Welcome to my final presentation over obsolete and emerging technologies. For this project, we were asked to identify a technology that has become obsolete and the technology that replaced it. I chose the overhead projector as my obsolete technology and the LCD projector as its replacement. During this presentation I will discuss many aspects of how technology emerges and reference the work of McLuhan. At the end of the presentation I will speculate as to what will replace the LCD projector when it becomes obsolete.
In education, there are many examples of educational technologies that go in and out of classrooms. Some of these technologies effectively enhance the quality of instruction while others are simply fads that produce little more than hype. One technology that stood the test of time and was found in classrooms for decades was the overhead projector. While this technology is still used in some classrooms across the world, overhead projectors are becoming obsolete.
In 1968, Gene Doloff, invented the LCD projector but it was still a work in progress. Some of the earlier models of these types of projectors incorporated the traditional overhead projector. Current models connect to a variety of media devices and incorporate both audio and video media. In our school, LCD projectors have emerged as each teacher has one in their classes. A reason LCD projectors are still emerging in the educational market as a whole is that they are still pricey and many schools cannot afford a projector for each classroom.
When it was first introduced, the overhead projector began to enhance the quality of instruction for students across the grade levels. Instructional material could be projected for larger audiences and allowed for materials in color. Projectors also allowed the reuse of instructional material in the way of transparencies. Overhead projectors began to make chalkboards and slide projectors obsolete. Chalkboards usually allowed for white text and crude graphics. Slide projectors relied on pre-made material that ended up costing a lot of money. As many pedagogical theories were gaining prestige, the use of overhead projectors allowed a resurgence of direct instruction techniques. All students would focus on the teacher and follow along with the work on the screen. As projectors became more popular, the price for materials needed began to drop and projector popularity soared.
The LCD projector slowly began to replace older technologies such as opaque projectors and the traditional overhead. Once the technology began to cost less, teachers were able to move from flat presentations and shuffling transparencies to showing movies and other types of media to their students. The LCD projector unlocked a realm of media for classroom use. Teachers could project slideshows they created via PowerPoint or materials they found on the internet. Instead of relying on televisions to show movies, teachers could project larger images that more students could see. LCD projectors, when connected to VCRs and DVDs eliminated the need for televisions or other types of projection devices such as film projectors, slide projectors, and opaque projects. With the right peripherals attached, the possibilities are endless of what can be shown. The incorporation of multimedia in the classroom rekindles multiple intelligence theory. Lessons go from just text and lecture to including sound, movies, and could allow students to create their own presentations to show. One concern about LCD projectors is that now tablet computers are emerging, the need for projectors for large group presentations is waning. With tablets, each participant could have their own copy of the presentation, view it, and even manipulate it at their own pace.
For my project, I interviewed three educators. I spoke with Jenifer Lucas, a media specialist and instructional technologist about overheads and LCD projectors. We also spoke about how she saw the future of both of these tools and their potential replacements. I also spoke with Sherry Beck and Amanda Smith, both classroom teachers about their experiences with both of these tools. I have included links to the edited versions of these videos if you would like to view them. Also, all of the supporting documentation can be viewed by clicking on the links on this slide. One thing that surprised me is that it was impossible to find teachers who experienced the emergence of the overhead projector as it has been around for so many years.
As Thornburg mentioned in our course videos, the idea of evolutionary technology focuses on how new tools are simply refined or improved versions of previous versions. Overhead projectors are evolutionary technologies in that they are improvements of opaque projectors also known as episcopes. Both tools used light sources such as incandescent light bulbs and mirrors to project images. However, overhead projectors allowed for transparent items to be projected instead of only opaque objects. Opaque projectors were also improved upon by decreasing the power of the light source necessary to illuminate the selected media.
When examining the features of overhead projectors, it is not hard to see they are very limited. Users could usually only show certain materials like text and two-dimensional graphics. Most graphics were either crude, user-created drawings ancillary materials provided by textbook companies. As LCD projectors emerged, they not only contained the same features of overheads, but also added the ability to show movies, PowerPoint shows, and all sorts of other media usually reserved for televisions.
