Question from the Field: How do I mount a projector?

Have I mentioned I love this job? Basically I get to take years of learned knowledge and help people use it. I LOVE IT. Thank you Kentucky Adult Ed and KET for this opportunity.

Question from the field:

We are finalizing our orders for the year and we are thinking about mounting light projectors to the ceiling to use with our mimio and ipads.  I don’t know the first thing about such a thing.  I’ve seen them mounted in schools, but I haven’t the foggiest how to even go about it here.  Can you help me out?

Anica Smith, Calloway Co. Adult Education

Here is my answer for this Kentucky program:

I’m trying to remember specifics about your center’s ceiling and here is what comes to mind: the center has two spaces – one is a large, common, space with a high ceiling that is flat, and the other part of the building has a suspended ceiling.

For the space that is a standard ceiling (e.g., you could find a supporting wood beam and mount something to it) you can use this mount The mount can be screwed directly through the drywall into a supporting beam.  In so doing the weight of the projector and mount will be held in wood and not the drywall.

In spaces with a suspended ceiling you would use that mount along with a ceiling plate  The ceiling plate will allow you to join the mount to it. Further it will have wire for the plate to attach to the ceiling above the suspended tiles so that the weight of the projector, mount, and ceiling plate are not on the suspended ceiling, and, similar to the statement above, distribute the weight in a more load bearing substance.

Depending on the angle of the image of the projector and the height of your ceiling you may need an extension pole, In the menu settings of the projector are “Keystone” settings. These keystone setting can mitigate the need for an extension pole.  So far I have not been in a space where I needed to use an extension pole to mount the projector.

Then you will also need to consider how you will get electric, audio and video to the projector.

Electric is serious stuff and can cost serious money, I’d recommend seeing if your fiscal agent has an electrician they can loan you for this project or find an ideal volunteer.

As for an audio/video cable that is long enough to run from your computer to your projector you can find those at for cheap. Remember when I was at your site the HDMI cable carries both audio and video – therefore if you have a projector with an HDMI input all you will need is an HDMI cable of the length you want.   If your projector only has VGA and Audio support then look for cables of the length you want similar to this

I am not concerned by exposed wires, but the product does look more finished with them covered. Monoprice also has “Cable Management Covers” Although, if a local business does volunteer to help you with the project it may be worth purchasing what you need of this from them as a “thank-you.”

Also, with it being this time of year it might be worth looking at strategies of purchase. What do you need to finish FY13, and what can wait for beginning of FY14. Thinking of this you could hold off on the purchase of an extension pole and see if you really need it. Equally you could spend money on an electrician and some items this FY, while saving other expenses for the new FY. Typically when spending money on services I check to ensure the cost is in line with granted monies – and typically it is.

That is the basics of mounting projectors. Coming soon: I will find videos online and add them to this blog. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Derby and Blogging

Well, I’ve been doing a lot of Blogging at Unfortunately I’m not able to follow those of you whose blogs I’ve come to enjoy. SO – I’ve decided to blog more here and then post over: this will be my trying ground. I look forward to seeing you and participating in your blogs more!

Onto the Kentucky Derby!  For those of you not in Kentucky I hope you realize this weekend is the Kentucky Derby – its basically a national holiday here. I highly recommend you drink a Mint Julep, have a Kentucky Hot Brown, and bet on some horses while keeping me in your thoughts.

Here is how to do it in a quick and easy way with fun for all ages. First, what is the derby without betting on horses? Make a “pool bag”.  In a pool bag place 1 name for each horse running the derby (there should be 21). On the outside of the bag label the price of a horse ($0.25, $1, $5 – whatever you deem fit) and SELL ALL TICKETS IN BAG. When the race runs whoever has the winning horse wins the bag! If you have a $1 pool bag, the winner gets the $21 pool… if you have a $20 bag the winner gets the $410 pool.  Fun, easy, and perfect for any age.

