Teaching in the Digital Age: Chapter 3 Rethinking Projectors

Teaching in the Digital Age: Chapter 3 Rethinking Projectors

Jun 21

Welcome to Week Three of our Summer Book Blog Study.  First let me say, I’m loving this book.  Brian Puerling’s writing style is easy, quick, and it feels very conversational – something I always appreciate.  When I first posted about the study a few weeks ago, I received a comment on my Facebook page from a friend of mine that made me giggle.

“Am I the only one that finds it odd that a book about teaching in the DIGITAL age isn’t available digitally?!” She wondered.

The irony was not lost on me when I went to order my own copy of the book. Upon receiving it, however, I realized there might be some thought behind this.  Packed with sample forms, having those documents on an iPad or other ebook reader might not be so helpful.  Perhaps the book could have come with a CDROM, but that’s just nit picking, as every video and file has a link.  On to Chapter Three!

What does Puerling say for himself?  Well each chapter begins with a link to a video intro by the author himself, which was awesome!

Puerling begins by joking about random projectors collecting dust like old VCRs or, even worse, the film strip projectors of my childhood.  The reality is, projectors offer teachers a plethora of uses and ways to ‘provide authentic and meaningful experiences for learning.’

To begin, three different projector setups are offered, including the pros and cons of each.  Depending on your school’s technology department and budget, you can probably configure something close to one of the given designs.  With that, Puerling is off, outlining the various ways a projector can make your teaching more powerful. Key Ideas for Using Projectors:

  • Jump-Start Inquiry – Projecting images, video, or text on a large screen allows children to engage with them in new ways.  ‘When images are projected, the learning experience becomes social.’
  • Support Creativity – Puerling’s description of an incident in his preschool classroom spoke volumes to me: ‘…My preschool class wanted to create a space shuttle launch pad in our dramatic play center.  To help the children determine what they would include in the launch pad, I projected photographs of a launch pad and the inside of a space shuttle.” Simple, powerful, and purposeful.
  • Pursue Inquiry Concepts – When children are curious about something that has come up in class, by projecting a photo or video, you can go deeper and discuss as a class.  When my students were curious about hibernating bears, I found a webcam of a cave with a mother and her cubs.  We watched it for almsot twenty minutes – they were amazed!
  • Dramatize Stories – We all have children come to the front of the class to read or act out stories.  Try projecting it!  I recently used my Luna document camera to allow a boy to read his story.  I pointed the camera at him and then projected him on the screen.  WOW – he was suddenly a movie star!
  • Share Artwork and Writing – How many times have you wanted to share a student’s writing with the class?  There you are, sitting in your chair, holding it up, trying to get them to see the spaces between the words, but knowing the kid in the back probably can’t see.  Slip that paper under your document camera and project it!  Suddenly, those spaces are giant and the fly on the back wall could see them!
The Chapter also includes the following sections, all with wonderful examples:
  • Support Academic Learning with Interactive Whiteboards
  • Using Projectors to Support Documentation and Assessment
  • Knowledge at the End of an Inquiry Unit
  • Children’s Observation of Photographs and Videos
  • Writing Development
  • Learning Experiences in Mathematics
  • Articulation of an Artist’s or Writer’s Process
  • Using Projectors to Exhibit Learning

Finally, Puerling has a section to help with the physical placement of your projector – something that can be a challenge depending on how new (or ancient) your classroom is.  There are tons of forms to help with reflecting on projected work too.  

Quite simply, the book is chocked full of valuable information.  By using real life examples from Pre-K through third grade, teachers will find new and exciting ideas on how to use that projector (hopefully not) collecting dust in their classroom.

 Link Up!


  1. I am loving this book too! I especially like the QR codes and watching the video clips. Good news, the publisher says the book will be available as an iBook soon. This way the links to the videos will be “clickable”

  2. Did I miss something? I went to order this book on amazon and it says it hasn’t been released yet…did you get an advanced copy…I’ves seen several bloggers post about reading it so I don’t get why I can’t order it!


    • Hi KT, the book is currently available at RedleafPress (www.redleafpress.org) They are offering a 35% discount code, use the code STUDY. You can read the details about the book study in the introductory post here

  3. Beadboard

    This is such great information! I teach K & the tech committee just accepted my request for a document camera, & they are allowing me to choose it. Is the Luna camera the best value? What should I be looking for? Can anyone give me suggestions? I don’t want to purhase the only one I’m “familiar” with & later find there were much better options. Thank you so much for your help. smskdg@hotmail.com

    • Happy Rainbow

      I’m only familiar with the Luna. I do know it’s the least expensive. That being said, I’ve had no issues with it and only positive experiences. It’s VERY simple to setup and use which I appreciate.

    • I have the Luna and it’s great- you can see my video review here. I also have an iPevo (I know, I have a tech addiction!) and it works well too and is more affordable.

  4. I have been enjoying the Easter egg hunt for those QR codes & somehow I missed those chapter introductions! I don’t know how I missed it, but thanks for pointing it out. I thought that space shuttle story was a fantastic example of using technology in a positive way.

  5. I was puzzled by the book not being offered digitally myself. But, I get it! I love the embedded videos in the book and the forms too. Awesome way to incorporate technology into print. As far as projectors go, I feel very behind. My classroom does not have a projector. I am a preschool teacher, but there is so much we can do with having a projector in the classroom. Going to try my best to get this tool for my classroom!

    • Amy, you might want to check Craig’s List for used projectors. I have sold two of my own personal projectors there over the years and I have seen many others for sale there as well. The trick is to not show interest when they are first posted, keep track of the projectors for sale on the site until they have been there for several weeks and then offer much less than asking price. Chances are they will take your offer then :) Or you could try asking for a floor sample from a store like Best Buy and see what reduced rate they would give you. Good luck!

      • Happy Rainbow

        See? Haven’t I been telling you how brilliant Vanessa is? What a fantastic insight on how to get an inexpensive projector!

  6. Robin S.

    I teach Preschool out of my home and I am always looking for Ideas on space issues and new ways of doing things, This book is full of ideas and I have implemented a few already. I am just not sure if I can fit a Projector into my space. But I would love to, I can see where the children would be more involved with learning on a larger scale if they all could see it better.


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