For some time, I have struggled with the reality that many catechists do not have access to AV equipment to show videos or PowerPoint presentations in their classes. Often, the RE program does not have equipment of its own and is not welcome to use the school’s AV equipment. While I show videos and PPT presentations all the time, the fact is, I purchased my own LCD projector some years ago because of the volume of speaking engagements I have. That is an expensive investment (you’re going to cough up several hundred dollars for a good projector) that an individual catechist cannot be expected to make and that, quite frankly, many RE programs cannot even afford.
Recently, I researched and experimented with a low cost mini-LCD projector (about $50) but was terribly dissapointed with the quality of the projected image. Then it occurred to me that, for most catechists with a group of about 15 participants, you really don’t need to project an image…you can connect a laptop to a monitor!
So here is what I propose to catechetical leaders as a low-budget approach to equipping your catechists with AV equipment.
- For starters, rely on your catechists to have/bring their own lap top computer so that they can prepare their PPT presentations or video clips at home. Investing in lap tops is out of reach for most RE programs and any catechist who is interested in incorporating AV into their lessons will have their own laptop or tablet.
- Purchase several used 18-21 inch LED monitors like the one pictured below that I placed on a table next to my drinking cup and some other familiar items so you can get an idea of size/perspective. My thinking is that you don’t need a huge image for a group of 15 or so.
- YOU CAN FIND USED MONITORS SUCH AS THESE FOR UNDER $100 THROUGH AMAZON, CRAIGSLIST, AND EBAY JUST TO NAME A FEW PLACES! (Some are so cheap that individual catechists may consider purchasing one as part of their own equipment!)
- Purchase several VGA cords (less than $10) to connect laptops to the monitors as well as several sets of computer speakers (if the monitors don’t have built-in speakers). You can get good speakers for under $20.
- You may want to also purchase a few power strips and extension cords (again only a few dollars)
- You can label these as property of the REP and store them in a safe location.
- When a catechist wants to show a video or a PowerPoint presentation, they can bring their own laptop and connect to a monitor and speakers (if needed) and they’re good to go.
In all, for only several hundred dollars, an RE program can make several sets of the above equipment available on a regular basis for catechists who want to incorporate AV into their lessons. In my next post, I’ll address more issues around the best way to show videos in the classroom.
Your thoughts on the above?