Tag Archives: classroom

BETT is back!

Print Despite only just settling back into the daily grind after the Christmas holidays, BETT has once again come around with a bang and it’s time to start planning your visit. The annual gathering of all things education and technology is back in London from 22-25th January and after 30 years the devices may have gotten smaller but the market has gotten much larger.

When you look back on how much the classroom has changed in the last 30 years, the next 30 look to be truly game changing. With the current generation of children in education becoming almost instinctive when using technology, its usage within the classroom should be seamless. This year, you are bound to find products that allow a faff-free set up and instant, simultaneous access to information for teacher and pupils. Collaborative devices and cloud sharing are slowly becoming the norm and when the likes of Google are pairing up with Smart for such devices, you know it’s something worth looking into. BETT is the perfect opportunity to learn about the possibilities available as well as the individual products but we know it can be a lot to take in.

As always, Paragon Multimedia will be present at the event and happy to assist you, whether it’s reporting back with the latest innovations, recommend the best solution for your system or grab information for you if you’re unable to attend the event yourself. If you are planning on attending, here are a few tips to make sure you get the optimum from your visit:

Plan! Think about what resources your establishment currently requires or needs so that you know what you’re looking for before you get there, as there is a lot to get lost in. Do some research on manufacturers exhibiting that supply these resources so that you know where you’re heading on the day. If you’re not sure where to start, feel free to give us a call and we can guide you on what you should look out for depending on your specific requirements.

Learn! There are several seminars and presentations going on around the ExCel over the three days so make the most of your journey by extracting wisdom from industry experts. A timetable can be found on the BETT website and all sessions are CPD accredited.

Chat! Many of our partner suppliers will be on hand to do demonstrations of products and answer any questions we may not have answered for you before the event. If you don’t get all your answers, or are interested in taking your ideas further, we can book a meeting with you at your site to discuss this further. Furthermore, if the stall is too busy and you’d like to experience a product one on one, we offer free demonstrations that we can bring to site, so if you see something that interests you, please let us know. Our team will be picking out all the highlight products from the show and our post BETT report is bound to assist both those who did attend and those who were too busy to visit.

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Paragon Multimedia specialise in Professional Audio Visual Installations from their offices in Berkshire, UK.

Google and Smart partner up for cloud collaborating – SMART Amp

smart ampCloud learning is slowly but surely making its way over our heads and can be beneficial for everyone involved in education, be it the learner, the teacher or the administrator. Being a web-based solution, the cloud can be accessed from any device in any location (that has permission) and has unlimited storage so that all work and lessons can be saved to one central point.

Although the concept of the cloud is by no means new, users have found problems along the way, with the variety of devices in particular being a problem. SMART have teamed up with Google to eliminate this problem and their SMART Amp software allows devices running on any operating system including iOS or Android to all have the same access to the data shared within it. Promoted as the “glue” that connects any device, the software allows a seamless transition for data, as well as allowing collaboration within a lesson. Being designed specifically for an educational environment, the SMART Amp takes into account problems administrators may face such as teacher training on particular devices, instead allowing the teacher to use their own personal device of choice. The BYOD concept also allows children to connect their learning world with the “real world” and with collaboration already proving to increase learning, why stop now?

Both cost effective and simple to use, the software will launch in April this year, so keep an eye out on our blog for updates in the next couple of months. If you would like more information on cloud learning or SMARTs product line, feel free to contact us.

Video conferencing to lead business communications by 2016

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A report completed by Redshift Research has confirmed that the desire for video conferencing in all business is growing and that by 2016; over half of the business managers questioned want to be using it as their preferred communications tool. At the moment email and voice/conference calls are more popular but 76 per cent have admitted to using video conferencing at work, 56 per cent of which utilize the equipment at least once a week.

Using video conferencing tools at home such as Skype is still more common than in the workplace, with 83 per cent using the systems and most of these were in the 20-30 age group. Although desktops and laptops were the primary source for business video conferencing, conference room usage is expected to rise to 55 per cent in three years’ time. Mobile devices are on similar figures to the conference rooms, showing how important further collaboration development is for the AV market.

