Hi Trey,

For what it is worth, I would actually suggest you consider other alternatives to SMART Boards going forward. They have not done much to update their software in a while and tend as a company to hold clients hostage with ongoing annual fees. A much more reliable industry standard, that overall reduces the cost for deployment as well, is to consider moving to Interactive Displays, like J-Touch produces. These are essentially touchscreen TVs with all the same inputs as a SMART Board. For an additional cost, it can also include wireless connectivity so that you can connect Chromebooks, Macs, etc..., to the board to swap between students and staff displaying content if desired for instructional purposes. These boards ultimately have a lot of the same great features, but have built in speakers, and no need for a projector (i.e., no $200 bulb replacements!). 

Doc cam's are a bit more complicated, but I've been looking into wireless solutions for that as well, to encourage more flexible instructional configurations in a classroom That said, we have a lot of older SMART brand doc cams that are aging and quite frankly are overpriced. The Ipevo company on the other hand makes a solid choice and their products are pretty affordable. Depending on how you feel about this, another route you could go would be to swap staff devices (over time, not likely in one fell swoop) to be focused more on Chromebooks. This not only allows students and staff to be experiencing the same OS experience which improves troubleshooting, it also helps if you go the J-Touch route because CB's are compatible with that... A touchscreen Chromebook that is tied in with something like Keeper and your Google Drive is just as efficient because you can project a picture of a document through Google Classroom, project the screen, and show where you are writing with a stylus, highlighter, etc.... Same idea as the doc cam but it encourages instruction that allows for students to be more self-paced. We've been going back and forth on how we feel about replacing the Doc cams altogether though and have been slow to do this out of respect for our staff. The final advantage to going Chromebook with as many staff as possible is that you can also drop your price tag for deployment as Mac and Windows machines are often overkill for what they are using. 

We are trying to get a Makerspace up and running in the next year or two as well, that we will have a set of iPads in. This will supplement the classroom use of the Chromebooks by giving students an avenue for coding, robotics programming, etc..., and if you can afford to have these I would highly recommend them. Specifically, the more affordable iPad 5th Edition is a good bet (~$320 each). Disclaimer: you may want to look at other models as this one has been out for a little while and might be retired in the next several years... to minimize your effective annual costs, you should generally look at Apple's most recently released tablets to get as many years as you can out of them before they go into Legacy... Typically 5 years after their initial release date, but that can vary slightly depending... Devices in legacy for them cannot install updates for the iOS anymore and this often causes compatibility issues/installation barriers for apps that are cloud-based.

Not sure if GovConnection could help with getting them more efficiently, but GovConnection (our contact is [log in to unmask]) has overall been a great resource for us. Topfloor is another great option for vendors in general, and Carrie Benati helped us with a sizeable Chromebook lease this year that went smoothly. Her email is [log in to unmask]

Hope some of this helps!


Ethan Kichura
Technology Coordinator
Highgate Elementary School
219 Gore Rd.
Highgate Center, VT
[log in to unmask]
Technical Problems?
Submit a Support Request!
Or call me (ext. 204)

On Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 9:36 AM Trey Cates <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

What is your standard for classroom AV when it comes to projectors, "Smart" boards (interactivity with content), speakers, document cameras, etc.? What is a must have for each classroom? What brands do you use? What vendor has excelled in delivery, installation, and service? Thanks in advance!


Trey Cates
Technology Coordinator
[log in to unmask]
Central Vermont Supervisory Union
37 Cross Street, Unit 1
Northfield, Vermont 05663
Telephone: (802) 485-5467 (Technology Team Office), (802) 485-5812 (My Direct Line)
Fax: (802) 485-3348


Search the SCHOOL-IT Archive

Manage your Subscription to SCHOOL-IT