Aug. 25, 2022 - Welcome to our new blog series featuring Kramer's experts in education. To kick it off, we're sharing reflections from the regions on how AV in the classroom has changed over the past decade and how those changes are playing out today. Some of the insights surprised even us.
Insights and experiences shared by:
- Marc Remond, President Asia Pacific
- Kristen Garner, Director of Business Development US Education Sales
- Bharat Kerai, Regional Sales Manager UK
- Jared Walley, Regional Sales Manager Australia
- Kirti Shetti, India Country Manager
- Nir Elizov, Israel Pre-Sales Manager
- Sefi Aharon, Global Education markets development
What would you say have been the most impactful changes in AV for education over the past decade and continuing today?
Marc Remond, Asia Pacific: I would say there's been an evolution, both in technology and the market. Right now, we're at the junction where pro AV solutions are moving from hardware to software, from on-prem to cloud-based, and from AVSM to more AV over IP.
To explain a bit more, I underwent two transformations before joining Kramer. The first was when voice technology moved from analog and digital-based to IP. The second transformation I witnessed was in the video conferencing world, when video conferencing moved from hardware to software, from on-premises equipment to cloud-based. And that is now changing the way schools are buying AV technology.
Bharat Kerai, UK: Being in AV, we used to get challenged by IT departments on how we manage this or how we install that. But at my first ISE show in 2020, just before COVID lockdowns hit, we were talking about AV over IT. This mindset shift was already flowing through education, but I think COVID-19 was the catalyst for it to take off here. Now, because AV is considered part of the IT department, it speeds up the process of designing, managing, and implementing spaces. So, AV moving into IT has opened up many doors and set minds at ease, especially with IT management.
That has facilitated another significant change; the desire of educators to share teaching materials with students in the classroom and also when they're working from home if they have COVID or if there's a lockdown. So it's about sharing and collaboration. This is what education wants. We've been doing it for years, with a blackboard, with a whiteboard in the classroom. But now we need interactivity; if someone has work to show, they can show it, and then we can edit it together. Having real-life collaboration is what education establishments want now, another significant change we're seeing.
Jared Walley, Australia: I've been in the audio-visual industry for about 25 years, including almost five years in the AV and eSolutions teams at Deakin University. So, it's been good to see that audio-visual is becoming mission critical in recent years. Years ago, the mindset was that you needed a little bit of AV in the room, such as a projector; but a lot of importance was not necessarily held to it. Now that is reversed, and AV is seen as being just as critical as having the network up and running.
I certainly think the most impactful and immediate change has been brought on by COVID, particularly in Australia, where we had an almost instant removal of significant numbers of overseas students, and everybody had to work and learn from home and remotely. And then, there was the challenge of delivering the technology in such a short time span that would allow all that. That's been incredible, and we're seeing that trend continue now. Many leading universities here have been making massive changes in their audio-visual fleets. We see a lot of Teams and Zoom-based installations where we wouldn't have seen that; rather, we would have seen more traditional audio-visual switching and control.
Also, as land and property prices go up, it's increasingly critical for on-campus spaces to deliver and utilized. We're increasingly seeing flexible furniture solutions and having to fit AV around that to deliver different teaching types in the same space.
And importantly, I've found that we're moving more from requirements defined by law and policy into a drive for more accessibility on and off campus. We're seeing growing interest in integrating accessible lecterns and tables and things in the teaching spaces for people in wheelchairs or who are utilizing other tools for mobility.
Kirti Shetti, India: From a higher education perspective, a significant change has been that educators started realizing a need for more collaboration. It cannot be just one way of teaching. So, the more collaboration, the more the online platforms came into the education space. That was something that revolutionized the way learning was happening in the higher education spaces.
K-12, however, had the least technology. They were still in the traditional format of education. But I have seen over the years that even government schools understand the need to migrate to digital. Students are probably adopting it faster than the teachers. But I think the analog-digital transformation which happened also ensued in the K-12 schools in India.
Also, there's a move away from traditional textbook learning. Now, what we see is what we believe in! It's no longer about taking a few notes of what was dictated or discussed in class. Now it's a video played in 4K, a talk from one of the most reputable institutes, or from people who have done something unique in their careers, or technology innovation that you're able to hear and see to get the whole experience. What audio-visual can bring to a student and a classroom cannot be matched. This is something that everyone in the education space in India understands. And they have been very forthcoming in saying they want this in the classroom. It also brings all the experiences out there in the world to the classroom and the students to improve learning.
Kristen Garner, US: Over the past decade, the technology has changed drastically, and we've gone from an industry-driven technology base and product lineup to more consumer-driven. So what folks are doing in their homes is what they want to experience in the workplace and school.
Whether it's higher education or even in the K-12 arena, students are experiencing things at home that, even five and ten years ago, they didn't bring into the classroom with them – the knowledge, the ability to voice-control things, and turn on their favorite TV show or their favorite music playlist, those types of things. That's driving what's happening in education right now. It's kind of student-driven. And so we have to examine what's happening at home and try to replicate that to the degree that facilitates education and the transfer of knowledge in a way that's comfortable, not only for the person delivering that information but also for the students who are trying to receive that knowledge.
Government entities and districts, as well as universities, colleges, and campuses, have recognized that technology in classroom spaces plays a much more significant role than it did five or ten years ago. So, the way they invest and prioritize their AV equipment has also changed within the last decade. Education spaces are completely different from what they were two and three years ago. ...