*NEWS*SPLASH COLOR, A DASH OF LEARNING

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*NEWS*SPLASH COLOR, A DASH OF LEARNING

 user 2006-01-17 at 9:51:00 am Views: 91
  • #13508

    A Splash of Color, a Dash of Learning
    The reduced costs of laser printers have helped bring the educational benefits of using color to the classroom.
    WHAT’S BLACK AND WHITE and read all over?
    In today’s schools, less and less.
    Studies
    suggest that the use of color in the classroom is an easy yet effective
    method educators can implement to promote faster development in their
    students. Color increases recall by up to 60 percent, and some research
    suggests that readers pay attention up to 82 percent longer when color
    is used in a document.
    But this is nothing new. Educators have
    historically embraced color, although mainly through the use of ink-jet
    printing technology. Ink-jet printers offer attractive initial
    acquisition costs, and teachers can even afford to purchase them out of
    their own pockets or through the PTA fund. In the past, stepping up to
    color laser technology has simply been too expensive for teachers and
    administrators to consider on a widespread basis. But costs have
    plummeted, even as the technology advances, and laser printers now list
    for prices that schools on tight budgets can afford.
    Ten years ago,
    a color device that printed three pages per minute (ppm) would cost
    about $7,000. Today, however, many high-performance color laser
    printers are priced below $500-and those machines can be networked so
    they function as a shared device. Laser printers offer incredible
    speeds around 20 ppm in color. By comparison, ink-jet devices can be
    very slow, since speed claims are usually based on documents in draft
    mode with only spot color. Teachers wanting to print full-coverage
    documents in the best-quality mode will find that the speed on an
    ink-jet device can slow to two or three ppm.
    Furthermore, several
    inherent issues work against the use of ink-jet technology. Although
    ink-jet printers have very low initial acquisition costs, they do have
    a high cost per page and require frequent user interventions to change
    cartridges and paper. On the contrary, each laser cartridge provides
    users with thousands of pages, and even base-model laser printers
    normally hold a ream of paper. More problematic is the tendency of
    ink-jet cartridges to dry up quickly if they are not used on a regular
    basis. This can mean that printers left idle for the summer, or during
    a long winter break, will need new cartridges upon return, even though
    none of the ink on the old ones has been used.
    Cable in the Classroom
    Laser
    printers also have much higher reliability ratings and can easily
    handle a wide variety of media. It’s typical for a laser printer to
    print 5,000 pages without a single misfeed; ink-jet printers can’t
    match that. Cheap paper, especially the recycled kind, can cause ink to
    bleed dramatically and the paper to curl. Laser printers generally do
    not have that problem and can handle recycled paper with ease, in
    addition to materials like labels and glossy paper, and cardstock.
    Of
    course, price is always a top consideration whenever schools shop for
    technology. However, networked laser printers offer educators many more
    options toward restraining costs. Network management software can
    control who can print in color and who cannot. It can also allow
    several teachers to share one machine. This cuts down on the number of
    devices a school must track and maintain, as well as the amount of
    supplies schools must purchase and keep in stock. For those areas where
    a shared network device in a central location for use by several
    teachers is not practical, there are solutions available that place a
    color laser printer on a power cart that can be rolled from classroom
    to classroom. This allows many teachers to enjoy the benefits of the
    machine, while ensuring the school doesn’t have to endure the
    additional costs.
    Some argue that the drawback to laser printers is
    not the acquisition cost of the machine, but the cost of toner and
    other maintenance supplies. However, when you compare purchasing a
    cartridge that will last for 8,000 pages to buying an ink cartridge
    that needs to be replaced each month, the cost per page actually comes
    out less. And more importantly, teachers will spend less time dealing
    with printer maintenance and more time with their students.
    Beyond
    the benefits of better information retention and greater student
    engagement, color also helps brighten up a classroom and enhance the
    learning environment. With today’s laser printing technology now
    enabling documents as large as 12×48 inches to be printed affordably
    in-house, it makes more sense than ever for schools to add a little
    color to their printing infrastructure.