How to buy AV: 6 keys to consider
Today’s presentation displays are far more high-tech than the overhead projectors and transparencies of the past. And while this technology seems to be moving at light speed, it is imperative for school administrators to step back and review their classroom needs to ensure the technology they purchase today works well for both students and teachers and takes into consideration for unique classroom environments.
So, what should you consider when you’re in the market for new classroom AV? Here's a six-point checklist to walk you through the process.
Display size. You need a large display to make sure all students can easily see content. Our district uses a 100-inch display size.If the display size is too small, students will struggle, especially those in the back of the classroom.
Brightness. The Society for Information Display made color light output a new specification to consider in 2012, so look at both the white brightness and color light brightness specifications. An additional light-related consideration is the amount of ambient light in your classrooms.
Software and device compatibility. Like many districts, our district previously had a hodge-podge of presentation displays, which meant we had groups of teachers who were proficient on different interactive software. Additionally, we are rolling out a one-to-one initiative that allows schools to choose one of four devices for their users. Finding a presentation solution that was device and software agnostic was critical.
Interactivity. This will depend on how classrooms are used. If your district is doing more interactive lessons, make interactivity a priority. If classes are using displays just for video or text content, a non-interactive presentation solution may be ideal.
Installation. Where you plan on installing the presentation solution may influence what you purchase. While flat panels are relatively easy to install, it limits how you can use the wall on which it is installed. If wall space is limited in your classrooms, a projector is ideal because you can project onto a whiteboard and use the whiteboard when the projector is not in use, thus enabling multi-use wall space.
Warranties and replacement policies. Sometimes technology fails. Read the manufacturer’s replacement policy and look for perks such as free overnight shipping and advance replacement -- both will help you get your classroom back to normal faster.
Tim Dunn is the director of IT program management in the Office of Information Technology for Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, GA.
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