So how does emerging technology explain how LCD projectors replaced overhead projectors? Simply put, LCD projectors offer more features. LCD projectors take the key feature of overheads, projecting an image, and increase the amount of sources from which teachers can draw. No longer are teachers limited to hand-written transparencies or material provided by others. They can create their own content and show just about anything they choose.
Teachers have always relied on demonstration as an essential part their craft. From showing the Great Wall of China or the innards of a dissected frog, part of teaching includes showing what you are lecturing about. Before projection devices, teachers relied on rich vocabularies and the imagination of their students. Unless teachers had a book with engaging graphics they could show, and not worry about damaging with the high heat of opaque projectors, they had few options for demonstration. Overhead projectors allowed teachers to demonstrate concepts, show higher quality graphics, and capture student interest…all ideals of teaching from the past.
As Tornburg mentioned in our course, ideas from the past might experience a rekindling effect with the emergence of technology. The same could be true with their obsolescence. As pedagogical theories emerge and resurge, certain technologies go in and out of style. A trend I observed while interviewing my participants was that no matter what teaching style or pedagogy was popular at the time, some type of projection device was used. Therefore, I don’t believe the obsolescence of overhead projectors has been because of rhymes of history. As one of my interview participants mentioned, teachers still find uses for these machines that incorporate the teaching styles overhead projectors once enhanced. New versions of these devices were invented to incorporate other innovations or to replace other outdated tools.
LCD projectors continued the trend of demonstration while teaching but also focused on inclusion of multimedia beyond graphics and text. While the features of the LCD projectors improved, the idea of demonstrative teacher did not change. Teachers continued to show materials to large groups and just had to transition from one technology to another. Multimedia learning theory was enhanced with LCD projectors, but this historical idea was not the reason LCD projectors emerged. From my interviews, I learned that teachers still did the same tasks while teaching with either tool, but with LCD they had more types of media available.
Prior to overhead projectors, other examples of these devices existed. There were episcopes, slide projectors, and filmstrip projectors which all showed media. Each used a light source and some sort of film that images were printed on. A disruptive technology that helped overhead projectors emerge was the clear film or transparencies developed by Roger Appledorn of 3M. Once the idea of writing in a more natural position and with normal sized text was presented to teachers, overheads took off as a viable classroom tool.
As I mentioned with rhymes of history, the main reason overhead projectors have become obsolete is that they did not offer the enhanced features of LCD projectors. The LCD projector did disrupt the viability of the overhead in the classroom. These new devices became an all-in-one solution to showing the main sources of media for the classroom. They were smaller, used less energy, and were more user-friendly. Had LCD projectors not been invented, teachers would probably still be using traditional overheads in their classes today along with televisions and other devices to show other types of media.
Prior to 1968, projection devices were limited to traditional overheads, opaque projectors, and CRT projectors. The most common way of projecting movies or other media was via the CRT projector. A technology that ended up disrupting the market for these types of projectors was the LCD or liquid crystal display. LCDs allowed for smaller footprints of the device, less resources needed to power the devices, and a greater expansion of the market for projectors that use the technology.
In the 18th century, a version of overhead projectors, called magic lanterns, was being used. The source of illumination was usually a candle or limelight, not the light bulbs we use today. While these magic lanterns were not inspired by science fiction, their use did inspire Phantasmagoria or the exploration of the supernatural, an early version of science fiction. I do not feel that science fiction played a part in the emergence of overhead projectors, but that earlier versions of these devices did inspire more science fiction.
I do not feel that science fiction has helped explain the downturn in popularity for overhead projectors. There are examples of newer types of projection devices in science fiction, such as holo-projectors, but these have not emerged, nor were they responsible for the obsolescence of overheads.
