Over the summer I attended ISTE 2010 as many of you did. After arriving in Denver, I happened to see a tweet from the newly-created InFocusEDU account. The tweet said that the mayor of the InFocus room on Foursquare would win a projector! As someone who likes Foursquare, and who arrived in Denver a bit early, I sought out the room. For the record, I had just been at the same conference center in April for AERA, so I was already a bit familiar with the location.
I found the InFocus room and checked in. I went back the next day and checked in again, standing in front of the doors. By the third day, I was Mayor.
This all led to conversations with the InFocus folks. Since I had to stop by daily to check in (to keep my mayorship and win a projector) I had lots of chances to talk with the folks there. They turned out to be really nice and a lot of fun.
So over the next few days I would stop by and hang out for a bit, listening to them talk about their new Interactive Projectors. New technologies always pique my interest, and the InFocus guys were interested in teacher feedback. I gave them some prima facie feedback and went on about my business. This scene repeated itself for a few days and then the conference ended and I had won a projector.
It turns out I had won them over. A few weeks later they contacted me about having me do a little consutling for them. I agonized over whether to do this, and whether it was selling out, etc. The decision came down to several factors..
- Was it the right thing to do for my family?
- Was it the right fit for me to work with them?
- Would I have to blindly support a product I didn’t fully agree with?
- Would InFocus actually listen to my feedback?
After many discussions with InFocus, I found them receptive to my feedback and willing to allow me to form my own opinions. After many hours reading, researching, and talking with them, I think they have a hit with the new interactive projector. So, I agreed to consult for them.
This post is in the interest of full disclosure. Ultimately, this came down to being the right thing to do for my family.
I do not have an Interactive Projector, but am excited about the possibilities. It is new to market, so you will be hearing more about it. What I like about it, among other things, is the possibility to put interactivity in kids’ hands. Additionally, the projector itself can handle up to 32 machines wirelessly (on some models) which would be glorious in a 1:1 environment.
So I tentatively support it, and will promise to offer genuine unbiased feedback once I get the projector in hand. In the meantime, you will see my name associated with InFocus more and more, as we work together to reduce the teacher-in-the-front-of-the-classroom troubles so often associated with IWB’s.
If you’re curious about the product, there’s a good video here.
Thank you for your time, support and understanding. I welcome your thoughts in the comments.