Planning Your Classroom Technology for the Fall Semester

Posted in: Education , UC&C

By Joshua Herring on Jun 08, 2020

As college campuses across the country gear up for the fall semester and concerns about the spread of coronavirus continue to loom, there is still much uncertainty about what the classroom may actually look like. Some universities are opting for a fully online learning experience, while others are returning to the classroom, and others still are using a hybrid method that combines both options. No matter which category an institution falls into, it is important to have classroom technology that is conducive to a safe, and effective, learning environment.

Vistacom’s AV Design Engineers have been hard at work for the past couple of months designing technology solutions to meet the needs of all of these education models. Here are some of the ways we are providing solutions for different learning environments:

HyFlex Classroom Model

A HyFlex classroom model accommodates both remote and in-class participants, requiring specialized technology for improved interactivity. It’s important to note that the goal of HyFlex is to make both the online and in-person experiences equal. Participation and engagement in class is necessary regardless of where and how students attend. Online is not meant to be a diminished experience but an alternative. So, how can we be sure students are actively engaged in the subject matter and learning?

To address this issue, Vistacom understands permanent technology updates in every classroom may not be feasible and has developed a mobile solution that is cost-effective and customizable to your classroom needs. With AV and videoconferencing equipment on a mobile cart, teachers can directly connect remote students to the classroom environment and the content being presented, encouraging interaction without sacrificing quality. Our solutions are platform agnostic and are built to integrate with your software programs, recording platforms, and learning management systems – making a seamless experience for both remote students and professors.

Fully Remote Classroom Model

Though coronavirus has certainly opened the eyes of many to the potential of online learning, the long-term benefits are just as noteworthy as the short term. Online education is starting to be recognized as core to every school’s plan for institutional resilience and academic continuity, both during coronavirus and long after.

One way to implement a fully remote classroom while simultaneously retaining student engagement is to implement a studio environment in which the teacher is exclusively teaching live to a fully remote classroom. This includes a camera view that captures the lecturer and the content in the same shot, 2-way, high-quality audio, a projector for content and presentation capabilities, and local recording capability. This enables a back-and-forth dialogue between students and the teacher in real-time, mimicking what would happen in a traditional classroom setting.

Flexible Solutions

Just as not all campuses are alike, nor are all classrooms alike. It is critical that institutions recognize the various teaching models and classroom layouts and design the technology to cater to the uniqueness of each classroom. With solutions like Barco weConnect, Universities have the flexibility to implement virtual classrooms that promotes real-time collaboration and active learning, in one classroom or all over campus, on-site and remote. . By adding displays in the classroom, remote students can be viewed on the displays as if they were physically there with the other students and the lecturer. With cameras mounted adjacent to these displays, the interaction between the remote students and the person conducting the class is direct, as opposed to a camera capturing a leader who is addressing students in an entirely different direction. Add in 2-way interactive audio and the real-time collaborative learning environment is truly complete.

In addition to flexible technology solutions, Vistacom also realizes the need for flexible buying options in order for Universities to be ready for fall. That’s why we’ve introduced a new buying model, Technology-as-a-Service (TaaS), which allows users to make monthly payments, as opposed to large up-front capital investments, coupled with Vistacom’s professional services that ensure the maximum uptime for your technology. Students shouldn’t have to sacrifice because of the cost of technology, and this model ensures that will not happen.

Find out more about this topic as we discuss it in the first webinar of our Virtual Tech Expo 2020 series, “Implementing Hybrid Technology Solutions for a Seamless Education Experience,” at 2 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, July 9. Register to attend here.

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