Tony White, AV product specialist at ViewSonic Europe discusses the growing importance of AV tech in the classroom to tutors and students
Today, children are more likely to bring a tablet to class than a pencil case. Recent research by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) has shown that the use of tablets in both primary and secondary schools has increased sharply – with some even implementing their own BYOD schemes.
The global e-learning market has grown significantly in recent years – with forecasts estimating it will surpass 243 billion US dollars worldwide by 2022. Tools like websites, apps, e-learning games, e-books and virtual tutoring have all been successfully implemented in schools across the UK. AV hardware – such as interactive whiteboards and projectors – act as a central hub for the classroom environment and are being used to power these software tools. As a result, the positive impact of technology has been felt throughout the education system.
The education AV market is long established; many schools have been using touch-based panels for the last ten years. In the last two years there has been a definitive product shift away from projector-based solutions to more collaborative Interactive Flat Panel (IFP) systems. IFP displays – embedded with tools such as wireless mirroring and content sharing software – enable teachers to plan for different types of learners (visual, auditory, read-write and kinaesthetic) by integrating web, video and photo resources into their lesson plans more easily. This content can be shared from a portable device and edited remotely, meaning teachers no longer have to stand and deliver an entire lesson at the front of the class. They can move around the room and interact more freely with pupils.
These types of technologies have provided students with an engaged multimedia learning experience and enabled teachers to diversify teaching methods and enhance learning outcomes.
Video is now one of the core components of educational content. Whilst teachers have been using it to support effective learning for decades, the use of laptops, tablets and interactive whiteboards in the modern classroom has resulted in video playing an even greater role in student development.
It is essential that the display of digital content is effectively supported by modern AV solutions capable of meeting the needs of both schools and students. In recent years, the ‘flipped’ education model is becoming much more prevalent – especially in secondary education and distance learning schools. IFP displays in particular have created fluidity in the way people learn, with more emphasis being put on sharing and accessing content offline and outside of the traditional classroom environment.
With the software in place to be able to record lessons, share lesson plans, and access content remotely, the way both students and teachers engage with the curriculum is changing for the better. Now absent students can reap the benefits of the technology and not miss out on important aspects of their education.
An AV future
The recent evolution of academies and trusts have seen the education system in the UK become more competitive – with both private and state schools using AV technology to enhance the learning experience and attract the brightest students. There is already a demand amongst schools for larger displays with higher resolution: 4K IFP displays are steadily being rolled out by manufacturers. However, switching to 4K in education meets some resistance on pricing and concern over the transition of content. The implementation of 4K technologies in education a real opportunity.
The bottom line is that students can and do benefit from technology. Incorporating new innovations has proven to increase student engagement; whilst personalised lesson plans can now be tailored to an individual’s needs – right through from pre-school to university. Students at all levels can use assistive technologies to extract the most from their education, ensuring every student can achieve their full potential. Over time, AV solutions will continue to help diversify teaching methods, transforming how students learn and engage with the curriculum.
Propelled by the increased availability and affordability of these technologies, faster internet connectivity in schools and an uptake in digital learning, the use of digital content in classrooms will continue to rise. By optimising the use of modern AV products, schools and teachers can improve the educational experience and actively encourage learning – both inside and outside the traditional classroom environment.