From better morning broadcasts to boosted streaming speeds, there are many ways AV integrators can improve today’s classrooms. Aside from making learning more accessible and efficient inside school walls, however, AV over IP has the potential to transform remote learning.

In remote classroom environments, students who can’t attend a physical class instead view lectures through their computers or tablets. But how does AV over IP benefit remote learning, and how should integrators and educators work together to find the right solution?

Here’s how AV over IP can power distance learning across schools, states and continents.

Supporting a Large Demographic

The concept of remote learning is nothing new. Still, many people don’t fully grasp the particular challenges posed by this type of learning, and how AV over IP can mitigate or remove these obstacles. Therefore, integrators and educators alike are not taking advantage of this powerful technology.

“Education has long been a key market for pro-AV providers and for good reason," says Sean Wargo at AVIXA. Since today’s students are digital natives, educators have to make more of an effort to meet their technologically driven expectations.

This may be why the education market in pro AV is just starting to ramp up, explains Tom LeBlanc, editorial director of Commercial Integrator. As students become more tech-savvy, they will expect their classrooms to follow suit.

That said, this doesn’t mean that the education market is an easy target. If integrators want to thrive in this environment, they have to keep their fingers on the pulse of the latest technology and ensure they’re recommending tools that will benefit educators.

This is no easy feat. “Technology in education is always evolving, with new developments and products hitting the market daily,” says Pro AV Systems.

But by understanding what educators actually need from their AV technology, especially for remote learning, integrators can make sure they’re suggesting the correct technology tools.

Benefits of AV Over IP to Remote Learning

When pitching AV solutions to the education market, you must first understand the many benefits of AV over IP.

One of the greatest benefits of AV for education is that it offers a fresh and engaging approach both students and teachers love, Ingram Micro states. “ProAV devices and systems can help engage students in new and exciting ways, while also providing a higher level of collaboration and learning than has ever been possible in the past.”

Engaging students is an important part of making learning fun, but also memorable. Presenting them information in a way that actually sticks can be far more effective than simply giving a lecture.

It also helps students who have different learning styles. Teacher Anna Flores believes AV is important because “students are very visual and enjoy using technology on a daily basis.”

While these articles were written with traditional classrooms in mind, they show the power and importance of effective technology in the learning process. This is becoming more relevant to AV integrators as remote learning becomes more popular.


What Makes Remote Learning So Popular

Distance learning is a popular choice for students due to its flexible schedule. Technology company Unified states, “It's long been said that education is the key to success. The difficulty is that modern lifestyles leave little time for a commute to classrooms that may be a few miles, or even a few thousand miles away.” This is why so many classrooms are now offering remote classes: to help accommodate students who can't make a traditional class schedule work in their lives.

As more students attend school while working or raising families, traditional learning environments become less accessible. Additionally, remote classes can often be more cost-effective than traditional college and university enrollment.

Remote learning also allows students to take classes at their own pace. For students who struggle with traditional learning environments, remote learning can be a breath of fresh air.

Still, remote learning is not without its challenges. “Connecting remote students to campuses is an issue many institutions face,” says Owl Labs marketing manager Bethany Cartwright.

Finding the right technology can be a difficult and time-consuming process for many universities. Since they won't always have the resources to upgrade their technology, its best to invest in a user-friendly tool that remains effective and reliable for years to come.

A knowledgeable AV integrator can help schools meet these challenges and ensure that technology is used effectively. As S. Kyle Davis at HARMAN notes, “The goal of distance learning technology in this setting is to replicate everything students in the room are experiencing and share that with remote students.”

Keep this goal in mind when pitching AV solutions.

Tools and Technology Required

AV technology can greatly improve the experience of remote students. But what exactly do schools need to effectively implement an AV over IP solution?

“There are four main parts which make up a distance learning classroom: the classroom itself, an audio system, a video system, and a link to a transmission network,” says audio experts Shure.

Specific cameras should also be used for recording lessons, says Adrienne Blasioli at Pro AV Systems. “In online and remote learning, auto-tracking cameras allow an instructor to move around the room while a camera automatically tracks and records their movement, creating a seamless real-time educational experience.”

“When you think of someone as a 'distance learning student,' what you're really saying is that they are separate from a more local group of students, and that may imply the quality of their educational experience is different,” says Rob Lipps, EVP of Sonic Foundry. Using AV technology, Lipps would like to bridge the gap and make sure everyone gets the same education.

“A distance learning lab opens up an impressive set of possibilities for students and schools alike, and with A/V solutions, a school can give it incredible potential,” says Data Projections. They outline a list of tools that a proper distance learning lab should have. These include items such as customized teleconferencing solutions, video streaming technology and document cameras.

Obviously, not every piece of technology is needed for every classroom. But regardless of what AV technology is decided on, networked AV can make sure that it is flexible and able to fit with any classroom size. It will also keep the technology adaptable to future trends, as AV over IP can be updated much easier than traditional AV.

Finally, networked AV is cost-effective. This flexibility and scalability can be especially beneficial to remote learning situations, which will continue to see growing class sizes.

As more integrators pitch AV over IP solutions to their education clients, more tools and advancements become available to help educators and learners. One college even tried holograms for distance learning, says Dr. David Lefevre, director of Imperial College's Edtech Lab.

In the here and now, however, AV over IP reigns supreme. It's the most focused on in conferences. “From the higher ed AV perspective, AV-over-IP was the most prevalent theme throughout the show,” says Mike Tomei of InfoComm 2018. And as time goes on, it will only become more relevant.

No matter what exciting technology emerges in the coming years, AV over IP will certainly lead the way.

Images by: Katarzyna Białasiewicz/©, Dean Drobot/©, dolgachov/©