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Ed Tech Blog

There are “mind-game” exercises you can do that allegedly help with memory. Similarly, there are innumerable articles about vitamins, minerals, supplements and herbs that claim to enhance memory “vitality.” But one thing is certain when it comes to memory- as you age, your brain becomes less flexible and the world around you becomes more distracting. Short-term memory recollection is compromised and focus is more difficult.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “In 2015, there were 11.8 million college and university students under age 25 and 8.1 million students 25 years old and over.” Also of note, the fastest growing cohort in US colleges and universities is the non-traditional student, which includes students 25 years and older. Students 25 years and older may face obstacles to learning and educational success in colleges and universities that traditionally cater to the traditional student population. We’ve written, prior, about non-traditional student enrollment being an opportunity for growth for colleges and universities with declining enrollment. But these opportunities come with the challenge of retaining this population of students who may not retain information the same as a traditional student.

This is a guest post provided by Nanda Krish from Wisewire. I found the information to be relevant and in line with the value of content we like to provide on our Collaborate! blog. Please note: FSR doesn't endorse (or not endorse) Wisewire, as we have not evaluated their services. But we thank them for sharing this information with our readers! Enjoy:

You have a unique challenge ahead of you. You know valuable learning tools are emerging and your institution needs to keep up with educational trends. But working within a budget, juggling your day-to-day tasks, and trying to have meaningful conversations with people short on time is not easy. How do you convince multiple education professionals to invest in adaptive learning tools and materials (available from numerous online sources, including Wisewire), which may be an unfamiliar approach to student learning?

What Matters?

Gaining support for any initiative in higher education will always be contingent on whether the idea is best for students. It’s important to completely understand the benefits of adaptive learning tools for individual students and be prepared to describe these benefits to key stakeholders. In addition to basic questions, leaders will have their own specific areas of concern—likely related to the area they’re responsible for within the university. For example, every leader will be interested in costs associated with your proposal, but an institution’s Chief Financial Officer will have a long list of detailed questions on the topic.

OSU Lima Student CenterInvolving and engaging commuter students on campus is a priority for schools. Generally, commuter student retention is lower than students living on-campus or in college owned housing. This could be the result of a number of factors: commuter students not feeling connected to the school brand (house proud); lack of social connectedness; increased distractions/ responsibilities from non-academic sources; lack of amenities on school grounds created for their complex lifestyle, etc.

StateUniversity.com claims, “Because commuter students spend limited time on campus and limited time creating relationships with other students, faculty, and staff, they have fewer opportunities to engage in quality interactions with these individuals. Therefore they are less likely to make a strong commitment to the university or its programs and are more likely to drop out of school than residential students.”

Fortunately, technology offers a conduit to increased connectivity. While technology alone will not be a campus cure-all for commuter retention, it can help support engagement, encourage group interactivity and provide conveniences to keep commuters on campus longer.

This article was originally published on rAVe Pubs. It has been reposted here with the author's permission because this message is too important to not spread. In addition, the link to the podcast mentioned, can be found here.

PASS: An Alliance You Need to Know About

By Scott Tiner
rAVe Columnist

Last month for rAVe Ed, I wrote an article about school safety. PASS Creating Safety Standards for K 12I was inspired by the Parkland students, who suffered a horrible tragedy and decided to do something to make sure others did not have to suffer a similar tragedy. I specifically avoided talking politics and law. I think there is a place for that, but this is not it. I had a vision where those of us in the AV industry could use our skills, talents and numbers to help make schools safer. When I wrote it, I realized it was a huge ask and may not be very likely, but I dared to dream. The morning after the article was first published, I heard from a friend in the industry. He had read the article and was inspired by it. He wanted to host a podcast to try and publicize the idea, and asked if I would discuss my article. I jumped at it! Anything to get this moving. He spoke with another friend in the industry (the amazing Gina Sansivero) and she told him about a group that already existed, the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS). By the end of the week my friend and Gina were hosting a podcast with me and Chuck Wilson of the NCSA. Chuck is the creator of PASS and after an hour with him, I realized that I needed to make sure everyone in the industry knew about this organization. 

