The BrightLink 710Ui has PC-Free Annotation, of which there are two modes: Built-in Annotation and Built-In Whiteboard. Built-in Annotation is a cool feature that brings up a toolbar to allow you to draw, write, and otherwise scribble all over the projected image. This is useful for bringing students’ attention to a particular area of the projected image, or correcting a student’s writing piece in front of the class. I seem to remember my screenwriting teacher in college using this technique, much to our embarrassment. I could see this being useful in a variety of subjects – English, Math, Science, and the Arts.
Built-In Whiteboard is also rather interesting. This is a feature that allows teachers to project white or black onto their screen surface and use it as a whiteboard or blackboard. This seems to be the way things are heading in education, so we may find that dry erase markers become obsolete in the next ten years or so. Bad news for those companies, good news for teachers who often need to purchase their own supplies and get reimbursed later (if at all). I think it’s cool that this feature exists, as it allows the projector to be used all the time rather than only when there is interactive content or images available, and makes it so the screen can function as a regular whiteboard.
Speaking of screens and regular whiteboards, I think it is worth mentioning here that interactive projectors such as the Epson BrightLink 710Ui will require a different sort of screen. Since pens and fingertips will necessitate a bit of pressure on the screen’s surface, one cannot simply use a regular projection screen, as the action will stretch the screen and render it ugly and soon to be useless. Epson has special screens available that have a hard surface for this exact purpose, and education pricing for them at that. Alternatively, the projector can be paired with a smooth white wall or a regular, “dumb” whiteboard, transforming it into an interactive workspace. What you choose will simply depend on budget, space, and whether or not you already have a whiteboard installed.