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Taking care of your Projector

Taking care of your projector ​

By Samson Busiku

Projectors are extremely fragile and expensive pieces of electronic equipment. By taking proper care of your projector you can greatly prolong its lifespan and can make sure that it will perform at its optimal level without fault. Performing regular maintenance on all the various parts of your projector, such as projector lens, projector lamp and projector cabinet will ensure that you are always displaying the best quality image possible to your audience.

This article should help you to understand what you need to do to keep your projector tuned up and operating smoothly. Provided below are a few guidelines on how to maintain your projector, how to improve your projector’s operating environment, and a number of useful tips on ways to extend your projector’s life span.

There are also certain precautions you can take when operating your projector on a daily basis to improve your projector’s life span.

1. Remember to read the projector manual or documentation
Almost every new projector on the market will be supplied with an operating manual in either hard copy or electronic format on CD. Before operating your projector for the first time you should try to set aside time to read through the operating manual in detail. This can help to inform you of how to correctly operate your projector.In addition, operating manuals often provide useful maintenance tips specific to your projector model, for example, how to remove your projector’s filter cover. Even if you have previous experience operating projectors, each model has their own unique quirks and features that are important to be aware of. Becoming familiar with these features will allow you to tell when something is wrong, or even better, to take preventative measures to stop things from going wrong in the first place.

2. Store the projector in a cool, dry place
When you first unpack your new projector, ensure that you safely store away the packaging the projector came in. This packaging could be used to store the projector. If in the future it is necessary to transport your projector to another location, placing the projector in anything other than the original box and packing means that there is a higher risk of damage being incurred in transportation. Original packaging will often have protective Styrofoam moulded to the exact shape of the projector to prevent the projector moving while in transit.

3. Powering off or Powering down
Always turn off your projector’s lamp for at least two minutes before powering down. This will prolong the life of the lamp. It is also critical to allow the projector to cool prior to packing it if you plan to travel with it or store it.

4. Airflow is critical
If you have ceiling mounted your projector, make sure that the area near the projector’s intake fan is clean and is not in the direct path of any heat or air vents. Make sure the mounting plates don’t block the fan vent and there is enough airflow around the projector to keep it from overheating. Avoid using your projector in a smoky or polluted environment. Smoke can cause damage to the projector’s optics and can potentially void your warranty.

5. Keep your projector clean
Your projector’s filters allow airflow throughout the projector and prevent overheating. Clogged air filters means decreased ventilation, which means increased temperatures, which means a possible lamp meltdown or explosion. Dust and dirt also affect the image quality. Check your air filters every few weeks and keep them clear. Clean the projector’s lens regularly with a lens cloth. Lens cloths can be purchased at any camera shop.

6. Watch the on/off switch.
Don’t be trigger-happy. Turning your projector constantly on and off creates a power surge that will make your projector wear out faster. If you do leave your projector running, make sure that it gets a two-hour rest every 24 hours.

7. Hands off the lamp
Never, ever touch a hot lamp. You can end up with one nasty burn. Never touch a cool lamp bulb either since the oil from your skin leaves a residue on the lamp. Once the lamp heats up the oil residue will burn, creating a black spot on the lamp that shows up on the screen. A large enough oil spot can cause the lamp to shatter.

8. Watch the lamp life.
Be sure the lamp timer has been properly set so the projector will accurately track the lamp life and give you a status update in time for you to replace the projector lamp. You don’t want to be caught off guard with a projector suddenly shutting down because the lamp has run out of time.

9. Let it Cool
When you’ve finished using your projector, allow the lamp to cool down before packing it up. Packing up your projector while it’s still hot may cause lamp filaments and other wires to break.

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eLearning Africa Report: ICTs boosting growth but teachers reluctant to change

e-Learning Africa Report:
ICTs boosting growth but
teachers reluctant to change

By Samson Busiku

ICT is the key to improving education and thus boosting growth across Africa but there is still widespread reluctance among teachers, trainers and managers to abandon traditional methods in favour of new solutions.

That is one of the key findings in this year’s e-Learning Africa Report, which will be launched on 20th May 2015 at the e-Learning Africa conference in Addis Ababa by the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Dr Debretsion Gebremichael. A sneak preview of the report will also be given to African education and information technology ministers at the 8th e-Learning Africa Ministerial Round Table today.

Worryingly, say the report’s editors, Harold Elletson and Annika Burgess, our survey of 1500 African education and ICT professionals shows that, despite the importance of ICT in education, there is insufficient awareness in many schools, colleges, institutions and government departments of the benefits it brings.

