Listening to a talking teacher is not enough for a student’s learning. The research has shown that the students will likely forget what they have learned within just a short period. But with modern interactive technology, like Q-NEX technology, the students have a chance to maintain their memory longer in their brains in a collaborative class. These are not the days when a classroom was just a big room with seats and whiteboards on the walls.
With this advanced technology, it is time to change. Any room in the school can be improvised for video capture and interactive classes, from the major auditoriums in school to simple classes, from the labs to the offices. It only involves having the right equipment, and everything runs smoothly. However, this usually requires a lot of planning, as you will require practical realities on budget and modification of the current classrooms. You have to consider the space, the type of the classes, and the needs of the students.
How should an AV control system be?
A modern classroom should have interactive display devices, the necessary tools for content sharing, and audio and video capture devices. The greatest challenge is how to choose an all-in-one control device to make classroom system control come true. The AV control system for the classroom should suit the needs of every student and teacher using them. You must make sure that every user that will be using these devices should be comfortable using them. The devices should function smoothly together, engage the minds of the users by being interactive, and have the right positioning.
How should a modern classroom be?
1. It should be spacious
A modern classroom should be comfortable for the students to move around the class easily. It should be engaging and have the right furniture. Every student in the class should at least have a chair. It also should be spacious to allow the installation of technological devices that will aid learning as the technology continues to advance. In the future, you might be required to install different devices to make learning more interactive.
2. Should have a smooth and easy-to-use AV control system
Some technological devices are complex enough to be challenging even to the natives. However, many teachers do not have adequate knowledge about using these technological devices, for they do not have formal training in using them. Therefore, it is advisable to use a tool to get a networked media processor that is easy and simple to navigate for both the teacher and the students.
Essential equipment in an AV-equipped class
1. Display Devices
If you are looking forward to upgrading our classroom with the latest technology in the industry, you should consider replacing the whiteboards on the walls with interactive displays. It is the latest technology that most schools are adopting, and it is working well for them. Numerous interactive displays are available in the market today, and choosing the best is a great challenge. To avoid confusion, features that you should look out for in an interactive display are:
• The number of touchpoints
The more touch points an interactive display has, the more the number of users it can accommodate. It is a vital feature to consider because an interactive display with multiple touchpoints means that many students can use it simultaneously, either together or separately, on the same board. IQboard HC900 Pro is an interactive flat panel with 20 touchpoints.
• System compatibility
There are different operating systems in the technological devices used in the classes. The more operating systems the interactive display can support, the better. Most importantly, it should be able to support both the Windows and the Mac operating systems, for they are the most common in the computers used by the teachers; if it can support a phone and a tablet, the better.
• Screen size
The best screen size will depend on the classroom size. For a large classroom, you will require a large screen that can display large characters for the students to see. Most of the brands that manufacture the interactive displays manufacture them in three series; small, medium, and big. It is up to you to decide which will suit your school best. Here, 55”,65”,75”, and 86” are available for you.
Most interactive displays come with digital software meant to enhance their functionality. Each software has different features; you must choose the one that will suit your school the most.
2. Content sharing tools
As the name suggests, they transfer content from a device to a display device. For example, in a class using physical books and other printed materials, you can use a document camera to share the content on a large screen. Tools such as HDMI and USB cables can also be used as content-sharing devices from a student or teacher’s computer or laptop. Some devices also use wireless content sharing, such as IQboard wireless presentation.
3. Audio devices
No AV can work without the audio devices. Audio is twice as essential as video for most AVs use multimedia. Working with a clear audio track in a class and a poor video can be tolerable, but working with poor-quality Audio and a high-quality video is impossible. The same trend in technological devices in better quality images in the video has also produced better quality sound capturing devices. Some virtual audio devices that should be in a classroom are microphones, switchers, speakers placed strategically, and amplifiers.
A variety of microphones available in the market that can be used in classrooms include:
• Desktop mics are good for a stationary lecturer because they are designed to sit in front of the lecturer on a table. However, they cannot reduce background noise, so they must be placed close to the teacher.
• Boundary mics are omnidirectional mics designed to sit on a table or mounted on the wall. They can be useful in recording seminar classes that are in small classes. However, they do not give a quality sound to work with.
• The presenter wears lavalier mics so they can move around with them. They give high-quality sound. However, they are wireless, requiring a more complex setup than the other mics.
• Hand-held mics are a good backup for lavalier mics that might not be working.
• Podium mics are good for stationary speakers and provide good-quality sound.
• Built-in mics are installed on laptops or mobile phones and in cameras. They require a quiet place for them to record good-quality audio.
The pick-up pattern is the main factor to consider in selecting the best microphone. Omnidirectional microphones will pick up the sound from all directions within the range. Unidirectional will only pick up sound from one direction, while bi-direction can pick up sound from two different angles. It is upon you to decide which will suit your class best.
4. Video recording devices
One thing that COVID-19 taught us is that video conferencing is very important and that a lot of things can happen virtually. Video recording devices are vital for video-based education in large classrooms and online learning. Even though the school does not have much money to spend buying cameras, a single camera model can serve different purposes as long as it can pan, tilt, and zoom. Be able to record good quality videos even in poor lighting conditions.
A variety of the cameras that you should consider include:
• A webcam
They are either in-built cameras on a laptop or connected using a USB port. The quality of the webcam has greatly increased as they can now record a 4K video. They are designed to record a smooth and clear video in a well-lit room. A teacher can use them to record themselves while teaching.
They are placed on a tripod or hand-held by the operator. They offer Zoom capabilities, which can be used in a standard classroom to record the teacher. They give great control over exposure and white balance.
• DSRL cameras
They can produce high-quality and professional videos. They can be fixed on a tripod to record a class or a presentation. However, they do not have a good zoom range, so they cannot be used for huge classes.
• PTZ cameras
These remote-controlled PTZ cameras can be used for large class recordings. Ideal for recording labs and presentations.
• Motion tracking cameras are good for large classes where the teacher walks around. However, they are expensive compared to other cameras.
• Smartphone cameras
• Specialty cameras such as document cameras and microscopes.
Other necessary accessories are:
• Video mixers and switchers
• Audio mixers
• Visual recording indicators
The benefits of installing an AV control system in classes
1. All devices are controlled from one place; All the devices used in AV classes are interconnected into one system. The AV integrator can therefore program the system to behave in a certain manner during user interaction. For example, the user can switch on the whole system using a single button.
2. There is only one interface to familiarize with; there are only possible control interfaces, either a touch panel or a keypad. Once the teacher has familiarized with it, it is done. All the classes will be going to have the same interface.
3. Less time will be spent on IT support: having the same technology in the whole school will make it easier for teachers to adapt to them, and once they have familiarized themselves with it, they can operate the whole system on their own.
The world is changing for the better of us. It is good, therefore, for schools to embrace school technological advancements to give learners a great learning experience.
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