Long gone are the days of a professor scribbling notes on a chalkboard with desks neatly lined up in a room; even a projector with a screen on a wall to present nowadays does not work in 2021.
For integrators, what is the best way to support clients without being in the room? What is the best way to deliver content to students in the most effective way?
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many IT staff went online to find the lowest priced video equipment only to be met with shortages.
Integrators should not look for the cheapest equipment, rather quality products that meets each project’s needs.
“The lowest bid may sometimes win,” said Peter Melvin, vice president of sales of Herman ProA in a recent webinar; however, “that mentality must change…it has to be good quality, it has to work, and it has to be serviced from anywhere.”
For college students, they could be listening to a lecture through a cheap pair of headphones or using a budget friendly laptop. Finding solutions that work for them, on all different devices is important now than it was before.
According to data from Education.org, 34 percent of colleges are intending to run classes primarily online, 21 percent in hybrid format, 23 percent primarily in person, and 4 percent fully in-person in the fall.
The online learning industry is projected to pass $370 billion by 2026, according to Education.org.
The New Learning Environment
The bill of materials for classrooms has changed drastically over the last year. It is not about sourcing enough desks for students to fill a lecture room. IT professionals are now looking for audio and video equipment, such as sound amplifiers for each room.
In the fall, when students return to campus, professors may no longer need to yell in a crowded lecture hall, “Can you hear me from the back?”
When learning environments are thwarted by poor audio equipment, “it affects learning environments tenfold; it matters more than anything else,” said Melvin.
Even the way we look at space is different now. “It’s no longer a 20×20 ft room, the classroom is used as a broadcast space, an educational learning environment, a social distance environment, compiled all into the same space now,” said Melvin.
Create An Easy-To-Use Experience
One thing is for certain, there is much adaption taking place as educational institutions scale their digital operations.
“What we’ve noticed is that every single person on earth now knows how to go in and start a Zoom call. That’s a huge change,” said Joe Way, director, USC learning environments and chair of Higher Technology Managers Alliance (HETMA).
“Whether it be small children all the way up to great grandparents. As an education institution, what we’re trying to do is how can we make that experience where everyone knows how to share a screen,” he said.
Good Quality & Service Matters
“An AV integrator has to specify really good quality stuff, that all works together on a form of network, in that educational environment that can be serviced primarily remote, but also at site, and can be serviced quickly,” said Melvin.