Tag Archives: audiovisual

BETT focus: The importance of audio in classrooms

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Despite taking up half of the term “audio-visual”, the impact of audio on offer at BETT seemed to be lacking. Although many of the latest interactive screens had integrated speakers, there was only a small cross-section of companies offering speakers or microphones to enhance both the classroom and a presentation theatre within an education establishment.

Studies have been carried out to prove the impact that classroom noise can have on students and Lightspeed’s latest Exciter technology takes this research into account. According to a study from 1994, a professor of Audiology proved that ELL (English Language Learning) children were affected by ambient noise in a classroom. Word recognition by these pupils was affected by volume, distance from the speaker and how the audio was distributed, but all of the children; both native and non-native had better understanding when little or no additional noise was created, through issues like feedback, or buzzing electronics. In a current situation where classrooms are full to the brim, distance cannot often be altered, so teachers need to be as audible as possible, regardless of the room size.

Lightspeed have taken these ideas to create a speaker that enhances both audibility (the volume) and intelligibility (the clarity) in the classroom by using a panel style instead of a cone-shaped speaker. This helps distribute soft consonant sounds and creates a clear sound without having to use maximum volume. This simple yet effective technology creates a natural voice for the teacher and feedback is eliminated regardless of where the teacher is located in the room.

 

Lightspeed's TopCat speaker

Lightspeed’s TopCat speaker

If you’re interested in enhancing your audio in either the classrooms or would like to upgrade your school hall acoustics, our free health checks can offer you advice and support regarding your specific needs. We can carry out acoustic tests, as well as finding ways to minimize feedback and ambient noise, so contact us via our query forms and we can get back to you.

 

BETT Focus: Classroom Collaboration and BYOD

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Despite a few visitors complaining about the lack of public Wi-Fi on offer at an event that promotes technology, the BETT show was trending on Twitter for the second day in a row! The demand for Wi-Fi is proof that BYOD (Bring your own device) is a theme that will occur in all sectors now – including education – as we see tablet computers being tapped all around the hall. Many studies including Ofsted reports confirm that a more interactive lesson engages students and therefore many companies have created software that incorporates BYOD into teaching time.

Most of the software exhibited today offers flexible access to collaborating via Apple, Android and Microsoft devices, so you do not have to supply the hardware to the pupil. Many of the manufacturers including the likes of Vivitek, DisplayNote and Samsung have created features which include allowing annotation from presenter and pupil, content sharing and instant response to quizzes and more, which all help the teacher to assess the grades of the class whilst still in the lesson. Although this interactive learning may seem fun to pupils, there will always be some that take advantage of a new medium and use in for non-educational purposes. Luckily the teacher is able to view and display anyone’s screen, as well as all their annotations being saved for you.

Using a tablet PC as a way to control your main screen gives the teacher mobility around the class and allows all forms of content to be streamed across the platforms, whether it’s a video on YouTube or and extract from a book. With all this in mind, it seems apparent that this will soon be the norm in all areas of education so if you would like to future-proof your classroom, please feel free to contact us for more information on the range of software available.

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Paragon @ BETT 2013

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With our Tech Zone continuing to grow with useful information on the innovative, what better place to attend than this year’s BETT show, bursting with an array of technologies enhancing the educational environment. As a technology partner who speaks your language, the Paragon team will be interacting amongst the other 30,000 visitors over the three days to research the latest audio-visual equipment and report back, including projection, digital signage and interactive whiteboards.

Last year, Paragon Multimedia were pleased to see an increase in some of the new technologies that revolved around touch screen panels, 3D content and the integration of iPads into the classroom. Since then, the evolution has continued and so we shall continue to update you on products we find may be suitable for you.

358107231_fbd3c0e06dAs well as bringing you daily updates via our website and Twitter, we will also be conducting video interviews with industry experts and showing you live usage of some of the great equipment on display. The BETT arena will hold host to an array of different speakers from different areas of the education field and will even include an appearance and talk from celebrity scientist Prof. Brian Cox (Friday 12.30). Although there will be a lot of schools in attendance, there will also be plenty for those who are in charge of teaching within the workplace, thanks to office friendly products and ideas in the talks specific to a more corporate environment.

This is only the start of the multimedia platform that is Paragon’s Tech Zone but we can’t evolve it without your help! If you are unable to get to the event but would like some specific information, we can collect it for you and share any reviews or news we have found on the day. Feel free to contact our marketing team if you have any requests.

Are you visiting BETT and a bit worried about where to start? One of our consultants will be on site and happy to guide you around products you may have interest in. Contact Diana to arrange a meeting via dianabeckinsale@paragonmultimedia.com.

 

NEC logo

NEC Competence Day 2012 – Offices of the Future

NEC’s Competence Day has become an annual event around Europe, and this year Paragon Multimedia attended the Berkshire event hosted by the established audio-visual suppliers. The day, which was separated into video walls, new digital signage, projection innovations and offices of the future included demonstrations, presentations and information on what to expect in a few years’ time from NEC, and indeed, the whole audio-visual industry.

One of the key factors which arose throughout the sessions was power saving and eco-friendly displays which are likely to continue improving in the next couple of years. A variety of monitors that were on display in the “Office of the Future” had 23 Watt power consumption, which is a decrease compared to other brands, however NEC hope to be slimming down  and ahead of the game to as little as 5 Watts by 2014.