Second, The Kentucky Hot Brown: some people consider this Kentucky’s signature sandwich (disclosure – I do not care for the Hot Brown myself). Basically it is an open faced sandwich with turkey, melted cheese and bacon on top.  Here are the directions from whence the sandwich came, The Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville.

And, third, The Mint Julep. In Kentucky you can buy bottled, mint infused bourbon for this time of year. Personally I prefer to make mine. I think they are delicious and refreshing especially on hot afternoons. Here is the easiest way to make one – like a Mojito, except use bourbon instead of rum – crush mint into sugar with a pestle, pour in crushed ice, fill with bourbon, combine mixture (either shaken or by pouring back and forth) and add a sprig of fresh mint for looks. Enjoy!

If you really want to celebrate The Derby like you’re hosting a party here in the Bluegrass then the last thing you need is a TV on the back porch to watch the races. My favorite Derby was at a friends house years ago with the TV on the deck, Julep Bar just in the door and the creek flowing just beyond the yard. 

I hope you have a happy derby, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you next week!


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Great Migration

My thoughts are moving to a KET sponsored blog. Please follow me to

Much more to come!


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wow, Kate, great article, and I whole heartedly agree.


Filed under Uncategorized

Thoughts on #coabe13 AKA Conference 2.0

Why in this day and age of social media and Web 2.0 are conferences such a singular experience?  People move as individuals from space to space writing their own notes – some tweet, or blog their thoughts… but really, where is the interaction?  Even with our peers, I would argue that it is quite like school: cliques develop among those you know!

So, here’s my thought, let’s collaborate on note taking, make conference pdf’s able to join to your calendar, and then, further, add a common tech experience to allow outsiders in.  We’re going to work from the back forward.

A common tech experience that will allow outsiders in: have at least one common Twitter Wall by registration or some other central area and project the live tweets from the conference. On-line pages like coabeTweet Chat ( will stream your #tag, live.  Working with your conference site it may be possible to further run these tweet chats on monitors in the center. In so doing other participants will learn more about what is happening in the conference, may choose to participate in the twitter experience, and hopefully passersby will learn more about what you do.

Use the on-line PDF to not only communicate what is happening at the conference, but to also reserve space on your calendar.  As I was planning where I wanted to be when it would have been highly convenient to click on a field of text and have it populate to my calendar. In my mind this is as simple as 1) creating a Google Calendar with Session Information, 2) Create PDF of sessions, and 3) select area of session text to place and tell the PDF the area is a hyperlink to the calendar’s public address, which then one can add to their own calendar.  By doing this traffic will be coming to your page before the conference, organizers could even use metric information to know which presenter should be put where, not to mention the convenience given to participants would be highly welcome.

Finally, and what I think would be the biggest coup, make a common note taking experience.  Using Google Drive one can create a common document that as many people can add to as you would like. I don’t know how dynamic this can be, but I think it would be easiest to have “Strand Documents,” i.e. Technology, Numeracy, Literacy, etc. Inside of these documents would be all sessions associated with the strand. Accessing the document people in the sessions could add what they think is of importance, after the conference the information could be switched to a non-editing document, and be accessible by all participants after the conference from the conference site.

Thinking back to the calendar, Strand Documents could be a link inside of the session reservation. In so doing when one looks at their calendar and opens the reminder they will be projected into a space where they can share and record their thoughts.  Further, it would be highly convenient if the calendar could link not just to the strand document, but to the actual session.

From this level of participation I would expect silos to fall, a less cliquey experience, and more collaboration among peers – and really, isn’t this what we want from a convention?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


In several sessions people were talking about using from-life resources in the classroom. I think we all agree with contextualized learning and argue that this is why the Internet is so powerful because we have or more information now than any time before and we can easily bring resources to our students. These artifacts should be of relevance to our students, and therefore add credence to one’s lessons: think newspapers, advertisements, and/or interest inspired topics.

