Emerging Technology (Enhancing, Engaging, Connecting)
AV Technology and Active Learning
Increasingly, higher education institutions are building
classrooms and learning spaces that integrate the latest
audiovisual technologies to create environments that help
better engage and educate students while also providing them with
the hands-on experience with digital tools they are likely to use in
their future careers.
This was the key message delivered in a recent Inside Higher
Ed webinar panel, presented by AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated
Experience Association. The webinar featured AVIXA Senior
Director of Communications Brad Grimes, The Sextant Group
Principal Craig Park, Dartmouth College Academic Technologist
Emmett Frank, and Florida State University Director of Academic
Technology & Systems Aiden Sizemore.
A Shift to Active Learning
Over the last decade, many higher education institutions have
shifted toward an active-learning model, says Park. “We want to look
at technology as a supporting function to deliver improved learning
outcomes,” he explains. “For the University of Missouri–Kansas City’s
new Henry Bloch School of Management, the dean didn’t want just another
business school. Instead he wanted a facility where professionals,
students, and faculty can work together to plan and develop new ideas.”
The new management school’s various rooms integrate projectors,
touchscreens, large-format LCD displays, and interactive whiteboards
to deliver flexible environments that help prepare students for realworld
careers that increasingly utilize the same technologies.
It has been crucial to choose technologies that provide consistent
and reliable experiences throughout all spaces and rooms at
Dartmouth College, Frank explains, because many classrooms are
shared among diverse departments. “A guiding principle is that we
want technology to help provide features that permit students to
work both individually and collaboratively while facilitating communication
and interaction between students and faculty.”
Frank demonstrated how one of Dartmouth’s active-learning
classrooms offers 17 collaborative stations with discrete controls
that allow students to share content with the whole class or
with individual students. Each station includes connections for
students’ laptops and mobile devices, plus overhead speakers that
allow students to control the volume of videos and presentations in
their specific location.
“Silsby 213 is probably the only room on campus with two
displays on opposing walls,” Frank adds. “Each display has its own
set of discrete controls, wireless gateways, and audio zone, so in
essence the class could start off as a presentation, then be split into
two groups with each working with its own audio and video.”
In larger rooms, microphones and cameras support lecture
capture, while additional digital tools allow students to share content
to two main projection displays in the front of the room.
According to Sizemore, Florida State University looks at three main
areas for technology integration: lecture capture, event capture, and the
overall visual content-creation process. “We installed additional microphones
and cameras,” he says, “so that when we capture classroom content
we can switch between multiple views in real time, and then have
more recorded footage available to repurpose for future audiences.”
Sizemore also noted how some classrooms enable students to
have live interactions with remote speakers, which allows educators
to include outside experts in their curricula.
According to Grimes, the higher education market can realize
enormous benefits through thoughtful integration of audiovisual
technologies. “It is not just technology for technology’s sake, but
technology optimized for the space and the situation,” he says.
“This includes supplementing lectures, distance learning, visualization,
communication, collaboration, and even entertainment,
because we believe the right combination of content, space, and
technology creates an experience that improves outcomes.”
Changing expectations and methods among students and
educators has prompted colleges and universities of all disciplines to
integrate audiovisual technologies that deliver flexible learning spaces
and encourage active learning. Whether lessons are based on lectures,
individual work, or collaboration, audiovisual technologies provide
powerful and easy-to-use tools that expand what is possible and help
reach every student to best prepare them for their future careers.
To watch the entire Inside Higher Ed webinar, visit avixa.org/IHEwebinar.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of College Planning & Management.