Sep 08 2022

Untether Tech in the Modern K–12 Environment

Schools are prioritizing educational technology tools that are mobile and flexible, allowing teaching and learning to happen in and outside of the classroom.

The focus in K­–12 districts has long been on flexible learning spaces, but modern classroom designs are adapting now that most students are equipped with one-to-one devices.

Many schools are conceptualizing configurations that move the traditional focus from the front of the classroom. Instead of placing a display at the front of the room, schools are opting for displays on mobile carts. Huddle spaces with multiple displays throughout the room are becoming popular for larger areas.

Nearly every district IT decision-maker understands what an interactive flat-panel display is, and conversations tend to revolve around which panels best suit the district’s needs. With a variety of options on the market, IT leaders are evaluating which products have the software and capabilities to aid educators and students.

More than ever, modern K–12 classroom design is driven by mobility and flexibility. This is reflected in the educational tech that districts are purchasing across grade levels and implementing in common spaces. The trend is even influencing the popularity of certain emerging technologies.

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Classroom Audiovisual Needs Vary Across Grade Levels

While districts are moving toward interactive displays for all classrooms, tech needs differ across age groups. In elementary schools, students and educators are more inclined to focus on the interactive elements of classroom technology. Younger students are more often working together on an interactive flat panel or coming to the front of the room to solve a problem on the board.

DIVE DEEPER: Interactive displays facilitate collaborative learning in K–12 spaces.

In middle and high school classrooms, students are more likely to work independently on their devices. In these spaces, wireless casting is a crucial component for users. Students sharing their work with the class are more likely to project their screens onto a shared display, whether that display is at the front of a room or part of a huddle space.

Wireless casting is also essential for educators, who — in all grade levels — are trying to teach without being tethered to their desks. Emerging technologies, such as the Merlyn Symphony Classroom, also help solve this problem.

While fairly new to the market, this artificial intelligence-based device allows educators to operate their PCs and other tech using voice commands or a hand-held remote. Working similarly to an Amazon Alexa or Google Nest device, Merlyn’s product is built specifically for education and has privacy and security features designed for the classroom.

Modern Learning Environments Are Not Limited to Classrooms

In addition to modernizing classrooms, districts are turning their attention to other areas of school buildings.

For instance, esports arenas are beginning to appear more frequently in high schools across the country. Some districts are enhancing the flexibility of these spaces by also using the arenas to host virtual reality devices. The bandwidth required for esports can also support VR applications, and the dual use of the space ensures schools are maximizing their investments.

Because students and educators picked up streaming skills during the pandemic, some schools are also investing in media rooms and production studios. From there, students can create and broadcast content, such as morning announcements. This also gives schools more options for hosting virtual events, prerecording important lectures and creating more content.

Where is this content being showcased? Video walls and other digital displays are being used to broadcast announcements, alerts and more in school districts. The addition of digital displays throughout school buildings, in gymnasiums, cafeterias and auditoriums, opens the door for learning anywhere and brings districts modern elements for teaching and learning.

This article is part of the “ConnectIT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology” series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology

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