The three main reasons that caused managers favoured video meetings was the ability to hear everyone coherently, see eye contact and body language and the fact it is easy to use. We can offer an array of different systems dependent on size and usage, so please feel free to contact us so that you beat the boom.

 

Tablet popularity continues to grow in UK

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According to a new report from eMarketer, a third of the British population now use a tablet at least once a month whether it’s their own, or shared by the family. It is predicted that by 2017 half of the population will be using a tablet regularly, due to a recent variety in prices. With the likes of Tesco’s small Hudl being far cheaper than current favourite iPad, it’s expected that Apple’s sales will drop in coming years.

The growing use of tablets in the education sector has had a real effect, with the under 12 audience rapidly growing and if these predictions are anything to go by, tablets will be a norm in every classroom. With this and the fact that several corporate companies are embracing the BYOD format, clients should be looking into future proofing their AV system. The majority of equipment on the market is now compatible with both Android and iOS devices and the applications are endless.

If you are interested using tablets for presentation, collaboration or control, please contact us and our consultants can arrange a free on site demo for your team.

The rise of tablets in education

It was obvious tablets were going to continue their popular demand in the education sector but for many it was a surprise just how quick the increase has occurred. The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) have compiled some interesting facts regarding the needs and hopes for schools, so we put a few of the important stats into an infographic for you.

For more information on school technology please feel free to contact us. We have a wide client base in the education sector and some of work can be found on our Education page.

Medical lectures using ghost hologram

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There was a huge reaction when Tupac was displayed via hologram at last year’s Coachella Festival and despite its usage for other entertainment; a London university has used the Pepper’s Ghost illusion to enhance its learning opportunities.

Two junior doctors have developed effects so that a large scale hologram can be displayed in medical lectures, with last week demonstrating a 4 metre kidney. Research in education has shown that more interactive teaching, including 3D, can increase attention span and this 3D graphic can be controlled by the lecturer, so that particular parts can be viewed. The scale of the image means attention to detail required by medical students can be viewed with ease, however both students and professors alike do not feel this will fully replace traditional methods. Dr Sugand reminds us, “Nothing can substitute dissecting a cadaver – it is the optimal and most traditional way of learning anatomy. But multimedia has become a way of complementing, not replacing that process.”

Unlike a standard hologram, the Pepper’s Ghost illusion uses glass or foil combined with special lighting techniques to make objects appear in mid-air. And three projectors are used to create the full colour images but need you’ll need a large auditorium for such big graphics.

The developers are still creating a large library of animations to utilise but it’s unlikely we will see this in action regularly for a while. If you would like more information on education or healthcare systems, please feel free to contact us.

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A simple diagram to explain the Pepper’s Ghost illusion

 

Cloud schools could benefit third world countries

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We all know how much technology has changed the way we teach and learn within the education sector but Professor Sugata Mitra has managed to take these ideas to a whole new level. Prof. Anant Agarwai has already set up one online school, known as ‘edX’, where one million students have already enrolled to access a variety of online courses. The content has been shared from around 27 partners at universities, creating a non-profit project that could help poorer countries, who are yet to have formal education, as well as here on home soil.

“Education has not changed in 500 years – we still herd children like cats into classrooms at 9am”, he explained. This model will involve an adult supervisor on the other side of the screen but a lot of it will involve the children having to organise themselves. Thanks to investments from the likes of MIT and Harvard universities, the Prof. Mitra hopes to open five online schools, three in India and two in the UK. The establishment will be a glass pod filled with computers and a large screen for the supervisor to be seen on and have some authority over the children.

When he did a similar project in 1999, Mitra dealt with an influx of interest and children were eager to play games but it eventually calmed down into a great learning tool. For areas where there are no teachers or good teachers available, the cloud school covers the problem whilst using support from some of the world’s top professors. Another part of the project involves “cloud grannies”. Retired people in the UK can connect via Skype to youth clubs over in India and offer activities such as reading a story and this is something that is thought to be incorporated into the schools.