Just as science fiction does not explain the rise or fall of overhead projectors, the same can be said about LCD projectors. However, in the future it is possible that LCD projectors are replaced by ideas from science fiction. Ideas include holo-projectors. These devices could project images that can be seen without the use of a screen. This allows for 360 degree viewing and potentially manipulation of the image through interaction by the viewer. That said, we have not gotten to the point where these technologies have emerged.
There were two types of projectors that were usually found in educational environments, overhead projectors and opaque projectors. While opaque projectors allowed for greater variety of media being projected, they never really took off. Overhead projectors required expensive material to create and only produced shadows of opaque objects. The feature that set overheads on an emerging track was the ability for users to write as they usually did on plastic film with pens that were similar to ones they already used. This allowed users to stop using chalkboard and include color in their presentations. So, although opaque projectors offered some better features, overheads eventually replaced them in the educational market.
Overhead projectors never really had competition when opaque projectors fell out of style. Granted there were CRT projection devices but they were too expensive and too bulky for mass introduction into schools. When LCD projectors came about, they were decades later than overheads and centuries after the earliest versions of these devices. With these devices the time difference was too vast to attribute increasing returns to the decline of overhead projectors.
Around the time LCD projectors were emerging, another type of projection DLP (or Digital Light Processing) was being developed by Texas Instruments. Both DLP and LCD devices helped replace the CRT devices mentioned before. DLP was mainly introduced in projection televisions and is beginning to overtake some of the LCD market. Even though DLP offered greater features, one deciding factor in how LCD emerged instead was the replacement cost of the components. Also, these devices were not as slender or light as LCD technology.
Thornburg described Red Queens as the phenomenon when two competing technologies work very hard to increase their market share. The result would be an immense improvement of both technologies which would leave others behind. With overhead projectors, there was not really another technology competing or a push to add many features to these devices. For decades, overheads employed the same technologies of light sources and mirrors. Over this time there were only minor improvements of these devices including brighter light sources and the ability to print resources from inkjet and laserjet printers.
The emergence of LCD projectors brought competition to the market of projection devices. Many companies began to produce LCD projectors but the prices still kept most of these devices out of the classroom for a period of time. Once more players got into the market and the prices dropped, the need for overhead projectors waned. With the competition for market share of newer projection devices continuing, the need for overheads fell sharply. LCD projectors were Red Queens in that through the competition within the manufacturers, older technologies such as overheads and CRT projectors were left behind.
While it is possible that Red Queens influenced the emergence of LCD projectors, I still stand by the slow development cycle of the original devices. Nearly 40 years had passed before the original idea of LCD projectors emerged and were prevalent in classrooms and houses.
With the emergence of tablet computers, there is beginning to be a shift from large group presentations to individualized shows. There are software solutions that allow sharing of desktops and presentations with a simple click of a button. Presentations can go from being one-way where the viewer receives information to having collaborative sessions with others. Movies and other media can be pushed to these tablets where there is no need for large auditorium gatherings. Even if tablet computers do not take off, there are other technologies like LED displays which provide higher quality graphics while eliminating some of the negative aspects of LCD projectors. There would be no need for replacement bulbs or dark rooms for presentations. We are continuing to develop technologies, including laser displays, that all can obsolete a relatively newly emerged technology. So, I do not feel it will be more than about 5 to 10 years and LCD projectors will head to the supply closet and be replaced by LED or tablet computers. Beyond that, what could replace these items? Individual displays that are embedded in glasses users wear, similar to virtual reality headsets, or even further in the future, just downloaded into our visual cortexes without the need of any peripherals. Our technological advances continue to amaze us and provide us with better solutions for entertainment and educational needs. I look forward to seeing what the next 10 years and beyond bring to us.
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+ Obsolete and Emerging Technologies Overhead and LCD Projectors
+ Decision Maker/IT Specialist Jenifer Davis-Lucas Mrs. Lucas is the media specialist for Franklin Middle School. She is also the campus instructional technologist. She works with stakeholders to investigate, purchase, and deploy technologies for use in the classroom. She also works directly with teachers to help them effectively integrate the new technologies in their classes.
