Classroom Setups That Wow Students (and Boost Class Attendance)
Summer breaks are underway, and it’s the right time to consider updating your school’s classroom AV equipment.
How to Build a Multimedia Classroom: The Basics
Let’s start with some basic rules. Here are the main principles to keep in mind when building a multimedia classroom:
- Naturally, you’ll want tested and certified equipment from trusted vendors.
- Ease of use. The comfort of operation is very important in the learning process when everything must be as streamlined and quick as possible.
- Finding out that something does not work in the middle of a class is a truly frustrating experience.
- Students have a ton of energy and do not always use it in the proper ways. Using rugged equipment can drastically increase its lifetime.
Now let’s discuss which pieces of equipment you will need to build a top-notch classroom AV setup.
Audio-Video Equipment to Use
Here is the list of essential equipment that will turn your classroom into a multimedia learning center.
A projector can be used for demonstrating videos and engaging presentations. For optimal image quality, consider its brightness, resolution, and contrast ratio.
Throw distance is a critical factor when it comes to smaller rooms. In this case, a short-throw or even an ultra-short throw projector may be the best option.
Connectivity issues can be a headache if you don’t think it out in advance. Make sure your projector has the same inputs as your video equipment (most likely it will be a computer using an HDMI port).
Another interesting option is an interactive projector. It comes with a whiteboard and tracks your interaction with the image using infrared or DLP technology.
There is no need for extremely powerful sound in a classroom. Your main concern should be equal sound distribution and clarity.
A quality multi-speaker system mounted on the walls or on the ceiling would be a perfect choice. Another viable option is a line array that may be easier to install and provide the desired sound quality.
A wireless microphone for the teacher is another essential piece of equipment. It should be lightweight and easy to operate.
A classic chalkboard or whiteboard is good, but an interactive whiteboard can bring your teaching options up to the next level. Presentation, collaboration, and interactivity become as easy as ever with this digital tool.
When choosing an interactive whiteboard, make sure to consider the following parameters:
- Screen size – if your classroom does not have a projector, the whiteboard will most likely be your primary device for playing videos.
- Connectivity – you will want the whiteboard to offer such inputs as USB, USB-C, and HDMI as a bare minimum.
- Touch technology – writing experience depends on how accurately the whiteboard registers all interactions.
- Software – interactive whiteboards may offer a scope of software solutions from the most basic ones to sophisticated all-encompassing programs.
Interactive Projector or Interactive Whiteboard?
You’ve probably noticed that interactive projectors and interactive whiteboards share much of the same functionality. You can use both to interact with the image, make notes, and collaborate. So, which one to choose for your classroom?
Ideally, you should have a regular projector and an interactive whiteboard. Such a combination provides the most versatility and possible use cases.
A projector is better for projecting videos. The interactive part works better with whiteboards. They are brighter and offer more vibrant colors. In many cases, interactive whiteboards register touches more accurately. Another important advantage is connectivity – you don’t need to hook up your computer to a whiteboard to use it.
Be prepared because interactive whiteboards can often exceed $10,000 in price. Interactive projectors are typically cheaper. On the other hand, they need some additional maintenance: projector lamps must be bought and replaced from time to time.