As you probably know, active learning environments are increasingly becoming the norm in 21st century classrooms across the world. To facilitate learning in these classrooms, AV technology plays a huge role. Everyone from AV integrators to makers of AV equipment are focusing on this domain, and the latter are developing new products that support more active and collaborative learning. There are several trends impacting learning in contemporary classrooms. These are…

1) Projectors and displays are becoming increasingly interactive: Interactive projectors first hit the US market in 2009. Since then, they have shown steady growth. According to Norton, U.S. sales of interactive projectors jumped 36 percent in 2014. Many of these sales were to colleges and universities. New options for interactive projectors continue to emerge, with more devices supporting touch interactivity with a finger instead of a pen. Many schools look to interactive projectors as an alternative to interactive whiteboards in classrooms. Touch capability is increasingly important and many customers now expect this instead of pen-based interactivity.

2) Interactive flat-panel displays also are catching on in education: From a cost perspective, interactive projectors or whiteboards will be cheaper than large flat-panel displays. However, there are some benefits that make interactive flat panels worth the money. For instance, even when using an ultra-short-throw projector, there will still be shadows on the projected image when users are writing on the board or interacting with projected content. Also, projectors can be bumped out of alignment, requiring a technician to realign and calibrate the image. Also, projectors require lamp changes when the lamp burns out. Flat-panel displays do not have these issues.

3) Lamp-free projectors are becoming increasingly popular: Projector lamps are not only expensive, but it can also be a hassle to replace them when they burn out. Also, properly disposing of mercury lamps is not easy. For these reasons, a small but growing number of organisations, including schools and collegs are opting for lamp-free models when buying projectors.

Lamp-free projectors use solid-state illumination (SSI) instead of traditional mercury lamps for their light source. These include LED projectors, laser projectors and hybrid projectors that use a combination LED/laser light engine.

These lamp-free projectors were more expensive than models with traditional light sources when they first came out. However, today, the prices are comparable. Sales of projectors with solid-state light sources instead of lamps are on the rise, and many schools have begun buying these.

4) New apps and devices enable multiple users to collaborate and share content wirelessly at the same time: A number of new AV systems allow for wireless collaboration between instructors and students, enabling an ever-larger number of users to work together on projects and share presentations. Systems such as ShareLink, Moderator and Touch Display Link are designed to take advantage of the “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)” phenomenon in education. But experts recommend that campus AV buyers involve their network services team when planning for and evaluating systems that enable wireless collaboration, to ensure their networks can handle the anticipated demand without any signal interference.

5) Web conferencing offers a more versatile option for making video connections: Besides the very popular Skype and Google Hangouts, there are other Web-based conferencing systems that enable educators to connect with remote speakers without the need for expensive video conferencing equipment. These services allow users to participate in a video chat or conferencing session using any device with a Web browser. They are also more scalable and reliable than ad-hoc calls using a free system and colleges and universities do not need high-end equipment to use them.

These are the top 5 key AV trends when setting up contemporary classrooms. If AV integrators follow these trends they cannot go wrong and can set up collaborative classrooms with a high degree of interactivity. Here’s to smart learning anytime, anywhere…

For more information on how you can set up a connected classroom, contact Actis at 022-30808080 or at contact@actis.co.in.

(Content courtesy: www.campustechnology.com and images courtesy: www.palmbeachschools.org and www.fcl.eun.org)

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