Tyler's Trending Tuesday - Week 4 - Classroom Audio

Author: Tyler Cox

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WEEK FOUR OF TRENDING TUESDAYS: CLASSROOM AUDIO

Another week has gone by and as we all know, things have changed, but that’s something we are used to at this point. The AV industry has been pivoting with new challenges daily and adapting to the changes that our end customers need as they rush to get their offices with new guidelines. One of the biggest sectors that has to figure this out the quickest is the education system.

That will be this week’s focal point of trends, changes and questions: the future of K-12/Higher Ed and how students/teachers will interact either in classrooms or through virtual learning.

The technology is here, and our industry experts are becoming more creative with new room buildouts and virtual classroom options as each day rolls by. Right now, the AV industry is looking like rock stars; paving the way of how our education system will operate from here on out.


THIS WEEK’S FINDINGS

UNDERSTANDING OUR AUDIENCE

Building out a new way to educate means that we need to understand our audience. We have to innovate new environments for both virtual learning and in person classes, which means we need to see it from all perspectives: procurement, IT, teachers and students.

Budgets are going to be much harder to work with. Schools are losing out on money from boarding, foreign students & in or out-of-state tuitions, while some students are realizing they can easily learn from home. We will have to get a grasp on how big of a change certain IT department within the schools can handle. Full new classroom buildouts, larger on-premise networks and the proper equipment for the teachers/students. Lastly, the students/teachers will need to be prepped and knowledgeable on the equipment used in the classrooms and the software’s we need to use for learning online.

Below is a graph of plans for reopening based on tracking of over 900 colleges
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This graph may change as the days continue and new options or guidelines become available, but it is clear schools are pushing to provide that in-person college experience. 68% is a large number expecting in-person school to be ready over the next three months and we will continue to track that, but let’s see what could affect that number as the weeks go by.

CONCERNS

Training will become the next step after putting together these physical and virtual classrooms. For things to run smoothly everyone will need to know how to use the software on our computers and the hardware within the class. That is why things need to move as quick as possible with getting these schools prepared.

Taking away the classroom environment is causing concern that students will no longer be engaged. This worries schools that the personalization and connection will be lost. If schools add the right technology while following social distancing guidelines, we won’t have to worry about that. For a list of solutions that thrive in the education space and have the right technology to give clear audio for efficient classes either online or in person, check it out here!

The schools will also need teachers to work with one another with the changes. Unfortunately, a few folks still don’t want to accept an all-in-one video sound bar as a tool to record and engage. Us AV people will need help from the teachers to guide those hesitant folks down this path and let them know that this change is for the better.

If they have not yet already started, schools need to get as much data as possible. If it’s not being measured then it seems it might not be important to your institution, but in today’s day, those analytics are going to give us exactly what we need. As The Harvard Business Review states:

“Universities now have the data to ascertain the optimal percentage of face-to-face, real-time/virtual, and asynchronous/virtual components required for each course. That can provide insights to decide…”

So, if we really want to get the best outcomes for our students and faculty on what to do next, the schools that are not moving the needle on tracking this information, need to start to be more data driven.


THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

People learn many ways. Some would rather be in person and taking notes while others retain knowledge better by reading or watching videos. This aspect of education will move forward with giving the students more access to what the teachers have as well. Sharing the deck presentation from that day’s lecture. Recording the lectures and sharing both the video and audio for students to re-watch later. This is technology that we have at our fingertips and can easily be transitioned into a new way of educating. 

Since we are no longer constrained to physical classrooms a few things need to be done first. Teachers will need to be armed with the right equipment both in classroom and at home. Wireless mics, like our Yamaha Education Audio Kit, with voice amplification and lecture capture abilities will be necessary for a high-quality, yet flexible audio solution. Since participants will be both at home and on campus this is a big factor.

As for on campus, rooms will have to be more detail oriented with what hardware is in each room, how it can be used, and the capabilities that it has. Teachers need to know what they have available to them within each room so they can make sure they are staying engaged with the students. One thing that we have to be okay with right now is, experimenting with room designs, open up to new options, and we need to know what the schools are lacking so we can fill in the gaps. I was listening to the HETMA Summer Virtual Conference today and something that Ed Teague, CIO of The United States Military Academy, said really stuck with me:

People can’t be afraid to say: “This doesn’t work for me.”

We are not going to be able make real changes unless we are honest with what will work and what won’t.


SO, WHAT WORKS?

This is the question I guarantee you ask yourself every day. What works? I wish I had a 100% right answer for that, but these are the updates we need to continue to share with one another. Obviously, virtual learning works, with a few kinks and some bandwidth issues from time to time, but it works, we know that. So why not build on the pivots we’ve made and continue to drive forward new things that will work. Lecture capture works. Recording teaching lessons and sharing those with the students works. Sharing the PowerPoint lesson with the class after works. I even have a friend that was putting out daily lessons for his elementary school students. They did a take on The Today Show and put together daily videos of each subject where the kids could watch and learn. Check it out here: Welcome to Tashua Today. Rock n’ Roll Friday is my favorite day for sure! But we won’t know what works until we try new things. We have to experiment and schools are going to have to do more with less.

“Most schools will try a hybrid model of mixed in-person and online options. If a student doesn’t want to come to class, he or she can do all of the work remotely…Students will have the flexibility of doing the work and listening to the videos when they choose, and not having to show up in class.”

I think that one of the biggest positives that can come from this is how wide open the spectrum of education is right now. Now is the time for the AV innovators to shine. If we can successfully help our school systems design new classrooms, a new way of learning then we can start to open our industry up alongside the education industry. From a great article here:

“Education doesn’t just end after school or college, though. In an era of increasing tech disruption, continuous learning has become ever more important to safeguard jobs for the future.”

Put in front of us, is a chance to integrate the need of AV, in all types of education and whatever future it holds. Using specific equipment and software’s in classrooms from kindergarten all the way up to college will help the future leaders gain the skills and knowledge of this technology that will be used in their workforce in the future.
 

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