3 High Schools
Why Billings Public Schools Have Switched to Casio LampFree projectors.
Kyle Brucker considers his work an outstanding success if no one notices he’s done it. Brucker is the Director of Technology for the Billings Public Schools, and his expertise allows teachers, parents and students to avoid wasting time on troubleshooting technology and instead focus on the educational tasks at hand. “When technology is out of sight and out of mind in our schools, I know I’m doing my job,” says Brucker.
Two years ago, a technology levy gave Brucker the funds he needed to replace the aging projectors used throughout Billings Public Schools. He sought an option that aligned with his philosophy of low-disruption, education-enhancing technology. Kelvin Johnson, Senior Account Manager at CDW, suggested the Signature projector from Casio. Part of Casio’s LampFree® line, the Signature offers economical, hassle-free technology with minimal environmental impact. Billings Public Schools purchased 100 of the projectors and have been using them ever since.
LampFree Peace of Mind
Brucker has a lot on his plate – twenty-nine schools comprise Billings Public Schools, which employs over 1,500 teachers serving more than 16,000 students. Given these numbers, Brucker and his in-house team of engineers and carpenters appreciate any piece of technology that doesn’t require frequent service. “The bulbs on our old projectors kept burning out,” says Brucker. “It was timeconsuming and expensive to maintain them.”
The hybrid light source used in Casio LampFree projectors avoids the frustration of bulb replacement. In lieu of bulbs, Casio uses a semiconductor-based light source system combining a blue laser, phosphor, and a red LED to produce red, green, and blue light. These light sources are run through a DLP chip, producing an image of impressive brightness - 2,500 Lumens.
The Casio Signature also saves the Billings Public Schools time and money. With LampFree, there’s never a need to interrupt class time to replace a bulb, and Brucker’s engineers can focus on new projects rather than maintenance. The lifetime cost of LampFree projectors is also much less than that of conventional projectors – in addition to saving customers hundreds of dollars by avoiding repeated bulb replacement, Casio has significantly narrowed the gap in initial purchase price between its projectors and the bulb-reliant models offered by other brands.
Teacher and Conservationist Approved
The savings achieved by switching to LampFree technology wouldn’t mean much if they didn’t hold up to classroom use. The 29 schools in the Billings Public Schools system make use of an extensive array of educational technology, but the exact configuration differs from classroom to classroom. “One thing I love about these Casio projectors is their flexibility,” says Brucker. “We’ve had a very positive response from our teachers.”
One of the most prevalent pieces of technology in the Billings Public Schools is the document camera, which teachers use to engage students in shared texts and test correction. Brucker explains that many district classrooms are filled with natural light, but the brightness of the Casio Signature means that teachers can make use of the document camera without drawing the blinds. “That’s huge in terms of classroom engagement,” says Brucker. “Students are less likely to drift off if you don’t have to draw the blinds, and the clarity of these projectors is such that picture quality remains high even in a well-lit classroom.”
Interactive whiteboards are also used throughout the school district, though the frequency of their use varies with the building. “We have some schools using just a few, while one elementary school employs them in 100% of their classrooms,” says Brucker. Billings Public Schools uses whiteboards from several manufacturers, including Promethean, SMART Board® and Mimio®, which presented a challenge to Brucker’s team when picking new projectors for the school district. Most interactive whiteboard manufacturers guarantee full capability only when the board is used with their own brand of projectors. But says Brucker, "So far, the Casio projectors have worked well with all of them."
The Casio LampFree projectors offer environmental advantages as well. “The Billings District was interested not only in the savings on bulb replacement, but in energy savings as well,” said Kelvin Johnson, the CDW representative that sold the Signature to Billings. The LampFree projectors draw 30% less power than conventional projectors, so the Billings School District reduces its overall energy consumption and lowers its power bills.
LampFree also lacks the mercury present in projector bulbs, which can leach into the surrounding environment if not disposed of correctly. Billings Public Schools’ mission is to “inspire, educate and empower students to be responsible and innovative global citizens,” and they practice what they preach by using environmentally responsible technology.
A Future-Forward Investment
Billings Public Schools makes regular changes to its curriculum in order to provide its students with top quality instruction. “Over the last couple of years we’ve seen significant changes to the math curriculum, as well as using more digital materials like video and iPads in the classroom to increase student engagement,” says Brucker.
All of these changes mean that Brucker and his team have to constantly evaluate the hardware and support they provide to classrooms in Billings. It’s a sizeable challenge, but the Casio LampFree projectors have proven up to the task. “They’ve kept up with the shifting technology and reliability has never been an issue,” says Brucker. “If we can save money while making life easier for our students and teachers, that’s fantastic.”