NEC believes that multi-touch monitors will also soon become the norm and with the support of Windows 8, the concept of a mouse and keyboard may not even be known by future generations.  Their 4K display is still in the works; however high costs and bandwidth problems mean that it won’t be a popular choice at the moment, unless you are in graphic design, thanks to its large depth of colour.

WiDi (Wireless display) was also discussed, and with the help of Intel, the industry will be able to improve the capabilities of an open office, with limited cables and a Cloud service that could connect monitors as well as data. Monitors on show at the presentation also featured CPUs which were attached to the back of the screen, saving room and electricity compared to your usual tower.

OLED and head mount displays are real insights into the future of technology, so make sure to keep an eye out for more news on this later on. It’s fair to say the working environment is bound to continue evolving and like other big, international names, NEC are keeping up with what is desired by large companies.

Coming soon: Information on NEC’s EA294WMi monitor.

Paragon’s Top 5 finds at BETT 2012



Despite being bombarded with button-less screens, enlightening projectors and general technology overload, the Paragon marketing team managed to pick out what they thought were the best new products in the education sector. Despite BETT exhibiting all kinds of technology, we have stuck to those products which feature in the audio-visual aspect and tried not to get too distracted by the games surrounding us. So here is Paragon’s top five picks from BETT 2012

1.Microsoft Surface – created by Samsung and Xface



Despite this innovative product circulating the trade shows for several years, it wasn’t until late last year that the multi-touch table was available to buy in the UK. Here at BETT, you can see how the oversized tablet means classes can work in groups, all having ago on the screen simultaneously and making learning fun. Teachers who have used Surface in their classrooms say that it is great for improving primary school ages to listen and work together, rather than just learning academic subjects. Other objects can interact with the screen, such as ID cards which can be swiped on the screen and open up a pupil’s work. Surface is looking to branch out into the retail sector soon.

2. Designmate 3D

Again, another business which has been around for over twenty years, developing 3D animated content for higher education. At BETT, a large crowd was pulled in due to their mini cinemas, showcasing their 3D simulations for sciences and maths, which used 3D glasses and were compatible with any large screen. Despite such engaging and educational graphics, this Indian company are yet to brand out into the UK, so make sure to watch out for this name in the future.

3. Insight 360 – created by eInstruction

Insight 360 is an intuitive and fully-integrated software programme that means teaching and learning comes easy. A portable interactive whiteboard can be held by the teacher and then connected to the main projected whiteboard on the screen, full of functions and capabilities to write and draw with a stylus. As well as being used on eInstruction’s Mobi 360, the Insight 360 software can also be downloaded onto an iPad. By using a Spark 360 (a small response pad), the children can be tested throughout the class and automatic results can be seen by the teacher on their device.  The whole concept makes for a calm and engaging classroom, where instant results can be found.

4. e-Station S/Z/T – created by B & S Media

Korea based B & S Media have managed to take all the concepts of audio visual and compact it all into one smart podium. From first glances, the podium is futuristic and powerful, bound to help any speaker’s confidence soar. The cabinet-style podium includes a control touch panel, an LCD tablet, high quality microphone and capabilities for external devices, meaning meetings can be completely at your fingertips. Adjustments can be made for your own comfort and there is even a locking system to make the product burglar-proof. Despite it looking like a more corporate piece of equipment, there is no saying this could not go down brilliantly in higher education.

5. Qumi HD pocket projector – created by Vivitek

One of the keys factors of technological evolution is size. Size affects, practicality, shipping prices and enhances the possibilities. With this in mind, Qumi is definitely a product to keep your eye on. Despite its compact size (being lighter than a paperback), this LED projector does not lack in HD crispness, high brightness and varying connectivity. With an integrated media player and document reader, Qumi can project a widescreen image of more than 2 metres diagonal, making it popular not only in the education sector but in home cinema and gaming as well. As they say, great things come in small packages!

Paragon @ BETT 2012

When you first walk into the London Olympia Hall, being thrown leaflets and pens from every direction and walking passed stalls just to escape the bustle of the entrance, there is one thing that screams out to our marketing team. And that was that we wished we went to school now and not five or so years ago. Everything looks fun and exciting, an array of products are on display to make certain senses tingle and the strangest part is that it is all in the name of learning.

Despite the fact BETT’s trade show has been going for over 25 years, today is Paragon’s first time here and the fact that such a large venue is crammed with so much technology, solely for educational purposes, makes you wonder what sort of products were shown here in 1985. Nonetheless, the fact one gets lost around the National Hall proves the quantity of both hardware and software on offer in the industry now and particularly audio-visual.

Around 30,000 people will pass through the doors over the three days, from all over the world and Paragon bumped into many promising pieces of equipment that are bound to shine themselves into our classrooms very soon. With BETT covering technology that caters for all stages of education, small children run around playing with Smart boards or taking example classes with said equipment.

It appeared the most popular innovation was touch-sensitive screens of all sizes and proved Smart would have a lot more competition this year, despite leading the interactive whiteboard race previously. The Apple iPad may have doubled up as a geek’s girlfriend replacement back in 2010, but despite the attention over at the Apple stand, there are many Android-based tablets scattered around BETT, which lower in cost and just as durable.

Overall, it’s fair to say the innovation is never going to slow down, with promising manufacturers from around the world still fighting to get into the UK market. With that said, we have collected a small snippet of our new found favourite products in the AV industry.

For more on the products at BETT 2012, check out our Top 5 Audio-visual finds at BETT article.