Teaching in the time of COVID-19 is a daunting task for many. Traditionally, effective teaching time involved a classroom connecting with a teacher in close quarters. But restrictions have required schools to resort to special bubbles for teaching to continue.
Just because our children have to be taught in a more restricted way than we might like, the tools we use to educate them needn’t be rudimentary. If anything, they should be as state-of-the-art as possible, to inspire children in these strange times.
There are all kinds of new pieces of kit to add to your classroom’s AV system, to make lessons more interactive and engaging than ever before. Let’s explore how to make the most out of the latest gizmos today.
Touchscreens offer greater engagement
The days of chalkboards and whiteboards with marker pens in classrooms are over. It’s the 2020s now, and an increasing number of schools are embracing the latest in touchscreen technology for their classroom.
Why are they doing this?
- Interactive screens are more attention-grabbing, boosting engagement
- Designed for multiple students to use at any one time, encouraging group activities
- Ideal for kinesthetic people, who require a more physical aspect to their learning process
- Screens can offer high-resolution imagery to dazzle the class with striking clarity
If you want to engage your students for as much time as possible during the school day, it helps if everyone in the room feels like a part of the action. Many children are especially suited to more interactive forms of learning which involve more physical activity. Being able to call them up to the front of the room, to engage with what’s on the screen can be a sure-fire way of stimulating their learning experience.
Due to restrictions currently applicable to educational settings, mingling between pupils is supposed to be kept at a minimum. This means keeping your pupils in the same four walls for much of the week. But what if that hi-tech touchscreen you need to use is in another classroom? Rather than your class decamping to another room, you can bring the screen to them using a display screen trolley.
Having such a trolley would help wheel any display screen from room to room with ease. It helps minimise the risk of your pupils having to switch classrooms unnecessarily. Your screen becomes portable, allowing you and your colleagues to use it anywhere in the school that has space and connections.
Remember: As a precaution, always make sure any touchscreens or screen surfaces you use are regularly cleaned and sterile. If you expect multiple students to be using the screen over the week, it could risk becoming a source of transmission if you’re not careful. Sterile surfaces can help limit the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your class, so remember to give them a wipe between classes.
|Did you know?
A study carried out by Smart Technology found that classrooms which engaged in frequent daily group activities were 20 per cent more likely to have higher levels of social and emotional skill development than those that engaged in low or moderate levels of group activities.
Getting the right brightness is key
Classrooms are often designed to be spacious and brightly-lit, with plenty of windows and light fittings dotted all over. As a result, you need to make sure that your screen and your classroom projector are using the appropriate level of brightness for both you and your students.
The pandemic won’t change this essential requirement; if anything it will make it even more important to avoid distractions and ensure the right setup to keep your students’ focus on point.
The brightness of your classroom projector image is measured in ANSI Lumens, and we’d typically recommend looking for a model capable of offering at least 4,000 Lumens brightness. That being said, no two classrooms are alike when it comes to lighting.
Too dim — and daylight or light fittings will drown out the images you’re trying to project. Too bright and you might give your audience a headache and eyestrain if they sit watching the screen day in day out at high brightness.
Classroom lighting is increasingly motion-sensor activated, meaning you might be stuck with a brightly-lit space, requiring you to find higher-brightness projectors to start with. However, always check what the restrictions are in your school or best practice guidance from the council before installing or upgrading a projector system.
Smart solutions to accommodate remote learning
You know the drill – mingling between classes and year groups is to be kept at a minimum. This is all in aid of reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading from pupil to pupil. If someone in your school contracts COVID-19, there’s a risk that some or all of your pupils could find themselves having to isolate at home.
But being sent home for a fortnight doesn’t have to mean they can’t participate in your classes. In actual fact, we have a range of devices which can cater to those in need of home working solutions. This includes devices such as webcams and Bluetooth headsets, which can be used to help students and teachers stay in touch, even if they’re not in the same space.
Connectivity is core to interactive learning
Just as with brightness, now is the time to minimise distractions and address anything that might interfere with your essential teaching.
Teachers appreciate having great connectivity while using their AV systems in the classroom. It’s simply not conducive to anyone’s learning, if the teacher can’t wire up their laptop to the screen, or if the sound system is always glitching. No one wants to disrupt an entire classroom’s day, trying to find the right cables and plugs to get their AV system fully-functional.
Some projectors require very specific types of cabling, especially 4K projectors. If you get a simple thing like set-up wrong, the cables simply can’t handle the bandwidth, reducing picture quality. Other side effects can include dropouts or failure to display anything at all.
Most classroom AV systems benefit from HDMI cabling as a good option for most AV solutions. HDMI will allow you to display everything from Full HD to full-blown 4K HDR if needs be. ProjectorPoint has an array of HDMI cables for a variety of requirements, from brands including:
Wireless teaching for the modern classroom
The future is well and truly here when it comes to wireless projection technology. You don’t actually need to waste any teaching time with connecting various devices if you’d really rather just go wireless. We’ve been supplying meeting room technology to businesses since they were first launched, so we’re experts in wireless presentation systems in all kinds of settings, including educational ones.
If you’ve had run-ins with AV systems in your classroom over connectivity and displaying content, it could be time to embrace the latest in wireless presentation devices.
Ideal for use in rooms both big and small, the ClickShare includes a base unit and a number of Button units, designed to be paired up with whichever devices you wish to use. The ClickShare invites collaboration by making it easy for multiple students to share their work directly from their device to the presentation screen or projector.
· Compact device with extensive connectivity
· USB port for connections to laptops
· 1-2 HDMI inputs
· HD/4K resolution imagery (see models for specifications)
Depending on the model you choose, some ClickShare devices also allow AirPlay, allowing you to pair them to a specific iOS device. Also, models such as the CSE-800 can allow for dual-screen output – very handy if you need more than one image to display to the class at any one time.
A classroom AV system fit for the 2020s
As we have learnt from recent months, all of us need to be increasingly imaginative in the way we go about what used to be our regular daily activities.
Educational institutions have some of the most intense pressure to provide exceptional learning experiences week after week. While the specific learning materials need to be as stimulating as possible, the way they are presented should be spectacular.
In this guide, we hope we have outlined some of the key considerations your school should take when considering how to upgrade its AV systems for classrooms at present.
- To boost engagement consider the benefit of multi-touch interactive touchscreens.
- To streamline AV operations and to get more people engaged from their seats in class consider more wireless options for presentations.
- To facilitate more flexible use of your AV, consider investing in a display screen trolley to allow your tech to move around the building to your students.
For enquiries regarding classroom AV systems, don’t hesitate to get in touch with ProjectorPoint today. Call us on 0800 073 0833 or fill in this online contact form, and you will be passed onto a member of our team.
We are approachable, insightful and trained to help our customers find the solutions to their AV system needs. We look forward to enhancing your educational experience in any way we can.