20180312 151643At the Midwest College and University AV Summit, we were able to tour one of the most technology rich 2-year colleges I have seen- Saint Paul College. While the technology in the classrooms was impressive, it was the technology in the technical areas of the college that were truly exciting.  In general, 2 year colleges are under-funded and are, therefore, stuck in a cycle where the budget only allows for minimal upgrades over time. Larger technology investments are typically put on hold, indefinitely.

Saint Paul College is different.  Consistently ranked in the top 10 technical and community colleges in the US, they have found a way to stand out. We toured high-technology sim labs for their nursing and medical sciences programs with observation rooms and lecture capture equipment tailored to help students and faculty review the information they need, effectively and efficiently. We tried out divisible flex-rooms with installed wireless presentation products for content sharing.

Red flag wavingThere has been some discussion recently about recommending AV consultants.  It’s an especially tough type of recommendation because all projects’ scope, firm specialties and overall bandwidth are different and can change in weeks and sometimes days depending on multiple variables. Ultimately what you should be looking for is an overall stable firm with a good reputation and a specialty team, if needed for your project (acoustics for theaters and music halls, large venue focus for arenas, etc). It also helps if the consultant has a local office or at least a clause in the contract that they will be available and on campus when needed.

Most institutions have a process for hiring a technology consultant including a thorough and multi-stage interview process, a portfolio review of prior projects of similar size and scope, and a cost analysis. But what happens when you come away from the process with what you think is a winning firm, until things start going sideways.  What are the signs that signal red flags for your consultant-client relationship?

TMS 2018 temp 2resizeFive well known audiovisual and classroom technologies manufacturers, FSR, Inc, Biamp Systems, Christie Digital, Draper, Inc. and Quam Nichols, have partnered to offer a full day of cost free training to AV industry technology managers.

The Technology Managers’ Summit (TMS), formerly the Higher Education Technology Summit (HETS), was originally created for college and university managers of educational technology to combine a day of product training, networking and peer-to-peer discussions in a fast moving format. After considering the great success of this format among those in higher education, the team of 5 manufacturers decided to expand the audience to all technology managers including education, corporate, government, hospitality, worship, etc. Also new this year: Tim Albright of AVNation will be the TMS host and moderator.

Learning from natureWhile attending the LearningScapes annual conference this year I was particularly interested in a small break-out session that highlighted junior high school student teams from across the country as they presented their own perception of the “Schools of the Future.” Each of the three diverse teams I sat in on had one common theme; they recognized need to bring nature into the learning environment for hands on and “real-life” experiences that offer the opportunity to engage in learning practically rather than theoretically. Some teams went so far as building parks, rivers and lakes INSIDE their school buildings to learn about ecosystems and interconnectedness. Can you make the entire learning environment an effective ecosystem?

The educational (and health) reasons and benefits for bringing the outdoors inside are numerous and well documented.  Here is an article from Private University Products and News that gives you a good summary of the positives.  However, there are inherent challenges when trying to design buildings that incorporate nature both inside and out. How, then, as technologists, do we complement and supplement natural and hands on learning while overcoming these obstacles?

it photo 10584.jpg 300x183Two different annual conferences, in two different parts of the country took place this month. EdSpaces and LearningScapes. While the individual course content of these conferences can be somewhat dissimilar, they both have a very similar focus: the learning environment as an ecosystem. This broad subject matter includes a variety of topics from space planning and furniture to educational technologies.

I attended LearningScapes this year and was impressed with the expert sessions. I was particularly interested in a small break-out that highlighted junior high school students from across the country as they presented their own perception of the “Schools of the Future.” Each of the three diverse teams had one common theme, the need to bring nature into the learning environment for hands on and “real-life” experiences that offer the opportunity to engage in learning practically rather than theoretically. Bringing the classroom outside or the natural environment inside offers unique challenges. How, then, as technologists, do we complement and supplement natural and hands on learning? This will be an evolving discussion [likely necessitating the inclusion a variety of manufacturers from different markets who will help to create innovative solutions.] VR/AR and adequate power may be a start. I will table this interesting challenge for another blog…

This is a guest post provided by Patrick Murray from Controlhaus. You can find out more about Patrick and Controlhaus, here.

controlhausHDMI, VGA, Buit-In PC’s and Document Cameras. Sometimes Bluray, DVD and even VHS(!). How many ways to present content does an AV presentation system really need? If we could steal a play from the IT managers handbook and tell users, “That is not supported”, what would our systems look like? What is really the minimum requirement for the typical presenter to get their stuff onto the projection screen?

