Flipped Learning: What it is and Why You Should Consider Using It

Have you heard of the concept of flipped learning? It’s one of the new trends in education and we think it’s something you’ll want to take a look at when it comes to your training and educational programs.

Straight from the Flipped Learning Network, the official definition of flipped learning is: “a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment, where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.” Need a translation? What that really means is that you upend the traditional learning process and take the lecture out of the classroom. Teachers provide lecture material to students in advance, allowing them the opportunity to review the material on their own, in advance of a lesson. What happens as a result is that the classroom time can then be used to interactively discuss, implement, and apply the learned concepts. Sounds pretty interesting, doesn’t it? And when you think on it, it only makes sense. Students come into class already familiar with the lecture material and prepared to discuss, dive deeper, ask questions, and perhaps even get more benefit from the training session as a result.

Flipped Classroom infographic 1

Hence, the name “flipped learning.” As implied, this teaching method rearranges the typical approach to learning and allows teachers to spend more classroom time reinforcing and explaining concepts and lessons. It also allows students to be an interactive part of the process, creating a dynamic learning experience instead of a static one.

But really, why make the flip?

The underlying belief of the educators who coined the term “flipped learning” is that “direct instruction and lecture is not an effective teaching tool in the group learning space, but is effective when delivered to individuals.” Since teaching staff and budgets constrain the opportunity to individually give direct instruction to students, they began to use instructional videos and video conference learning methods to prepare students in advance. They found that utilizing class time in a way that allowed for more individualized assistance and hands-on activities increased the mastery level of the concepts taught to their students, along with the ability to provide students instant feedback. As a bonus, they found that students typically experience less frustration when learning new lessons or concepts and get more benefit out of the training in general.
Flipped Classroom Infographic 1

In one university case study prior to implementing flipped learning 50% of freshmen failed English and 44% of freshmen failed math. After making the flip, 19% of freshmen failed English and 13% of freshmen failed math. That’s a pretty significant improvement by all standards. This infographic from Knewton lays out some of the advantages of flipped learning specific to the classroom, but they probably translate just as easily to the business environment.


5 Applications for BYOD in Audio Visual Systems

BYOD, also known as bring your own device, is a technology policy that is becoming more and more popular in the workplace. Late last year, Virtual Bridges reported that 53% of information users incorporate a personal device into their work to help them do their jobs. There are also many applications for BYOD in audio visual systems that are used to make communication easier in the corporate world.

Improving The Mobility Of AV Systems

With BYOD, employees can access computers and other elements of AV systems while they are at home or out of the office on a work trip. For example, a businessperson that has to come up with a presentation might use computer systems that are connected to audiovisual technology in the office using a remote login system on their personal device that allows them to access files on these computers from any location.

Allowing For More Effective Presentations

When business professionals are more comfortable with the tools they are using to present important information to their colleagues, they have a much easier time presenting and usually do a better job. One of the best applications for BYOD in audio visual systems is using employee devices to make presentations on company systems, which makes team members less worried about speaking to a group and more focused on conveying the content of their presentations.

Facilitating Remote Working

Remote workers can cut down on business overhead and improve both productivity and happiness among workers. If you are looking to give your company’s workers the flexibility of working from home or from their travel destinations, integrating their personal devices into your AV system is a great way to do so. Personal devices that are linked to AV systems can be used for audio or video calls with remote workers. This is one of the applications for BYOD in audio visual systems that employees will appreciate, since it gives them more freedom to get their responsibilities handled and shows that their employer trusts them.

Cutting Down On Costs

Instead of purchasing a computer for each of your team members to use in your company AV system, why not allow them to use their own device? This saves your business from spending thousands on equipment that employees can only use when they are in the office. The cost savings from using BYOD in your AV system will allow you to devote valuable business capital to other areas that need it.

Boosting Employee Morale

ZDNet reported that according to a recent study of BYOD policies in Asia, these kinds of policies lead to more happiness and productivity. Employees that are more satisfied with your AV systems will be more adept at using them and will be happier to get their responsibilities completed, whatever they may be.

When it comes to applications for BYOD in audio visual systems, companies have a wide range of options available to them. Whatever reason your organization has for incorporating BYOD policies into your use of audio visual devices, you will enjoy the benefit of a system that costs less, is more flexible, and provides a greater level of employee satisfaction.

10 Great Applications For Streaming Live Video

Streaming video is becoming an important part of the way people interact and share data with one another. Streaming video can be used for broadcasting seminars or conferences or for collaboration on a smaller scale between team members. To help you maximize your live video streaming capabilities, here are ten excellent applications for video conferencing and streaming:

  1. Ustream Pro Broadcasting

Ustream was created in 2007 and is one of the most prominent live streaming tools. The company announced in early 2012 that its live and recorded videos had more than 2 billion views in 2011.

  1. Onstream Media Visual Webcaster

Visual Webcaster is a video streaming tool designed to give companies the ability to broadcast webinars and conferences in several locations. It also features control panels for presenters, recording features, and support for PowerPoint presentations and Flash video clips.

  1. Cisco WebEx

Cisco has been a major player in the technology sector for several years and holds one of the biggest shares of the video conferencing technology. Its WebEx Event Center is designed to allow companies to broadcast to a huge number of people at once: WebEx Event Center can support up to 3,000 participants and offers high quality video and threaded Q&A and chat features.

  1. Adobe Connect

Adobe’s Connect software is making waves in the field of video broadcasting. In a report released in September of 2013, Forrester Research called Adobe Connect “the most comprehensive solution” for both training and webinars. One of Connect’s biggest selling points is support for almost any kind of mobile device or computer.

