Technology in the classroom is nothing new – the UK Government’s drive towards ‘an interactive whiteboard in every school’ is now, incredibly, more than 15 years old. However, education technology is no longer simply about the online availability of traditional textbooks or the use of tablets in schools – and the future has never looked so exciting.
With the arrival of truly seamless collaboration, leading pro AV technology manufacturer Kramer understands how edtech will redefine the way education is resourced, consumed, and shared, ultimately delivering positive results for individuals and society as a whole.
Increasingly data-driven, edtech products are applying personalisation and adaptive learning, video content, gamification and immersion technology to change how people learn. Technologies such as after-school and adult learning apps, virtual learning environments and online degrees could redefine formal higher education and transform the traditional career path. A student can now easily upload homework through a portal, learn chemistry through 3D immersion and engage in social learning across the globe.
Bringing these elements together in the classroom inspires real benefits, giving students the ability to share their efforts and experiences with peers, collaborate with teachers and professors and be, in every way, part of the lesson – and it’s here that today’s technology can bring unbridled freedom and convenience.
According to a 2019 report by Pew Research, more than nine-in-ten millennials now own a smartphone. Expect that figure to increase every year as college-age digital natives bring more smartphones, tablets, laptops, and IoT peripherals into college classrooms, dorms, auditoria, and huddle rooms.
Presenting and sharing content from the staggering diversity of mobile devices is anything but straightforward. School policies often lag behind the rate of technological development. As university AV and IT teams embrace best practices for campus collaboration, Kramer is offering strategies, new tools, and support.
Today’s campus needs native BYOD support
Higher ed technologists know the importance of offering a consistent user experience (UX) and seamless connectivity for campus tech users, but tight budgets and the ever-changing nature of BYOD can present hurdles.
“In the educational environment, the BYOD factor is amplified in a much greater way,” said Neta Lempert, vice president of business development at Kramer. “Students are bringing to campus whatever equipment they have; often it is a mix of new phones, tablets passed down from older siblings or parents, Chromebooks, and other laptops. Wireless is the most elegant method of connectivity, and it represents enormous savings on installation costs, but the wireless platform must be flexible.”
That’s why Kramer is debuting the VIA GO2, a powerful addition to the VIA line, delivering exceptional wireless presentation functionality in a compact form factor at a notably affordable cost. With 4K HDMI output, 1024-bit encryption, 60Hz video streaming, and native Airplay, Miracast, and Chromebook support, the new VIA GO2 raises the bar on wireless connectivity.
Ideal for classrooms of all sizes, the compact VIA GO2 gives iOS, Android, Chromebook, PC, and Mac users instant and secure wireless connectivity with advanced presentation technology. The solution features content streaming for 4K mirrored images and pristine video playback.
“Students are going to use what they want to use, and you have to be able to support it and enable it,” added Lempert. “That’s why the VIA line is so powerful. VIA offers native support. No additional clients or drivers need to be installed. VIA offers instant connectivity.”
Connectable and affordable
The other major challenge in the education environment is budget and ensuring a return on investment (ROI). “Education environments are price-sensitive,” explained David Margolin, VP marketing at Kramer. “In K-12 and higher education, all equipment expenditures need to be justified. New products and systems must offer immediate value as well as reliable performance along the product lifecycle. VIA GO2 meets that need with its value offering. It’s in a price range every institution can afford.”
Another way the VIA GO2 adds value is with its easy plug-and-play setup and operation. “It works right out of the box, and everyone can use it. Schools don’t have the time for a flood of help desks tickets or calls to the IT department. The VIA GO2 delivers on the promise of powerful and reliable wireless collaboration.”
The micro form factor of the VIA GO2, as opposed to most of the competition, lets installers easily mount the device on a projector, transforming an old projector into a powerful BYOD machine. Since the VIA GO2 has a built-in scaler, users can share various resolutions; the VIA GO2 will automatically scale it to the right screen resolution to fit the projector and display. “This device can take any AV signal in the classroom and make it work,” says Lempert.
Driving technology developments
Together with the Kramer Collaborative Classroom, the flexible VIA line offers installers and technology managers a complete campus solution to meet every student and faculty need in 2020.
Lempert added: “As AV and IT continue to merge, our VIA Campus2PLUS reflects Kramer’s belief in bringing IT and AV technologies together, creating innovative and functional collaborative classrooms that focus on a seamless user experience. With that in mind, we’ve tackled the challenge of finding flexible and versatile power and charging solutions for all the BYOD devices in today’s education environments, with the launch of MegaEdge.” Lempert continued, “MegaEdge is a portable power station that delivers all-day power for mobile devices. The unit can be easily attached to a stationary desk, rolling work surface or podium for complete freedom from wall or floor power outlets.”
Kramer was recognised for its higher education innovation when it was named to the Forbes list of 10 Edtech Companies You Need to Know About. You can visit them at ISE 2020, the world’s largest professional AV show, in the Amsterdam RAI, Hall 1 F20.