• Tommy Hall

A No-Nonsense Guide To Higher Ed And Primary School AV Equipment


A No-Nonsense Guide To Higher Ed And Primary School AV Equipment

You can make the class bell a little less dreadful with better audio visual (AV) equipment. Having the right tech equipment to support a lecture can mean the difference between an engaging educational experience or one that consists of students sneakily checking TikTok feeds under their desks.


Unlocking that “wow” factor for students means putting on an engaging show with high-quality equipment. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the school AV equipment we recommend for every educational institution and budget, as well as specifics for both higher education and primary education classrooms.


What is school AV equipment?


School AV equipment consists of all the hardware and software needed to produce the best audio and/or video for students, whether they’re in the classroom or on the other end of a livestream. This includes items like presentations, classroom speakers, music, and more.


That being said, the best school AV equipment isn’t necessarily the fanciest or most expensive solution. The AV solutions for education allow the teacher or professor to do what they do best — teach.


The experts at Aspen Custom Electronics are certified AV professionals with extensive experience working with schools of all sizes, from Ponca City High School to Oklahoma State University. Contact us for insights into your next AV project.


AV Ideas, Equipment And Solutions For Schools Of All Sizes


Your goal for any educational space should be to ensure that students have a good experience every time they’re in class — whether in person or online. A good experience is one that keeps them engaged, not watching the clock.


The following types of equipment and specific hardware recommendations are ones that we would make for a classroom of any size to foster that environment.


Display


Your classroom should always have a display of some sort, whether that’s a television display, projector, or video wall to assist professors in sharing presentations, videos, or lecture notes with students.

We recommend a Sony display that suits the size of your classroom. Our favorite is an 85-inch screen that’s easy to use, bright, and produces a high-quality picture.


Sony FW-85BZ40H 85” Display

Sony AV Display

Projector


Projectors have been a classroom favorite for a while. These days, the cost of video displays is decreasing to the point where we’d recommend using those over a projector depending on the size of the room.


If a display that’s large enough to fill your classroom space just won’t work for your budget or needs, we recommend a Panasonic laser projector, which produces a bright, high-quality picture without the need to regularly change a light bulb.


Panasonic Projectors for Education

Panasonic AV Display

Microphones


Nowadays, microphones need to work double-time. They have to project sound in a classroom so that students can hear the teacher or professor no matter where they’re sitting in a room, and they also have to feed clear classroom audio to students attending class virtually.


We recommend a beamforming classroom microphone that allows instructors to walk around the room and keep students engaged but still picks up audio evenly. These types of microphones are either embedded into the ceiling or sit on a desk at the front of the room. We recommend Shure microphones, which produce a high-quality sound at an affordable price.


Shure MXA Series

Shure MXA AV Equipment

Cameras


Classroom cameras have transitioned from nice-to-have to critical since the COVID-19 pandemic. To create the most engaging experience for virtual learners, we recommend a camera that follows a professor around the room as they move or automatically zooms in on students in the classroom who are speaking.


These auto-tracking cameras help break up the monotony of looking at the screen and make virtual learners feel like they’re sitting in the classroom, turning their heads as the professor moves around as opposed to watching from the sidelines. We recommend a Panasonic pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera for the best results.


AW-UE40 Professional PTZ Camera

AW UE40 AV Display

Speakers


Your speaker system is important to make sure that every student can hear sound equally. Sound in the classroom can be heard differently from each seat, so look for a system that distributes audio evenly. We recommend Nexo’s surface mount speaker, which is smaller and performs well when needing to cover a wide classroom area.


Nexo Surface Mount Speaker


Nexo Surface AV Equipment

Control System


Last but certainly not least, you’ll need a system that allows your instructor to easily conduct classroom AV control for all of this equipment without disrupting the flow of their lesson.


Crestron’s control system allows instructors to quickly change content on screen, adjust sound levels, playback video, or connect various device types to displays. All these tasks can be done quickly without leaving students in limbo, waiting for the next stage of their lesson.


Crestron XPanel


Crestron XPanel AV Equipment

Higher Education School AV Equipment


Up until now, we’ve discussed equipment that’s a must for pretty much every classroom. For higher education, there’s one major difference to consider — classroom size. With lecture halls that may hold hundreds of students, you’ll need a video display that makes course content easy to see for everyone at once.


Video Wall


In cases where you’re looking to display content in a large lecture hall or a larger classroom, consider a video wall in place of a display or a projector.


Video walls make classrooms feel commanding and engage students with a bright, large display that’s hard to take their eyes off of. We recommend the GLIC LED video wall for a high-quality product to suit the needs of various classroom sizes.


GLIC LED


GLIC LED AV Display

Primary School AV Equipment


Primary schools typically have smaller classrooms than higher education institutions and need to engage young children with interactive experiences. In addition, they often need to control the flow of the school day with announcements and classroom bells.


Interactive Displays


Especially for the K-12 classroom, we recommend investing in at least one interactive display per classroom. An interactive display offers the ability for students to draw, play games, select answers, and more using a smartboard.


With this technology, students are offered the chance to get up and move around the room, providing a much more interesting and engaging experience than listening to a lecture from their desks. We recommend Newline interactive displays, which provide a high-quality experience for both students and instructors.


Newline Interactive Displays


Newline AV Displays

Document Camera


Another interactive favorite for primary education classrooms is document cameras that allow teachers to magnify content in textbooks or worksheets for students on the display of their choice.


We recommend the Lumens Document Camera, which is equipped with a wide zoom range and projects a high-quality picture.


Lumens Document Camera


Lumens AV Equipment

Speaker System


In order to control the school day schedule, primary classrooms are typically equipped with a speaker system so that administrators can make announcements or ring a class bell.


We recommend the Shure STEM speakerphone system, which provides cost-effective solutions for everything from speaker systems to ceiling microphones and wall-mounted soundbars for a complete intercom and AV system package.


Shure STEM Speakerphone


Bonus And Multipurpose Rooms


Both higher education institutions and primary schools have multipurpose rooms or bonus rooms used for events, lectures, meetings, banquets, school plays, fairs, or a variety of other events.


The goal for your AV equipment in those rooms is the same — keep your students engaged with the content in front of them. The most important strategy for these rooms is to preserve your equipment’s versatility.


We recommend the use of a digital signal processor (DSP) to prevent different microphones from interfering with one another in a room like this, as well as a recording or streaming system so you can provide a virtual experience for event attendees.


The right school AV equipment can make or break an engaging classroom experience.


Classroom AV solutions should have your students at the forefront. The best equipment and classroom design has their best interest at heart and the goal to engage them in mind.


At Aspen Custom Electronics, the rooms we like to design are the ones that are the most engaging or exciting for students when they walk in. Contact us for a consultation on how to improve the classroom experience at your educational institution.