The Classroom of the Future

The Classroom of the Future

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struggled a bit to come up with a headline for this month's cover story because when it comes to discussing gizmos and gadgets, there isn't just a word or two words that accurately describes all the various classroom techie stuff.

Some will use "multimedia" technology. Others "presentation" technology. "Smart" classrooms is a favorite of some. Still other use just plain "audiovisual" to describe the whole lot. And "tech-assisted learning" is another favorite. And if that weren't enough, get ready for "immersive" technology (virtual reality) to shortly enter the lexicon.

It's enough to make your head spin. So after spending way to much time noodling possible headlines, I took the safe way out by stamping it all as the "High-Tech Classroom." And I refer to individual components as "presentation tools" because that's how the technology is being used--as tools to help IHEs better educate students.

But as your department heads in IT and AV know too well, selecting, implementing, and maintaining the presentation tools is no easy task. And as more and more of the presentation tools are being tied to the network (convergence), IT and AV have to work hand-in-glove to make it all work. And to top it all off, there has to be training of faculty to use the equipment (some begrudgingly), troubleshooting, maintenance, and security issues.

According to a survey conducted by the International Communications Industries Association (ICIA), respondents noted some "growing pains" as IT professionals increasingly have to grapple with hosting audiovisual solutions, such as streaming media on their networks.

Moreover, the ICIA says that AV/IT convergence is driving the introduction of technologies supporting a number of newer applications including streaming media, webcasting, wireless and software--all relative newcomers to the audiovisual space.

Up until recently, business, education, and government were the top markets for audiovisual equipment. Today, however, AV technology can be found almost anywhere, from the boardroom to the classroom, and more and more, at home. This means that the bar will continue to be raised for colleges and universities to incorporate such technology into their classrooms, because students will be familiar with it and businesses will expect graduates to work with it.

Understanding the pain--but also the gain--in implementing presentation tools, we're here to help. At our upcoming Second Annual EduComm Conference, to be held in June in Las Vegas, we have drafted some very talented, experienced, and committed IHE experts who will speak on more than 40 topic session to share their expertise and insight on numerous high-tech classroom issues.

As part of the InfoComm show and conference, EduComm offers our attendees free access to the show floor where you can kick the tires on thousands of the latest audiovisual technologies, products and services, plus some really cool stuff that you just have to have!

You can see many of the sessions in the conference brochure that came with this issue. And you can go to our EduComm website (www.EduCommConference.com) for additional information and find more sessions that were added to the conference past the brochure deadline.

I encourage IHEs to send their AV/IT techies and managers to the conference and show because I truly believe that presentation tools can enhance and extend the classroom to create a dynamic impact on education. In addition, this generation of students already is immersed in technology and view it as part and parcel to their lives. "It's no big whoop," as my college son always says. He expects it in every facet of his life... and he's willing to pay for it if it makes his life easier and more fun.

And as many of you know, having the latest technology throughout your campus is becoming more and more of an admission driver. Check out the conference sessions, and drop me a line if we can make the conference better, or if you have some topic ideas that we may have missed.


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