of white bulletin board paper).

But in the end, as with most changes that make sense, once I switched to the overhead, there was no going back to the board. Many teachers I’ve coached have also benefited from making this switch, including one who sent me the following note: I put your advice about the projector into effect and the difference was dramatic. Thanks for motivating me to step up to the projector.

Are you too ready to step up to the projector? Or are you already using one, but want to step up your effectiveness with it? Either way, click here for more on the benefits of using a projector, and practical pointers for maximizing those benefits (whether you use a conventional projector, LCD, or SMART Board™).

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