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August 25, 2022

The most impactful changes in AV for education over the past decade and continuing today

Education Insights

The evolution of technology in Education

Written by:

Kramer Expert
Kramer Expert

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.

What would you say have been the most impactful changes in AV for education over the past decade and continuing today?

Marc A. 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.

“I underwent two transformations. The first was when voice technology moved from analog and digital-based to IP. The second transformation was in the video conferencing world, when video conferencing moved from hardware to software, from on-premises equipment to cloud-based.”
Marc A. Remond | President, Asia Pacific

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.

“Having real-life collaboration is what education establishments want now, another significant change we’re seeing.”
Bharat Kerai | Sales Manager, UK

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.

“It’s been good to see that audio-visual is becoming mission-critical in recent years. AV is just as critical as having the network up and running.”
Jared Walley | Regional Sales Manager, Australia

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 online platforms came into the education space. That was something that revolutionized the way learning was happening in 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 teachers. But I think the analog-digital transformation which happened also ensued in the K-12 schools in India.

“What audio-visual can bring to a student and a classroom cannot be matched. That everyone in the education space in India understands.”
Kirti Shetti | Country Manager, 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.

“Over the past decade, technology has changed drastically. So what folks are doing in their homes is what they want to experience in the workplace and school.”
Kristen Garner | Director of BusDev, Education, US

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.

Another significant change I’ve seen is that many campuses are developing revenue-generating and specialty spaces. They know that the draw will be what technology is available, which also influences how the educational institute invests in AV and what equipment goes into the various spaces. For example, if I’m a corporation or small business and I’m going to rent a space at a school, to hold a team building event or something like that, I need to understand what technology will be available to use. So those are things that schools and campuses look at as well. It brings together an excellent partnership with the community while creating an additional revenue stream. And, as it’s recognized as an additional source of funding, this is impacting AV for education too.

Nir Elizov, Israel: The significant change, of course, came with COVID-19. Even before that, the education market was trying to install the best equipment, so cameras and microphones were already in many schools. But when COVID-19 started, schools struggled with teaching when some children are at home, and some are at school and how to teach in an environment where no more than ten people can sit in the same room. Or how to teach outside in the schoolyard or on the campus lawn. These scenarios were a significant change, and it was an earthquake for AV in education. The entire market changed, as did classroom demands. Suddenly everybody was looking for more cameras and microphones. Everybody was looking for a hybrid. Everybody was buying like crazy.

“It was a new world for us – call it hybrid learning or modular learning. It’s part of the Physi-Digi world. And as we’re all seeing, hybrid is here to stay.”
Nir Elizov | Pre-Sales Manager, Israel

There’s also been a broader mindset change. Today, city planners, for instance, think about things differently than they did in the past. If they’re planning to build a new school, they also plan things like the acoustics and the AV equipment in advance, which makes a big difference in creating effective learning spaces. At the same time, they’re also thinking about accessibility for different types of people, which is very important and is something AV technology can help with. For example, adopting things like digital signage or screens outside of the classrooms has been an impactful change that helps in accessibility as well.

Sefi Aharon, Israel: Education technology has barely changed for most of the past decade. But, in the past three years, there’s been a significant change in awareness of the importance of technology as an enabler for teachers to teach and students to engage. There’s more openness to it.

The other thing that has changed, together with the awareness, is funding. In some countries, there was zero spent on education technology for something like years. And because of that, some of the education market was unaware of the types of solutions available. There was no opportunity to invest, so they weren’t out there looking and investigating.

That started changing about three years ago. Money started pouring into education, and schools in some markets were able to refresh to equip themselves with whatever they needed.

“It has been a significant change in awareness of the importance of technology as an enabler for teachers to teach and students to engage. There’s more openness to it.”
Sefi Aharon | Global Education Markets Development, Israel

A major catalyst was, of course, the pandemic, when the demand for hybrid learning exploded. But it started even before that. In particular, universities were already beginning to put things online and make it possible for students to learn from anywhere.

This has shifted the way that educators teach. It’s not just a frontal lesson or lecture. It’s hybrid. Lessons in the auditorium or lecture theater are also live-streamed so other faculties and universities can attend. People can learn anywhere and from anywhere. Also, there’s more customized learning, with students being able to learn at their own pace. These changes are being both driven by and enabled by technology.

Now, as we’re coming out of the pandemic, budgets will likely be tighter again, but I think there will still be funding for technology because there is now a new standard. You’ve got to have cameras, microphones, and an easy way to share content and engage across classes and campuses.

Stay tuned for the next post in which our education market experts share some interesting trends they see in their respective regions.

About the “Education Insights” Series

At Kramer, we’re proud to have some of the world’s leading specialists in AV for education on our global team of experts. The “Education Insights” series is dedicated to hearing their voices, so we can learn about how the educational experience is evolving, guiding our solutions, and inspiring AV innovation for academic excellence.

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