Well, how do you know if the reading level of that newspaper article is appropriate for your student? Copy and paste the article into a blank Word Document. Once in the document you can run the spell check and, if you have the preference set for “readability”, you will know the article’s grade equivalence.

From this point you can more easily decide which reading material is appropriate for facilitated or independent learning.

So… How do you set the preferences? Here is a step-by-step tutorial. And a video.

Leave a comment

Filed under Class use, Education

IPad versus the others

I created this video March 21st. I’ve been trying to upload it from my phone since, but have not had luck. On the 27th I was able to attend a session at the COABE 2013 National Conference that explored the use of Androids in the classroom.  I am not going to say I am married to one device, I look forward to Android  and the Slate bringing more competition to the market – but at this point in time the iPad still wins out for me.


Please let me know if my assumptions are wrong.


Filed under Uncategorized

A New Orientation

I’ve been hearing similar trends in adult education programs around the country where students have to put in 12+ hours for orientation.

Interestingly all processes are similarly similar: students register to attend, go through a process that includes filling forms, signing papers, listening to a PowerPoint presentation about services and taking the TABE. At the end students are given their schedule of classes, and then the learning begins.


Let’s flip that. Why can’t students register using on-line forms? Similarly what if we started teaching those orientation students by giving them work appropriate emails? Let’s take it a step further, what if you taught that student to use a social website like LinkedIn or Facebook? And then give the student a TABE.

What just happened? We respected these adults time and set the tone by teaching them something from their first introduction to the AE program.

What did the student get? Students now have an email address, and have sent you an e-mail. Using LinkedIn students can create a highly portable and transferable resume. Teaching them FB students will learn how to connect with their friends, families and hopefully YOU. From registering for these 3 products students then have the ability to be applying for jobs at places that only accept online applications – aka 80% of Fortune 500 companies. I believe the student got empowerment from their first session in your program.

What did you get? You’ve got the reasonable expectation the student can communicate with you. E-mail providers are now including word processing applications: Google Drive allows students to do word processing and share their work with whomever they want – including you. And builds to 2014GED(r) readiness. Having students “like” your program on FB gives you another way to contact your student.  What did the program get from this new orientation? A student population who is more ready to participate in the 21st Century Classroom.

Any program can do this, now, for free.

Think about that empowered student going back to his or her community and telling their people about the empowerment technology allows.

And then think about this, over a 5 year period Thorn Hill Education Center found that 98% of students found out about the program by word of mouth (what we have anecdotally known was corroborated in 2009).

Putting the two together, if you engage your audience from the get go you’ve got them hooked. Let’s flip blooms and build student engagement in our programs.

1 Comment

Filed under Education, Program, Student

Using what you’ve got

We need to teach students about the tech they have: think “Obama phone”.

What is this Obama phone? It is the slanderous term for The Federal Lifeline – a program that subsidizes the cost of mobile phones for those within 135% of the Federal Poverty Line. Interestingly the program began in 1985, and was extended to pre-pay mobile devices in 2005; I’m not exactly sure how President Obama got the credit for this necessary program, but there you go.

So, of our students that have state subsidized phones what are they doing with them? Probably not using them to their full potential.

If your student has an Android phone or tablet a Bluetooth mouse and Keyboard can be paired with it. If your student has an iPad or iPhone they can pair a Bluetooth keyboard with it. In so doing you can teach your students more computer based skills like double clicking and keyboarding that will help them not only in adult education programs, but in their life as well.

Long story short, stop investing as heavily in full weight computers and start teaching students how to use the tech in their pockets effectively.

I’m not saying trash computers, and never buy a laptop. I am saying you can modify your purchases with less expensive options, teach your students how to use the gamut of technology, and prep them for life beyond the 2014 GED(r) test.

Hopefully students will even make a similar investment themselves.

Leave a comment

Filed under Education

COABE 2013

Well, I’m here at COABE 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. I hope to fill you in on my thoughts and bring you some interviews with interesting people. Ciao!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized