How can higher education institutions keep students engaged with their studies?
GUEST COLUMN | by Darryl Krall
The connected classroom has taken new heights since 2020. Not only has the digitization of classrooms allowed students to participate in-person, virtual or a combination of both, but it has allowed educators and students to create and consume more meaningful content. As a result, new active learning environments are cultivating productive and inspiring learning for students.
‘…the digitization of classrooms allowed students to participate in-person, virtual or a combination of both, …[and] educators and students to create and consume more meaningful content.’
To understand the importance of an engaged classroom, let’s first talk about why student engagement initiatives play a crucial role in the overall education experience. Academic studies have confirmed that there is a positive link between student engagement and student retention on the university level. Meaning – when students are involved in a learning process or task, they are more inclined to be interested in what is being taught and retain the information.
So how can higher education institutions keep students engaged with their studies? That’s where technology comes into play. Audiovisual (AV) technology, such as pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, professional audio, interactive displays and high-brightness projectors, allow students to collaborate with each other on a deeper, integrated level, regardless of location, while also improving social and professional competencies. Effective AV technologies can enhance presentations, collaboration and discussions, which in turn, reduce distractions and improves student participation.
Engaging Students’ Senses
Environmental factors like lighting, video image quality and audio largely contribute to students’ focus and interest. By stimulating different senses, AV technologies help form emotional, thought-provoking and physical connections to coursework and lessons. Educators can use these technologies to control and enhance the classroom experience and create an environment that best suits different teaching and learning styles.
Here’s a look at how AV technology helps create productive learning environments by engaging the senses:
Audio: Sound is a critical aspect of the education environment. If you can’t hear, you can’t learn. Quality audio systems can address different challenges – from communicating in a large auditorium to delivering crisp audio to ensure clear communication no matter where a professor or student resides.
Digital wireless microphone systems enable solid, secure connections to deliver high quality sounds from any area of a classroom or lecture hall. This means professors or guest lecturers can freely move around a space as they please, making a lecture or presentation more animated and interesting for students.
Sight: For students, learning is visual in nature. On top of this, professors rely on interactive boards and displays to teach lessons. To capture the full attention of students, vivid displays that reduce glares, increase brightness and deliver engaging visuals are needed. Integrating interactive displays and video walls is a great way to deliver experiences that keep student’s attention while also encouraging participation.
Similar to displays, projectors maximize learning and productivity with clear and bright visuals. Their flexible nature allows them to be outfitted in classrooms and lecture halls of all sizes, proving extremely useful for large spaces where an audience may be spread out or seated far from the screen.
Information sharing and collaboration are the cornerstones of productive learning, and PTZ cameras play a big role in making this happen. From the classroom to lecture halls, to video streaming from a remote location (i.e. a professor’s home), PTZ cameras capture and stream high quality visuals with precision tracking to focus on the professor. These capabilities prevent distractions that could take students’ focus away from the lecture or presentation. Cameras are also critical to virtual students who rely solely on streamed footage from the classrooms to consume content.
Touch: Whiteboards and other presentation systems are outdated in today’s asynchronous learning environment, which is fueling a rise in plug-and-play technology that can kick start presentations at the touch of a button. In the classroom, time is often limited. Teachers and students need to move fast when it comes to presenting materials. Plug-and-play presentation systems keep downtime to a minimum for more efficient, productive lessons while allowing students to connect PCs and computers with ease for more confident, streamlined presentations.
There are many different methods and ways to teach. Each student is unique and implementing various techniques and tools geared to ensure each student’s learning potential to consume and retain content is critical to their success. As higher education institutions look to make student engagement a top priority, it’s imperative that they draw students in with creative, thought provoking AV technologies. When students engage their senses, they will use their imagination and drum up innovative ideas and collaborate with others to problem solve and grow, both personally and professionally.
Darryl Krall is National Sales Manager for Panasonic Connect. He was an adjunct faculty member at Triton College teaching and developing courses in Business and Management. He has also worked for Cretstron Electronics, ClearOne Communications, and Sony Electronics. Connect on LinkedIn.