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Audio Visual developments and what they mean for education

Damien Weissenburger, head of corporate & education solutions, Sony Professional Europe looks at content, collaboration & capture

Posted by Sophie Beyer | February 21, 2017 | Product news

Modern technology has introduced an exhilarating mix of possibilities into today’s classrooms and lecture halls. Students and teachers have changed, and the one-way lecturing format is no longer the most effective way for educators to connect and engage with their pupils. It’s unsurprising that 49% of educators believe the foreseeable future will bring significant changes to the way they teach.

The role of video content continues to surge in both higher and secondary education, as educators use original, compelling content to engage students

The UK has long been a leading light in both technical and educational innovation. Approximately one in every seven of Western Europe’s teaching spaces are located in the UK, and more than £6.7bn was invested into UK tech firms in 2016, according to London & Partners. This uniquely places the UK at the intersection of learning and the technologies that could transform it.

When it comes to AV technologies and the trends that will dominate 2017, three concepts come to the fore: video, interactivity, and lesson capture. These topics will dominate discussion of ed-tech over the coming months, and for good reason.

Video content

The role of video content continues to surge in both higher and secondary education, as educators use original, compelling content to engage students. According to Kaltura’s 2016 report on The State of Video in Education, 91% of education decision makers agree that video will play a major role in education in the future. As this trend towards increased video use continues, image quality expectations will cross over from the consumer sphere, and classroom and lecture hall screens will come under closer scrutiny. 4K and HDR (high dynamic range) professional displays that can captivate learners with greater detail and richer colours will become the norm for new AV investments.

At the larger end of the scale, installation projectors are becoming more sophisticated in image quality, but also easier and cheaper to run. Laser light source projectors require virtually no maintenance and are more energy efficient than traditional lamp-based models. According to Futuresource Consulting, in 2015 around one in every twenty installation projectors sold within Europe used a laser light source, but by 2019 this figure is expected to reach 73%. Laser projectors are already on track to become the de facto choice for lecture hall installations, and 2017 will see a surge in enquiries about laser projector installations throughout the education sector.

Interactivity 

Education is increasingly being seen as a collaborative exercise between educator and learner, rather than a one-way broadcast of information. Teachers and lecturers must work with their students, and students must be able to flexibly explore and learn in order to get the most out of their educational experiences. This means providing access to – and drawing on – a wide selection of engaging materials, from a variety of sources. Sony’s Vision Exchange is an intuitive new collaboration solution that brings together students and lecturers in a dynamic workgroup-based environment, encouraging creative discussion and knowledge exchange. Students or teams can work collaboratively in small independent workgroups or clusters connecting wirelessly to the platform via their own laptops, tablets or smartphone devices. Information created by workgroups using on-screen annotation tools or whiteboard with digital tag can then be saved as snapshots and downloaded to their connecting device.

For smaller learning environments, we’re seeing a trend for turning larger display screens into interactive surfaces. Touch-screen overlays for high quality professional displays are creeping into classrooms and enabling more flexible, collaborative learning through interactivity – in some cases, they’re even replacing the interactive whiteboards that may previously have been used.

These displays are also becoming individual content management and access systems, as many of the latest generation of screens support Android TV and Google Cast, as well as traditional HDMI and USB connections. Learners can easily share content from their own devices on these larger screens, once more allowing for a more natural flow of conversation and learning.

Capture & share

With students and educators enjoying greater flexibility and interactivity, we’ve seen the introduction of a concept that will be discussed widely this year – the ‘flipped classroom’. Rather than turning up to lessons or lectures and seeing educational content for the first time, learners are increasingly watching content online ahead of the lesson. When they reach the classroom, this in-person time is spent on collective group learning and discussion.

While the ‘prepare then discuss’ approach clearly exists in higher education – and has done for some time – we’re now seeing it gaining popularity in secondary education too. And while the previous approach focused on reading and static content, we’re now seeing video content being far more widely used. This is also being driven, in part, by the growth of online-only courses and learning.

The result is that recording lectures and lessons will become more widespread in 2017, fuelling the video content trend. Remote cameras such as Sony’s SRG cameras will allow for both live streaming and capture of content, for online reference as well as part of ongoing in-person programmes.

While video, interactivity, and lesson capture grow in popularity and adoption, we’re going to see an overall surge in AV investment across the education sector. Using effective, high quality technologies is no longer a ‘bonus’ to impress prospective students and stakeholders. It has become a critical aspect of education, and 2017 will see this fact confirmed.

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