57 per cent of those surveyed by eLearning Africa said that educators in their own countries are still not sufficiently aware of the benefits of using ICT in education although 95 per cent agreed that ICTs are the key to improving education in their own country.

Reluctance, according to the report, was a major theme emerging from teachers and educators; many revealed that their attitude towards ICTs in education was not always shared throughout their institution.

The report identifies a number of obstacles, preventing the greater use of ICTs in education and training. These include the cost of services and equipment, poor infrastructure and a lack of awareness about how best to use ICT for teaching and learning. 74 per cent of teachers also said they were not provided with enough support to improve their digital literacy. Only a third (33 per cent) of primary school teachers said they had been properly taught digital skills.

Whilst the failure of teachers and educational institutions to take up the technological challenge is disappointing, says Elletson, there is little doubt that in many African countries, the contribution ICTs are making to improving training is having a significant impact on performance and growth in key sectors.

In the agricultural sector, for example, 91 per cent of survey respondents involved in farming say that ICTs have led to increased yields, 87 per cent say they have helped them to develop new business opportunities and 71 per cent say they have used them to adopt new farming techniques. They may be having a wider environmental benefit too 90 per cent say that ICTs contribute to better food security and sustainable development in their region.

It is clear that, with a greater focus on using ICTs effectively to improve education and training, African economies can benefit substantially, says Burgess.

The Report concludes that raising the awareness and skills of teachers and learners is crucial for ICT integration to be successful. A lack of awareness about the benefits, as well as the lack of digital skills, leads to reluctance to embrace them.

Source: PC Tech Magazine

8. Macs are PCs, just PCs running OS X rather than Windows, or Linux

The above being true, it’s impossible to say that they’re better than a Windows PC, so I’m not going to touch that one. As a Mac user myself, I think it’s probably best left to get the answer from our Windows Editor, Tina, as she tries out a Mac after being a longtime PC user.

What I can address, however, is whether they are overpriced junk, or even if they’re overpriced at all. While they certainly aren’t budget PCs, the so-called Apple tax has been effectively eliminated and the price for most Apple devices is actually quite comparable to their Windows counterparts. For example, if you compare the MacBook Air to higher-end, light-weight, ultra-slim Windows laptop like the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, you’ll see that the price is actually quite comparable. The Mac Mini is another great example, as prices between it and comparable units from Dell and others are pretty similar.

We even tried to see if it was worth building a homemade Mac Pro, or just buying one online, the results might surprise you.

9. To Protect Yourself From Vulnerabilities, Use Firefox/Safari/Chrome/IE

X Browser being safer than Y browser is a comparison that really doesn’t have much to do with the consumers who use it. Browsers are simply an execution environment for JavaScript, and as such they’re all equally at risk to exploits and attacks. It’s also important to note that most browser-based attacks are through browser add-ons and plug-ins, not the browser itself.

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Ugandan School Soaks up e-Learning

Ugandan School Soaks up e-Learning ​

By Samson Busiku

Gayaza High School, a girls’ institution with a long history of excellence, showcased their e-Learning centre that will integrate classroom study with technology. Ronald Ddungu, the Deputy Head Teacher said they have adopted an inclusive approach to e-Learning where teachers have actively integrated technology into teaching.

Students can now access class notes, homework and carry out research in a timely manner to further compliment the education curriculum in Uganda.

Ddungu said the e-Learning initiative has already enabled Gayaza High School to win $15,000 for having one of the most innovative worldwide ideas during this year’s Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain in March.

The use of technology in schools in Uganda will help improve the delivery of the curriculum. Gayaza High School will work closely with other schools and mentor their teachers in adopting the use of technology in their work, Ddungu said.

During a recent tour of the school, Mark East, General Manager of Global Sales and Operations at Microsoft, said: The government of Uganda needs to set a policy and infrastructure for schools to access internet and technology because Information Technology is a tool that each student needs to have a right to.

He said, Teachers, like those in Gayaza, need to learn how to effectively integrate ICT into their curriculum and classrooms. It helps create immersive learning experiences that improve students’ experiences and skills through technology.

He said Microsoft’s approach to e-Learning is a not a one-device-fits-all solution. With access to ICT in schools still unevenly distributed, schools across Uganda are at different levels of implementing e-Learning programs and therefore have different needs.

Gayaza High School has since 2007 been a centre of Excellece for the Cyber School Technology Solutions Digital Science and Virtual Lab software. The school’s administration has vowed to continually be supportive of e-Learning activities, which is highly commendable in a generation where ICTs are growing and changing the world as we know it.

Credit: East African Business Week

“For instance, there is a high teacher absenteeism rate in Uganda, as reported by the BBC, meaning that 40% of public school classrooms don’t have teachers teaching in them”, he said.