+ End Users Sherry Beck Mrs. Beck is an experienced English III teacher at Mabank High School. She has seen the introduction, rise, and decline of many educational technologies over her tenure. Amanda Perry-Smith Mrs. Smith is a Spanish teacher with three years of experience. She used much educational technology while in school and uses this experience with tools to enhance her instruction.
+ Supporting Documentation Decision Maker End Users Consent Form Consent form – Beck Interview questions Consent form – Smith Interview questions
+ Video Links Jenifer Lucas Sherry Beck Amanda Smith
+ Module 3 Evolutionary Technologies and Rhymes of History
+Evolutionary technologies:From episcopes to overhead projectorsRefining technologies of the pastEpiscope or opaque projectorIs the idea of evolutionary technologies useful in describing projector’semergenceTo see more episcopes and opaque projectors:http://www.luikerwaal.com/newframe_uk.htm?/epidia_uk.htm
+Evolutionary technologies:Overhead projectorsOverhead technology refined into LCD projectorIs idea of evolutionary technologies useful in describing projector’sobsolescence
+Evolutionary technologies:LCD projectorsUseful in describing projector’s obsolescence and emergence of LCDprojectorsLCD offers more features and ability to show greater types of media
+Rhymes of history:Emergence of overhead projectorsDemonstration while teachingWithout projection devices, teachers relied on imaginationNeed to show larger audiences projected materialRhymes of history are useful in projector’s emergence
+Rhymes of history:Obsolescence of overhead projectorsNot useful in describing projector’s obsolescencDemonstrative teaching has been around for a whileTeachers use many devices to demonstrate concepts and still includeoverhead projectors if they have not received LCD machines
+Rhymes of history:Emergence of LCD projectorsNot really useful in describing in LCD projector’s emergenceEnhanced features does not equate to rhymes of historyMultimedia learning theory enhanced; still could be accomplished with otherA/V tools
+Disruptive technologies:Emergence of overhead projectorsUseful in projector’s emergenceTransparency filmAbility to write more comfortablyLess time spent writing class after class
+Disruptive technologies:Obsolescence of overhead projectorsNot really useful in describing projector’s obsolescenceLCD devices could still be used in classes in conjunction with other tools
+Disruptive technologies:Emergence of LCD projectorsUseful in describing LCD projector’s emergenceLCD technology helped replace less-reliable CRTSimilar to what happened with televisions
+Science fiction:Emergence of overhead projectorsNot useful in explaining projectors’ emergenceMight have helped with emergence of science fictionsPhantasmagoria
+Science fiction:Obsolescence of overhead projectorsNot useful in projector’s demiseProjectors were around well before science fictionScience fiction models like holoprojectors have not fully emerged
+Science fiction:Emergence of LCD projectorsLike overheads, science fiction does not help explain emergence of LCDprojectorsScience fiction could pave way for future innovations like holo-projectorsand handheld projectors being developed.
+Increasing returns:Emergence of overhead projectorsUseful in describing projector’s emergenceGreater variety of mediaColor in presentationsAbility to write normally, not large text on chalkboards
+Increasing returns:Obsolescence of overhead projectorsNot really useful in describing in projector’s obsolescenceCRT was another technology available but it was bulky and expensiveVast time difference between overhead emergence and LCD projectors
+Increasing returns:Emergence of LCD projectorsUseful in describing LCD projector’s emergenceDigital Light Processing (DLP) vs. LCD projection devicesDLP offered greater features, but LCD eventually emergedDLP was more bulky
+Red queens:Emergence of overhead projectorsNot useful in describing overhead projector’s emergenceDecades of the same technologyOnly minor improvements over the years
+Red queens:Obsolescence of overhead projectorsUseful in describing projector’s obsolescenceLCD manufacturers competing for market sharePrices dropping dramatically for devices
+Red queens:Emergence of LCD projectorsNot useful in LCD projector’s emergenceSlow development cycleNo real competitive forces driving innovation
+ The future of LCD Projectors What’s next? Tablet Computers LED Displays Holoprojection