I was frustrated last school year because it was a pain to use my projector. I had an S-Video cable wired for my TV, 2 Video cables, one for the school’s computer and one shared between my elmo and laptop, and a fourth cable for my iPod.
It was the shared cable between my laptop and elmo that was the frustrating thing. A ppt was running on my laptop, but to show student work, or the book or anything else, I would have to unplug the cable from the laptop, and then plug into the elmo, and then back again.
So at the end of the year, I was thinking how I could fix this. How could I get all my tech wired into the projector, but not have to swap cables. I can’t physically run more more cables, because all the connections on the projector are full. And then it hit me! A KVM switch!
All a projector is is a Video Monitor. The KVM switch (the last time I used one of these was 20 years ago) allows you to have multiple computers hooked up to one (k)eyboards, (v)ideo, and (m)ouse. Since the KVM switch doesn’t know or care what kind of video it is using, it “should” work.
Well, it does. Today I went into my classroom and got it all wired up. I still have the school’s computer cabled directly to the LCD, but all of my tech will go through the KVM switch. I can have 4 different machines physically wired to the projector, and then with the push of one button on the switch, jump to any of the other machines.
I ended up purchasing one of these Belkin Omniview SOHO 4 port switches. I bought mine from ebay. I purchased a 4 port KVM so I could have room to expand in the future. I only need 2 ports right now. Another reason I purchased this switch is the hard buttons. Using an elmo means you can not switch using the keyboard. I needed a physical button to switch devices.
I have had other teachers complain about the fact they could only use their LCD with their elmo, or their computer, but now, with a cheap 2 port KVM switch, they can do both!