It is no secret that complicated system are more difficult to set up and maintain. Just keeping enough cables on hand for different signal types can be a challenge, never mind dealing with EDID tables and laptop settings. What would the least complicated AV presentation system look like?

Many of you who know me well may be surprised by this:

working aloneWhile I love being around and am fueled by the excitement and passion or others, after a day or two of this, I need my alone time to refuel. I am energized as much by my interactions with others as by my quiet time by myself, in my own head. And I NEED both. That balance is as necessary to my professional productivity as it is to my personal passions.

During three days of campus tours and meetings with various media services/ academic technologies/ instructional technologists I was contemplating my own exhaustion. It was a different type of run-down than the understandable flat out tired that comes from a week long trade show in Vegas. It was an overwhelmed type of feeling that made me want to shut down for a few hours and just be quiet. I didn’t want to shut off my brain- I wanted to contemplate my experiences and thoughts about the day in a quiet and secluded setting.

Get Smart get smart original series 23604583 300 400Just a few days ago, Apple announced the specs for its new iPhone 8 and anniversary edition iPhone X devices. Apple’s product announcements are typically highly anticipated, with many speculating about new features and technological advancements months before the formal release. This year’s event, however, seemed to have a grander, more excited energy swirling about it.  The iPhone X (the ten year iPhone anniversary edition) was purported to have technology embedded that even Maxwell Smart couldn’t fathom. [Yup, I just totally impressed my Baby Boomer colleagues with that one]

Well, the official announcement, as mentioned, happened a few days ago.  But the energy surrounding it hasn’t subsided.  All you have to do is find any publication, website, supposed apple addict on twitter and you’ll find someone talking about it- Face ID. This facial recognition software allows a used to unlock his/her phone by simply looking at it.  The 3D image processing is smart, meaning “the Bionic chip controls a Neural engine which handles up to 600 billion operations per second so it can “learn” when a user is wearing sunglasses, a hat or even grows a beard.”

THE table declining enrollment 768x245From Inside Higher Ed. News, May 13, 2017The past few years have proven challenging for many colleges and universities across the country. Historically, college enrollment is inversely related to the economy; as our economy (job market) improves, some colleges and universities may be seeing as much as 2-3% decline or more in enrollment. Post-secondary education is a competitive market.  Where non-profit schools once spent 2% of their tuition revenue on recruiting, today many are spending 5-10 times that- a trend that began gaining steam before declining enrollment.

Schools have also been investing more in student retention. Amenities like apartment style dorms, mixed use buildings, prolific and accessible technology, community building events, gaming centers and high-end athletic facilities are used to lure students on to campus and keep them coming back.  It was easy to justify these expenses when enrollment was climbing during the recession. Now, some of these projects may be held or cut as enrollment continues its trending decline.

This post was originally written for Private University Products and News (www.pupnmag.com)

HETS Burlington Chaz e1500907145409 768x432Until recently the cost of large flat-panels for classroom use was prohibitive, making projectors the preferred presentation technology for most colleges and universities. Now, as monitor prices continue to drop, schools are questioning their traditional or standard classroom technology.  Both projectors and flat-panel displays (monitors, LED displays, TVs) are strong choices for specific types of classroom configurations, each providing benefits that can only be considered when the primary use of the room is well-defined.

Cost vs. Image Size

Above 70”, projectors offer a better value of product cost for image size. That means, in auditoriums, large classrooms, multi-purpose rooms, etc. a projector is more often the preferred technology. In smaller classrooms, conference rooms, group study spaces and in specialty environments, the cost of a flat panel is low enough and the quality is high enough that they become the best option. When calculating the total cost of ownership of a projector (TCO= product, accessories, maintenance over the lifecycle of the product), which will include screens, filters and lamps, we find that projectors are still less costly than 70”+ monitors. Simply put, when comparing cost and screen size, projectors typically win- at larger sizes.

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