Enhancing Distance Learning with AV Technology

Samantha James

Samantha James

January 29, 2021

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By Abbie Cooter

The use of audiovisual (AV) technologies has been a growing trend in the educational sector for a long time now. Oleg Podolskiy, a researcher from Moscow State University, defines AV learning as an instructional process that uses sound- and sight-based stimuli, such as slideshows, videos, and computer graphics. Through the years, this form of learning has seen many breakthroughs and innovations. From humble televisions and LCD projectors, educators now have access to high-definition cameras and technologically advanced computers that can broadcast their lectures anywhere in the world.

While these have made learning more fun and accessible, education experts agree that it could never replace face-to-face classes. But when a global pandemic shut everyone inside their homes, educators were forced to make use of AV technology. So in this article, we’ll be talking about how AV technology can be used to further enhance remote learning.

AV Technology Improves Engagement and Accessibility

The effective use of AV tech can significantly increase the quality of an online lecture. For instance, English literature teachers can use interactive display applications to map out the plot in a fiction piece of work. Some of these applications allow for collaborative creation, so teachers have the option to let their students add their insights as well. Science teachers who need to present lab-based experiments can utilize a pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera and controller. With it, they can zoom in to give students a clear and detailed view of the experiment then zoom out as needed — all without having to touch the camera. These examples show how AV technology can make the usual remote lectures more interactive and engaging.

AV tech not only minimizes the distance between your teachers and their students to enhance lectures, but it also serves as a way to connect the classrooms with outside experts and resource speakers. Erika Rasure, an assistant professor for Maryville University’s online business degree program, has been using this tech to conduct online lessons for her students. AV technology and platforms like Google Hangouts have let her and other educators around the world invite experts from around the world into their virtual classrooms.

Rasure has since interviewed eight experts, including a Singapore-based financial psychologist, and uses AV tech to professionally edit each interview to be shown in her online classes. The end goal, for her, is to create a database of interviews with professionals belonging to various disciplines. “This technology offers a way for us to rethink how we bring guest speakers to our students,” Rasure told BizEd Magazine in an interview, “and it helps us expose our students to perspectives they otherwise would not come across.” This shows that AV technology not only improves engagement, but accessibility as well. Before these innovations, inviting professionals to speak to a class was limited by location and proximity. Nowadays, these limitation no longer exists.

The Learning Curve

There’s no doubt that AV technology has improved the way educators teach. But the rapid shift to online learning has posed difficulties for students and school staff alike.

Many educators are not accustomed to conducting their classes online, which can make things difficult for them. Samantha James, one of our contributors here on Education Walkthrough, shares many ways administrators can help with this. For one, they can offer workshops centered around the new technologies used in online learning. This gives educators more confidence and inspiration to teach via the digital platform.

Additionally, it’s important to remind educators of the factors they need to consider when planning their online curricula, as this dramatically shapes how they will go about their lectures.

Here are three crucial things they should take into account:

1. Goals

What does the educator hope to achieve in conducting a specific class? This should be the first thing they ask themselves when thinking about implementing AV technologies in their lectures. Jared Mukai, manager of AV Technologies and Special Projects in Pepperdine University, stresses the importance of using the right mix of technology and how this helps students feel more engaged, even in a remote setting. Hardware and software should complement each other. And it’s also worth mentioning that using too many types of AV tech can deter from the class’s learning objectives. So, educators need to choose tech wisely based on what they hope to achieve — not the other way around.

2. Audience

This refers to the students, each educator will be teaching. Their age group is particularly important. If an educator wants to make use of a specific type of AV tech for their class, they need to ask themselves, “Will this improve engagement among my students?” For example, an interactive display might not be the best option for a math class with toddlers if that application allows the students to freely draw on the digital screen. Instead, it might be a better choice for students of a higher age group.

3. Location

Livestreaming and recording classes have become pretty normal during the current pandemic. When doing this, ensure that you’re in a space fit for filming, with enough light and minimal background noise. Teachers should set aside space in their home where they can record themselves with very little disruptions, as this makes it easier for them and their students.

With the global health crisis still ongoing, school staff are forced to make do with remote arrangements. Although this presents numerous challenges, there are still plenty of ways to innovate and make the learning experience more enjoyable for educators and students alike. AV technology is one means to do this, so make sure to utilize it in your institution.

Written exclusively for Educationwalkthrough.com

by Abbie Cooter