Universities around the world have been trying to use technology to connect students, faculty and administrative staff for decades. However, it is distance learning and massive open online courses (MOOCs) that have brought this synergy into the limelight.

This white paper by Infocomm explores the role that AV systems can play in education, especially for online, hybrid, and collaborative models of learning. As a part of this trend, higher-resolution video is changing the design and delivery aesthetic at colleges and universities.

Initially in the online MOOCs classes, the codec was the real bottleneck. However, this has changed, so now the video quality is excellent and the backdrops and sets look very professional as well.

How AV systems and solutions for higher education continue to develop

Another factor that has helped to move telecourses to the Internet is the growing ubiquity of broadband. MOOC aggregators and marketers, such as Coursera and Udacity have used the web to boost student participation levels to the millions. Increasingly these MOOC providers have been publishing courses from universities such as Harvard, Stanford and MIT.

Increasingly, higher education has begun relying heavily on AV systems. This trend is set to grow as high-quality audio and video continues to engage students. Corporate videoconferencing techniques and platforms are already present or beginning to appear in university classrooms due to the increased availability and affordability of powerful codecs.

Today, most styles of learning have AV requirements, especially “flipped learning”, “active learning”, and “blended learning”. In “flipped learning”, students learn new concepts online through video lectures and other content. They do this at home, and do their homework in class, hence the term. During this kind of learning, teachers can offer more personalised guidance and interaction.

In “blended learning” face-to-face methods are combined with computer-based activities, thereby combining both the conventional and flipped styles of education. In “active learning”, students may watch a video in class, with numerous breaks for discussions or written evaluations.

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A college classroom

With all of these changes on the anvil, the classroom of the future may become what museums have become: interactive and immersive experiences. AV integrators opine that the classroom will become a multimedia space with multiple displays using several types of platforms. The latter would include projection, LED screens, and both live-streamed and archived content.

With the cost of higher education spiraling, educators as well as AV integrators are questioning the investment required to support new approaches to education. However, like all new technology, the cost of cutting-edge AV equipment is getting cheaper all the time.

Also, the next wave of learning will have to do with the delivery of instruction to personal mobile devices. This will result in lowering the price tag for state-of-the-art education further, with the latter ending up lower than anyone expected.

Some important points:

“Architects are beginning to realize the importance of lighting and camera angles in schools, something that no one really had to think about until a few years ago.”

“There’s a giant need for an automated camera tracking that works; that will let a teacher use the entire room to teach and still have it captured. That’s going to be fundamental to physical classroom design going forward. As teachers have to move among groups of students in the room they won’t be lecturing from a stage at the front of the room anymore.”

“…the real opportunities seem to be the ones that will evolve over the next 5-10 years, which are essentially life-size, wall-size, interactive, multi-touch experiences that actually beg you to come up and touch the learning, that encourage you to have an opportunity to engage and share, not only at the front of the room, but from anywhere in the room as part of the experience.”

So, now you know how AV technology is transforming the higher education space all over the world. This trend is only likely to continue with AV integrators working with educators to design the smart classrooms of the future. Here’s to an immersive and interactive learning experience!

You can read this white paper by Infocomm for more. To know more about how to set up a smart classroom, lecture hall, or auditorium contact Actis at 022-30808080 or at contact@actis.co.in.

(Content and images courtesy: www.infocomm.org)

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