AV needs in the classroom have changed quite quickly as every institution of learning, from K-12 to colleges and universities, have modified teaching and learning methods to adapt to the now hybrid and virtual world in which we exist. Long gone are the static blackboards and even whiteboards of the past. Now, with classrooms accommodating socially distanced students, remote students, and a combination of the two, classroom technology needs to be on point to provide clarity and consistency when teaching.
With limited budgets, schools often look for lower cost items to implement technology in the classroom, but as the hybrid classroom takes hold, this strategy often won’t fulfill the needs of the students learning from home and the teachers who are trying to reach them. Classroom tech needs to be reliable, accessible from anywhere, and offer quality broadcasting abilities.
Whereas in the past, if a projector wasn’t working, teachers could resort to writing on the board, nowadays, those students who are online, may not have a clear view of the board or the lighting may make the writing difficult to read on a computer screen. The ability to share content digitally is vital to engagement and continued learning. Additionally, audio and video quality need to be high quality to ensure every student can easily interpret lessons. A student straining to hear the muffled words of an instructor will become frustrated and less engaged or worse, miss much of the material that the instructor is conveying.
The reliability of equipment is also very important, so students aren’t losing valuable learning time when an instructor spends half the class trying to fix a document camera or microphone. Setup should be an easy, no fuss experience for teachers who may not be tech savvy. Automatic settings on cameras can assist with always maintaining a clear view of the instructor, even if they move around the room.
Flexibility is also key in making sure learning spaces are prepared for whatever scenario may present itself. Schools are still dealing with quarantines where students are in and out of school and therefore either part of or an entire class may be temporarily online. Instructors need to be able to quickly and easily switch between tech that can service only in person students, to hybrid, to a completely remote class.