AV control systems for the class room

How you, your teachers and the students can benefit

Classroom AV control systems

Gone are the days where the classroom is simply a room with row after row of desks and a couple of whiteboards hanging on the wall. The modern classroom looks completely different: cutting edge technology and flexible furnishings to adapt the space depending on the type of class and the learning needs of the pupils.

The modern classroom has to meet many stakeholders’ standards:

  • Students want a space that is fun and engaging
  • Teachers require tools that are easy to use and effective to promote learning
  • IT managers require rooms that don’t require hours of user support
  • Local authorities have budgets that need to be adhered to the IT/AV market is a mature one, with hundreds of device types and brands of different price ranges to choose from. It is hard to make decisions and choose the right equipment. Therefore, it is always advisable to get in touch with an AV reseller or System Integrator to get expert advice on creating the right AV solutions for your school.

That being said, it’s 2020 and there is an ocean of information on the internet. In this guide, you will learn about:

→ Typical AV equipment in the classroom

→ What AV control systems are

→ What the benefits of AV control systems

→ Key considerations when choosing an AV control system for the classroom

Typical AV equipment in the classroom

Display device

The key element in the classroom AV equipment setup is some kind of device to display content in a large format, making it possible for every pupil in the classroom to see it. There a several options here – a large LED display, a projector and screen, or an interactive whiteboard are just some examples.

Content sharing tools

A content sharing tool, as the name implies, is used to transfer content to a display device. In a classroom where physical objects like books, maps, or other printed materials are frequently used, a document camera is a useful way to share that content on a large screen. Content sharing can also be in the form of a DVD or Blu-Ray player, also a relatively common device in the classroom. Furthermore, content sharing can take place from a source device such as the teacher or a students’ laptop.  This can be as simple as connecting with an HDMI or USB cable or using something more advanced like a wireless sharing platform. Examples of wireless sharing platforms are Airtame and Barco WePresent.

Audio devices

No AV installation is complete without the necessary audio devices. Modern education includes the use of multimedia, and audio is key to creating a rich and dynamic experience in the classroom. For large classrooms or auditoriums, an AV installation would include microphones, switchers/matrixes, amplifiers and several speakers located in strategic places to enhance audio distribution. You can go through a list of brands and devices that are compatible with Neets Control Systems.

Video conferencing devices

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that video conferencing solutions are required in even the most unlikely of places! Classrooms and auditoriums must be equipped to be able to provide distance-learning or video-based education. The devices required to enable video-based education are web cameras and depending on the chosen platform, a video codec.

Audio and video devices from Biamp

What is an AV control system?

The modern classroom is typically equipped with a combination of the above-mentioned devices. The challenge for the system integrator is to design and install a system that functions smoothly, and just as importantly provides a positive experience for the user. What IT/AV professionals sometimes fail to realize is that not every classroom user is equally comfortable with technology. Even digital natives might somehow struggle to understand how to use advanced Pro AV equipment.

Therefore, it is essential to design a classroom AV system that is easy and intuitive to use, and enhances learning and collaboration, no matter the audience or the presenter. One way of ensuring this is to use AV control systems and control interfaces. A control system, simply put, is the brain behind all the AV equipment installed in a room, connecting and controlling all the devices so they function seamlessly together.

A control interface can be touch-based or tactile, in the form of a touch panel or a keypad. The control interface is the central point of interaction for users – essentially eliminating the need for remote controls for the all individual devices in the room, and gathering all the needed functions in one, simplified and highly understandable interface.

Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue in a classroom if there were no control interfaces? Remote controls would be lost, stolen or hidden by students as a prank. The AV system in the classroom would immediately become unusable, waste teachers’ and IT managers’ time and cause a lot of frustration.

What are the benefits of an AV control system?

1. Control all the equipment from a central location

An AV control system enables the integrator to connect all the devices into a single system. The integrator can then program or configure certain functions and processes that happen upon user interaction. An example of such a function would be a global OFF button, turning all the devices in the room automatically. Other examples of functions are source switching, volume control, and control of lights and curtains.

2. One interface for users to get familiar with 

As mentioned previously, a control interface can be a touch panel or a keypad. The choice between the two depends on the budget, the complexity of the room (number of equipment) and the number of control functions required. Regardless of whether it is a touch or keypad interface, having the same one used in every classroom or auditorium provides the teacher with a sense of familiarity, safety and comfort. No matter which classroom they are using on the day, they know how to operate the equipment and can get started immediately.  

3. Reduce IT support time

Not all users are equally adept at using technology. Having various types of technology in different classrooms with different ways of operating them makes it difficult for users to get comfortable and familiar with the equipment. Having a standard solution that is replicated in all classrooms with the same operating interface ensures that the IT team will be called out to help less frequently.

More than 350,000+ meeting rooms and learning spaces worldwide have an AV system installation with Biamp

AV control systems for the classrooms

Neets Control - OsCar

Neets Control – OsCar is the ideal keypad for the IT professional that wants to keep the user interface and available functions as simple as possible (with 4 buttons). The keypad controller is suitable for single room solutions that require a single two-say serial or IR port as well as control of up to two 3rd party LAN devices or up to eight Neets LAN devices. The OsCar also has 2 GPIO’s that can be used for screen and lift control.

Check out the Neets Control - OsCar >

Neets Control - EcHo Plus

The Neets Control – EcHo Plus has 3 GPIO's and a LAN port, enabling you to control up to two 3rd party LAN devices or up to eight Neets LAN devices. This means that you can build upon your installation with extra IO’s, keypads, relays etc. You can add multiple classrooms rooms to your project and share control of a matrix switcher, mixer etc. between the different keypads.

Check out the Neets Control - EcHo Plus >

Neets Control - UniForm

UniForm is an 8 button keypad control system with a modern, minimalistic design that is suitable for wall-mounting. The Neets Control - UniForm has a highly legible interface with an e-ink display, replacing the printed labels found on other keypads. It is powered by PoE and has a LAN port, three RS-232 ports and three GPIOs to control projectors, displays, amplifiers and any other AV device.  

Check out the Neets Control - UniForm >

Request a demo of AV technology solutions from Biamp

Are you interested in learning more about the AV equipment that Biamp provides for meeting rooms and video conferencing, and how you can benefit from a Biamp installation?

Submit your information using our 'Request a Demo' form and we will get in touch with you to hear more about your needs. We will then plan an online demo or put you in touch with your nearest Biamp reseller.