By Eric Pederson
When looking to upgrade classroom AV, it’s no longer as simple as looking at what everyone else is doing or to the industry standard. Instead, this choice requires a series of in-depth conversations with EdTech experts that are best had as early as possible.
Ideally, the plans start by identifying the result you’re hoping to achieve, then working backward to the beginning of the planning process where you are now. This backward design ensures that the project meets its delivery, installation, integration, and instructional objectives.
What are some factors to consider when looking at new classroom AV?
What does “backward design” mean when it comes to AV? Like backward lesson design, when we design an AV ecosystem, we first look at where you want to be and work backward from there. This approach is fundamental because your district may have a particular vision for how education looks in the classroom that doesn’t necessarily jive well with one style of classroom AV.
Choosing a classroom AV standard that doesn’t match or can’t support your desired outcome can leave you feeling frustrated at the inability to achieve your goals and upset at the cost spent on something you subsequently discovered won’t work.
Ultimately, you may find yourself trying to shoehorn technology into a model that it may not be designed to accommodate.
Instead, if you have a concrete vision for what you want AV in your classrooms to look like, it will be much easier to decide on the right set of classroom AV solutions. You can mix and match or identify an all-in-one solution, helping you achieve your stated desired outcomes.
What are some things to consider before making a decision?
- Instructional – How do you want instruction to look and feel in the classroom?
* Do you want the teacher glued to the front of the classroom or free to roam?
* Do you want interactivity at the front of the room?
* Do you want teachers to be able to record their lessons? Audio or video or both?
* Do you want to incorporate distance learning?
* Do you need audio enhancement?
* Do you need voice amplification? Student, teacher, or both?
- Functional – How do you want teachers and students to interact with technology?
* Do you want hardwired connections?
* Do you want wireless connectivity?
* Do you want students to be able to connect with their devices?
* What devices are the students using? (Chrome, Android, Windows, Mac OS?)
* Do you want a modular classroom that you can easily arrange based on learning activity or a static environment where reconfiguring isn’t necessary?
- Financial – How do you want to maximize your return on investment?
* What is your ideal budget per classroom?
* Total cost of ownership (projector lamps or laser, projectors or flat panel displays, consumer AV or commercial AV)?
* Who will train your staff to integrate the technology into lessons and curriculum effectively? This decision is vital for a positive return on investment (ROI). You need an EdTech expert partner to maximize classroom AV ROI.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the possibilities, but having a defined goal and outcome will narrow down available options and help you get started in the right direction.
Eric Pederson is the director of sales for educational services for Bluum, North America’s largest learning catalyst, uniting educators with hand-picked technology solutions to improve learning and make it more accessible, www.bluum.com.