College Planning & Management

DEC 2012

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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IN THE KNOW EN H A NCI NG + ENGAGI NG + C ON N EC T I NG PLANNING & MANAGEMENT DECEMBER 2 012 THIS MON TH 42 EMERGING TECHNOLOGY 43 TECH WATCH 44 TECH UPGRADE TECHNOLOGY IN PROGRESSIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS Selecting How to Communicate Your AV choices will affect student learning. by RAYMOND KENT, CTS, LEED-AP, DMC-D EAVA, ECA A s an educator and a professional technology systems designer, I have often given much thought to how and why certain technology is implemented into classrooms. This is critical in today's technology-rich environment. There are often many avenues schools will take to decide what type of technology will be available in the class. For instance, a one-size-fits-all approach standardizing projectors at a certain lumen output with speakers in a particular location. This has many benefits for the school from both a maintenance and operation side. The faculty can appreciate this to some extent as they don't have to waste time learning different systems depending on the room they are in. Another approach is the "Pick-a-few." This is similar to the first scenario but defines a couple of setups and duplicates them across many classrooms. This provides many of the same benefits as above, but offers some flexibility. Lastly there is the purpose-built classroom, where each room is outfitted independent of any other. This can increase maintenance, downtime, and limits the speed of new users. Each has its pros and cons. How to evaluate which path is best is a different matter, especially since quite often technology permeates our lives outside the classroom. Whatever approach a school decides on, there should really be one driving question: "What is the perfect classroom for my faculty to communicate their lessons to their students?" There can be many answers to this, but ultimately a teacher wants to do one thing — walk into the classroom and teach. Technology should be transparent but supportive to the learning environment, not the focus of it. Otherwise it will not be used or it will become ineffective. Teachers must be clearly heard and they and their content must be clearly seen to be able to allow students the opportunity to learn. Like a great theater space, intelligibility, visibility, and clarity are critical to communicating your lesson. Much attention is paid to these aspects in performing arts design and should also be applied to the classroom. Frequent and plentiful studies have shown direct correlations to how well students can learn a subject by how well they can hear and see the teacher and the materials. Quite often this is overlooked. A well meaning university may decide they need to allocate resources to a technology refresh lest it fall behind a competitive school or not prepare students to work in a technology environment. There are many new technologies that are now available that cannot only help to make the technology transparent and easy to use, but also help with maintenance and upkeep costs as well. This can include BYOD, AV switchers, controls, asset management, and room automation systems and integrated services such as remote help desks and monitoring. These systems can take the unreliability, complexity, and the nightmare of the faculty not knowing how to setup the technology to move their lesson forward or can cause major support and network issues. CPM Raymond Kent, CTS, LEED-AP, DMCD EAVA, ECA, is managing principal, Sustainable Technologies Group, LLC and associate principal, Westlake Reed Leskosky (www.WRLdesign.com) – director of the Innovative Technology Design Group. DECEMBER 2012 / COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT 37

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