How VisionPoint’s Approach can Enhance Distance Learning
Almost halfway into the school year and we’ve all witnessed the ups and downs of distance learning. Regardless of the age group, it’s clear that the pandemic has negatively impacted the way students learn, and educators teach. Even Universities are struggling to manage COVID rates while pivoting from in class learning to limited capacity, to online only.
We know that some schools have done better than others, but perhaps that is because they were already thinking of upgrading their technology in the first place.
According to Commercial Integrator, USC was already planning on upgrading their “General Use” spaces before COVID was even mentioned. Hybrid learning spaces were already in demand as a way to adapt to the flexibility students were starting to favor. Adapting programs to students who prefer to earn their degrees online, hybrid learning is simply a way of adding a layer of more interactivity among students who are not in the classroom. A concept we see today that has been struggling to work.
Solutions for Blended Classrooms
VisionPoint was able to think of several common issues that occur in videoconferencing and how they may be affecting the way students learn. As a trusted name in design-build AV integration, years of servicing law firms, banks, global corporations and even towns in CT, we have learned how sensitive collaboration technology can be.
In the case of education we know that flexibility and applying the right solutions for the end users and the classroom will effect the quality of education. Understanding how an educator is going to balance their interactions with students in the classroom and those who are remote is key.
One major concern is the quality of audio and video for students learning remotely. In the AV industry we measure the quality of audio through by calculating the STI (Speech Transmission Index) rating. This rating gives us an objective evaluation of the quality of speech.
Distance Learning Cart
VisionPoint first recommends a specially designed “Distance Learning Cart”. Essentially a mobile cart that can be fixed with a display of up to 70”, as well as a video bar with a fixed high quality camera. The display gives the teacher the ability to see students clearly, and the video bar allows for high quality speech transmission while allowing students to view the teacher as if they were in the classroom. After the initial setup, the cart only requires power.
In the corporate world we have seen an increase in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Rooms that allow teams to collaborate and share content easily from a laptop. This concept aligns well with the hybrid classroom. For teachers, sharing content got a whole lot easier. The BARCO puck is powered by a USB-C connection; teachers simply plug in the puck to their laptop (Mac, Chromebook, PC) and easily share content to students.
Multi-Platform Supporting Video-Bars
A few solutions that make sense for hybrid learning are Poly video bars. With the ability to connect with platforms such as Zoom, Teams and Google. The Studio X30 and X50 may be accessed remotely to allow support staff to manage classroom tech. Ceiling microphones are also available to increase coverage for larger spaces. Cameras on the Poly systems can automatically track and zoom by using speech and video recognition, this gives students the best view of the teacher while learning remotely.
Managing Technology Safely and Remotely
Service notifications for certain products can be sent via email or text to admins, and support staff. That means more time spent educating, and less time fixing technical issues. VisionPoint also has the ability to remotely monitor and fix issues incase products or systems need attention.
The Engineering team at VisionPoint developed a calculator that can give us a better idea of the quality a remote student might be experiencing according to the size of the classroom, the surface material within the space, and how far away a teacher is from a ‘Distance Learning Cart’. This calculator provides distance limits in order to give remote students the best audio and video quality. You can read more about the calculator here.
Feel free to interact with the calculator below!