It may be summer, but the campus of Princeton Day School is in constant motion with significant renovations and upgrades currently taking place in many of the Middle School classrooms and library. On the technology front, PDS Chief Information Officer Jon Ostendorf reports that “In the Middle School classrooms and in the Middle School library, we are installing integrated audio/visual systems with short throw interactive projectors.” These projectors will project onto a standard whiteboard, but allow teachers and students to interact with the board so they can use it as a digital whiteboard and, in effect, control the computer from the board. It is similar to a Smart Board, but the intelligence is in the projector so no special board is required. Mr. Ostendorf adds, “The projectors are mounted only about a foot from the wall, so there are no shadows and more of the light from the projector actually reaches the display. This, plus additional brightness, will make them easier to see and use even when the classroom is fully lighted.” It is worth noting that the projectors will be able to be used both when connected with a cable or wirelessly from computers and iPads.
In some Middle School classrooms, the walls will be painted with a special type of paint called IdeaPaint, which will allow students and teachers to write directly on the wall using standard dry erase markers. This “new-old” technology will take the place of whiteboards. In addition, in one section of the library, there are plans to create a maker space, which will include a 3D printer, access to a 3D scanner, and other items for creation (including “low-tech” items such as glitter and glue). There are also plans to have some areas in the library painted with IdeaPaint. There is currently a wall in the Upper School Library with IdeaPaint, which has proved very popular with students. These physical and technological upgrades reflect a general refresh of the Middle School, with similar upgrades planned for the rest of the school in the coming years.
Mr. Ostendorf also noted, “Besides these upgrades, the learning spaces are going to look nicer in the Middle School, and include new furniture with wheels to allow for flexibility, which adds curricular value as well. We are also adding a lot of power outlets to better support the many devices used in teaching and learning. The furniture and the technology were decisions made based on the current state of the art in learning spaces. It is a significant step for these rooms.”