Educational institutions have offered distance learning options for decades, but the onset of the pandemic spurred drastic changes within the educational system. Overnight, distance learning became necessary, and traditional educational institutions had to adapt quickly. Schools had to do what they could to implement distance learning solutions as soon as possible. Many educational institutions chose readily available audiovisual solutions, less worried about quality and longevity than pure immediacy.
Though many schools are now back to in-person learning, remote models have skyrocketed in popularity. And as the need for remote and hybrid learning environments continues to endure, it is time for educational institutions to enact AV systems that will stand the test of time and allow students to flourish.
The switch to a more accessible online learning environment can be an adjustment, but it’s well worth the effort. Educational institutions with remote capabilities experience improved retention rates, while students benefit from a more accessible learning model. If your educational institution is making the transition to improved AV systems, consider implementing the following techniques and technologies.
The Importance of Remote Learning Environments
When COVID-19 began, educational institutions across the globe realized that video conferencing software and at-home webcams could help them stay in touch with remote learners. While faculty used live streaming applications to communicate important messaging to staff and families, teachers put forth their best effort with the tools that were given to them.
Technology has become a vital component of an educational institution's infrastructure. Schools that were apprehensive about investing in audiovisual equipment when the pandemic began should now implement improved AV systems as soon as possible. Students have experienced the benefits of pursuing their education from home, including the lack of commute, a flexible schedule, and the ability to learn at their own pace. So many students choose to continue learning online, while others adopt a hybrid learning model. Educators need access to high-quality audiovisual equipment to support these students' changing needs.
However, a school's ability to provide students with these benefits depends on the audiovisual technology they can access. For instance, educational institutions should have the means to give the students recorded lesson plans to ensure that each student can learn at their own pace. The audio should be crisp and clear, while teachers use document-sharing tools to engage students.
When all participants have access to the appropriate AV tools, teachers find it easier to fulfill their responsibilities, and students find it easier to learn.
What AV Systems Do Educational Institutions Need?
In recent years, it has become clear that educational institutions must have classrooms outfitted with advanced audiovisual equipment to support distance learning. This means that audiovisual integrators must ensure that each solution empowers educators and enhances their teaching experience, rather than distracting them from the tasks at hand. Here are a few of the AV technologies they are likely to recommend.
In a technologically advanced classroom, document cameras take the place of outdated overhead projectors. While educators can use document cameras for in-person classes, they may also use document cameras to display content using videoconferencing tools. Educators can use this technology to share content with remote students, promoting collaboration and increasing engagement. In addition, teachers can use cameras to create a more interactive online learning environment, such as using articles or studies to incite a class discussion.
Lecture Capture Solutions
Although some students go to class in person, others may not be able to physically attend class due to health issues, distance, or time constraints. For these students, educators can implement lecture capture solutions to record their lectures.
The most advanced solutions allow educators to livestream their lessons while recording the session for remote viewing. Some educational institutions may use hardware-based solutions, while others choose software-based solutions.
Educators who use lecture capture solutions can increase remote student engagement while also increasing their lesson plan accessibility. For instance, when students struggle to understand information, they can replay part of the lesson plan for closer review. Furthermore, students with work and other obligations can continue to view lectures whenever convenient for them.
In the educational environment, proper lighting is a subtle but important component of creating a functional learning space. Typically, classrooms employ LED lighting in favor of fluorescent lighting, but smaller classrooms may rely heavily on natural light.
If participants need to collaborate and interact with remote learners, the lighting fixtures will either hinder or support their learning. When the lights are too bright or too dim, it is impossible for remote learners to view the information on the screen. If the lighting fixtures are too warm or cold, it may distract students from the task at hand.
In most classrooms, general lighting is the primary source of illumination. This entails the use of ceiling-mounted lighting systems with direct or indirect distribution. These direct lighting systems are efficient in guiding light to ensure that all participants can clearly see their learning materials.
Classrooms need high-quality sound systems, complete with high-quality microphones and loudspeakers. With this technology, educators can ensure that distance learners have clear audio, even if the person speaking moves away from the microphone. In addition, many teachers struggle with vocal strain from projecting their voices for many hours. However, audio enhancements reduce the likelihood that teachers will develop vocal fatigue, making each class clearer and easier to follow.
When used for lectures, advisor meetings, study groups, or even to empower long-distance extracurriculars, video conferencing technology enables educators to interact with remote learners in real-time. Unlike text or audio communication, video keeps remote learners fully engaged, as if they are in the physical classroom.
Although interactive whiteboards have been in classroom use for many years, they are now complete with capabilities that also accommodate a remote learning environment. For example, advanced interactive whiteboards can share notes using internet applications, such as DropBox or GoogleDrive. After students save these notes, they can edit the documents on their own and share them with the entire class to aid collaboration.