Inavate + Crestron: Aiding the educators

The education sector has been hard hit by the Covid-19 outbreak. Wayne Cheung, general manager for Crestron North East Asia, details: “With the disruption caused by Covid-19, there have been huge changes in the education sector."

He continues: "The first problem they have had to tackle is how to continue teaching via UC platforms such as Teams or Zoom as students are unable to be physically present in the classrooms. The second problem is what this means for teachers and how they conduct their classes. At Crestron, our focus is to ensure that our solutions allow the teachers to continue teaching in the manner that they want." According to Cheung, technology has a role to play to help mitigate the disruption. He says: “If teachers or professors normally use the whiteboard and a lot of physical materials need to be shared with the classroom, then we have to bridge this gap with technology when it comes to distance learning. Our position is that in these tough times technology should be helping the teachers to do their job as much as possible.”

To do this, technology needs to fit the needs of the users in the education sector. Jeff Ng, director of sales, Hong Kong and Macau for Crestron North East Asia, says: “The key is to ensure that the technology is easy to use for students and for teachers. The UI is important, it must allow the user to get the system started and operational with the touch of a button. With a few button presses they should be able to start the activity they want. Secondly, we need to transform the analogue teaching materials to digital. Teachers still rely on a number of analogue tools from whiteboards to digital materials which need to be captured via hardware to a digital format. The main thing is to ensure that whether students are in the classroom or in a remote location, the education and teaching they receive should provide a similar experience and be of a similar quality.”

Adapting to the patterns of education end users will become more important in a post Covid-19 world. Cheung believes there will be a shift in how education spaces operate after Covid-19 restrictions begin to be eased which will demand agility on the part of the AV industry. He details: “Schools and education institutes are just beginning to open in Hong Kong and classes are resuming. One of the changes however is that they are trying to minimise the number of people attending these classes in person at first. From a technology point of view, this means that education institutes have to manage a larger number of rooms compared to the old days. So, a management system that allows them to see the entire technology deployment, like Xio Cloud or Fusion, takes on a role of greater importance. These are platforms that allow facility managers to get a complete overview of all the AV devices and their status and allow them to remotely manage these.”

Additionally, a change in user behaviour will necessitate a technology shift. Cheung details: “Another consideration will be the fact that education institutes will be looking to minimise the number of objects people touch to minimise transmission. Bring your own device really starts to make sense because you don’t have to touch any public device anymore. With the Crestron AirMedia, you can have a complete BYOD setup in your classroom and much more. By just using your own personal device, you can share whatever you want with the class and the technology can also provide a number of other features such as the accessing the classroom schedule, receiving messages and alerts and more.”

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