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Sugata Mitra at TEDGlobal

Prof. Sugata Mitra’s talk at the TEDGlobal conference about cloud schools can be found on Youtube.

Fourth Steljes SHAPE event hits Oxford

shape2013logoResellers and integrators congregated at the F1 Williams Conference Centre last week to be educated on all things Smart. With technical training available for Smart products and AMX’s RPM (Rapid ProjectMaker) software, engineers are busy keeping up to date with the latest installation opportunities. The vendor village offered a closer look into some of the equipment discussed in the seminars throughout the day with Steljes and their partners in full force to educate.

The seminars throughout the day offered a vast range of ideas for how to incorporate collaborative solutions and although we’re aware of its uses in the education sector, the corporate talk was much more eye opening. With Microsoft Lync becoming a popular factor of the modern office, Smart’s own software Meeting Pro manages to combine with this product’s advantages for a seamless meeting. After shocking statistics including the fact that 28% of workers find meetings to be “pointless” being shared, it is understandable that companies want to find ways to save time and money on travel and sometimes video conferencing just won’t do. The combination of these programmes helps create not only a system for video and audio, but also for collaboration, so anyone involved in the meeting can annotate and make notes in real time and save and send where necessary. Check out our feature on Meeting Pro coming soon.

BenQ’s “Using iPads in the Classroom” showed a short demonstration of the progressively favoured DisplayNote software, however due to internet problems the seminar was cut short. The Steljes training team offered a first glance of their training portal concept for teachers which will be available soon. Despite the worries that interactive whiteboards were losing the battle against sleeker touchscreen LCDs, Smart are far from getting left behind in the collaborative market.

NEC Showcase 2013

IMAG0455As if the Tobacco Dock in London was not enough in respects of a great venue, the content displayed within its old fashioned frame makes for an enlightening day, in which the power of audio-visual proves it’s stronger than ever. The NEC Showcase’s fifth year of collaborating with other big manufacturers sees a serious upgrade in the retail and education sectors; however the event covers every angle including corporate, transport, media, leisure, healthcare and control. Each room had live demonstrations of new innovations so that you could experience the technology hands on, with visitors from round the world receiving live tours around the vast displays. From the word go you enter the electronic world, with a immersive tunnel that uses rear projection to create an engaging walkway.IMAG0456

Amongst all of this, there was also conferences and seminars as well as a dance troupe who were demonstrating a 4K workflow and were being filmed for playback on a 4K videowall and other 4K technology including a laser projector and using a 5K camera. 4K was seen elsewhere in the venue including NEC’s new 4K laser projector and a UHD 4K videowall. 3D had its own area, which proves this technology will continue to evolve, however it was kept purely for leisurely activities at this event.

The education room concentrated on collaborative learning including DisplayNote software, which we have touched on previously here. Digital signage within the schools and universities were pushed with AMX’s latest control panel proving anyone can keep the system up to date (blog coming soon).

The retail section was probably the most popular, due to so many interactive displays that brought to life many concepts we have been hearing so much about, yet haven’t tried out for ourselves. This included large touch screen menus, virtual changing rooms and audience analytics (blogs to come soon).

Congratulations to NEC on the event and make sure to keep an eye out for more in depth product spotlights coming soon on the Tech Zone.

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Clevertouch demos available at Paragon

Here at Paragon, we’re aware that not everyone can get out to see the latest products at exhibitions at training days. With this in mind we are offering a free demonstration day at our offices for local schools and business to check out the latest Clevertouch. The interactive LCD touch screen features a multi-touch of over 30 points and can be adjusted from board to table form.

We are offering local establishments a free of charge in-house demonstration with one of our expert consultants to give you a one on one feel for the board and see the advantages it could bring to an educational or corporate environment.

We currently have these times available so feel free to call us to book an appointment. One of our team can come and collect you if necessary.

Monday 20th May – 3.30pm onwards

Tuesday 21st May – All day

Wednesday 22nd May – 12.30pm onwards

Contact us by phone on 0845 2261675 or email via marketing@paragonmultimedia.com

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