Five Ways Higher Education Benefit From Audiovisual Technologies

Five Ways Higher Education Benefit From Audiovisual Technologies

In the race to attract the best students and most qualified faculty and staff, higher education facilities are rapidly adopting state-of-the-art AV technology. From the latest digital signage to advanced artificial intelligence delivered wirelessly, the mission of many colleges and universities is to build a digital campus that’s easily navigated, where information is quickly obtained, and where anyone with a smartphone can easily interact with this technology.

Because today’s students came of age with AV technology that at one time was the realm of science fiction, here are five ways institutions of higher education can put the newest generation of it to work across campuses.

#1 Engage Both Current and Prospective Students

It is becoming common practice to install large video displays at the entrances to common areas, such as student unions and arenas. This form of digital signage is both engaging and informative and a practical way to distribute information like curriculum updates, event announcements, and safety alerts to large groups of students and faculty.

Interactive video walls are also being used for recruitment. Touchscreens allow prospective students to explore content about the university, including video segments its history, athletics, academic programs, student life, and more. In some applications, users can take a “selfie” photo with a university-themed backdrop on the video wall and tag their pictures on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

#2 Enable Interactive Learning and Collaboration

The concept of interactive learning isn’t new, but a potent combination of intelligent AV hardware, fast Wi-Fi, and mobile devices has reshaped our thinking about classrooms. Instead of one-way instruction with some feedback from students, a class can now support interaction from everyone delivered simply and efficiently from a host of connected mobile devices in a collaborative environment.

This technology is not only classroom-centric. It allows students and guest lecturers from anywhere in the world to collaborate.

#3 Provide a More Instructor-Friendly Way to Display Large Images and Video

For the vast majority of classrooms, the most common approach to large-screen imaging is to either hang a projector in the classroom or lab, using offset images to illuminate a large screen (often requiring the dimming of lights), or to build a rear-projection system behind the wall. While the latter is easier on the instructor’s eyes, the rear-projection system requires a great deal of horsepower to provide bright images, generates a considerable amount of fan noise, and requires supplemental cooling and dust management.

Ambient light can also reduce the visual effectiveness of projection systems. Fortunately high-resolution LCD and LED displays are becoming more affordable, allowing colleges and universities to place them in multiple lecture halls and classrooms.

#4 Use Powerful Imaging Tools to Model Class Studies and Experiments

We hear a lot these days about virtual reality and augmented reality, terms that conjure up visions of people stumbling about with oversized headsets and goggles, waving at indeterminate objects in the air. But there’s more to VR and AR than goggles. In fact, virtual spaces can be created with imaging technologies that require no special eyewear.

The trick is to employ a technology called projection mapping. Special software in projectors (which are increasingly using eco-friendly lamp-free technology, by the way) allows the projected image to conform to just about any surface — concave, convex, trapezoidal, and even circular. With mapping, instructors and students can create more immersive learning experiences and presentations by showing images on any surface conceivable — even water, ice, and fog. The possibilities of this are “virtually” unlimited. One application in wide use the projection of 3D topology and geography models.

#5 Provide an Enhanced Entertainment Experience at Sporting Events

Just as AV has come a long way in the last six decades, so have intercollegiate athletics. Fans have been conditioned to expect a higher level of entertainment comparable to what they experience with professional sports – and of course, that means lots of video and bright, colorful graphics before the game and at halftime.

Giant LED displays are valuable to any sports arena, but lighting up a court or playing field requires a new generation of projectors that eschews lamps in favor of instant-on, instant-off solid-state illumination systems based on laser phosphor technology that gives the rotating light show we’ve come to expect at any sporting event.

By Joey Davis

Managing Editor, AVIXA