  1. Microsoft Lync

Microsoft Lync is a popular video streaming tool because of its comprehensive set of features and unified communications support. With Lync, users can complement their streaming video with voice calls and instant messaging to make meetings and seminars more productive.

  1. Saba Webinar

Saba’s entry into the live streaming video field comes in the form of its Webinar tool. Saba Webinar allows users to build event registration pages, automate checks on computer configuration for attendees, and follow up with those that attended the seminar.

  1. Citrix GoToWebinar

Citrix is the maker of the popular GoToMeeting software for video conferencing. Its GoToWebinar tool is aimed more towards streaming live events and conferences. GoToWebinar supports up to 1,000 people and includes helpful features like drawing tools, support for multiple monitors, and application sharing.

  1. Fuze

This online video conferencing software used to be called FuzeBox. With an Enterprise level plan, Fuze users can stream up to 12 HD video feeds and share meetings and webinars with as many as 125 participants.

  1. Google Hangouts (Google For Business)

While Hangouts is often viewed as more of a casual software for video conferencing, Google recently decided to include Hangouts in its suite of business applications, indicating their intention to position Hangouts as a serious contender in commercial video conferencing. With support for up to 9 people, Hangouts is best for smaller conferences and training sessions.

  1. IBM Sametime

IBM’s entry into the video conferencing world includes a meeting invitation system, support for mobile devices, and screen and application sharing tools that enhance collaboration.

These 10 tools each differ slightly when it comes to what they have to offer. Choosing the right one will depend on your specific live video streaming requirements.

4 Ways BYOD Can Be Used In AV Presentation Systems

BYOD is a workplace trend that is sweeping the modern office, and for good reason. Statistics show that employees that can use their personal devices at work are more satisfied, and 90% of all U.S. workers are already using their smartphones at work. There are several ways BYOD can be used in AV presentation systems to make these systems more suitable for a wider range of employees and more effective at fulfilling their purpose of communicating company information.

  1. Wireless Content Sharing
    Chromecast and Apple TV may have set the standard for interfaces that control display content from a mobile device, but there are other options designed for use in the enterprise, such as Crestron’s AirMedia. These tools are excellent for incorporating a BYOD policy into a presentation, since employees and guests can share documents or images from almost any type of device, which opens up a company’s ability to hold presentations and makes it less of a hassle for companies to incorporate the different personal devices that their employees may be using.
  2. Receiving Presentations
    Just like wireless presentation tools allow users to share data from their devices, the ability to receive presentations is one of the most critical ways BYOD can be used in AV presentation systems. By interfacing with these systems on a mobile device, a person can more easily receive information from a presentation without being tied to their desk. In fact, with the right system, someone receiving a presentation does not even need to be in the same building to get the information included on the presentation.
  3. Collaborative Presentations
    Presentations are not always restricted to a single person. There are some instances when more than one device needs to be used seamlessly in a presentation so that the audience can receive the full impact of the presentation. There are several devices available that allow users to collaborate with other devices while they are presenting, which makes it much easier to incorporate BYOD into AV presentations that need to happen to successfully share information.
  4. Archiving Presentations
    There are some presentations that need to be viewed multiple times in order for viewers to get the full thrust of the presentation’s message. BYOD support for recording and saving presentations is critical, because it allows users to take their own personal device almost anywhere and still have the ability to review past presentations. It is also possible to record presentations and keep them on a shared company network, which would allow personal devices to access these past presentations remotely.

BYOD is a huge trend in the enterprise that has changed the way companies think about all kinds of technological concepts, from presentations to conferences to remote work. As evidenced by these ways BYOD can be used in AV presentation systems, the BYOD model is already having a huge impact on the exchange of information in the workplace. As technology develops, companies and their employees should continue to see positive changes that allow presentations to be conducted more easily to a larger audience.

3-5 Unique Applications For Digital Signage

Digital signage is one of the most widespread types of technology available for organizations. As digital signage continues to become more sophisticated, its users are coming up with some very inventive ways to apply this technology. These unique applications for digital signage are sure to give others some inspiration for how this kind of signage can be applied.

Ceiling-Based Signage

Put a sign on the ceiling? With digital signage, this is very possible. Take a look at Oakley’s New York store, which includes a long series of displays on the ceiling to help inspire customers and better convey Oakley’s brand message. Signage on the ceiling is unique because it catches attention and shows off an interesting application for digital signage: not many other stores would think about having such a large display on their ceiling.

The Airport Video Wall

Digital signs are nothing new in airports, but this application is a particularly unique one. In the Eindhoven Airport in The Netherlands, a sophisticated video wall provides news information, weather, and the date and time. This application is unique because of its sleek execution and its aesthetic: the wall is placed in a central area of the airport that allows it to grab attention quickly from viewers.

Digital Walls In Banking

One of the most unique applications for digital signage can be found at the BBVA Bancomer in Mexico City. This cutting edge digital signage application consists of a 4K screen that is 91 feet long and eight feet tall. The wall was designed to provide background to the thirteen ATMs at the bank. This application is extremely unique because of its size and layout: the ATMs blocked a portion of the screen, and it is rare to see digital signage of such a high resolution extend so far. This application is a great way to show banks what is possible with the future of digital signage.

Gesture Tracking With Signage

Gesture tracking is not necessarily a new concept – it has been deployed on video game consoles like the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 for many years now. However, unique applications for digital signage relating to gestures are allowing companies to protect their signage as well as the consumers using them. One great application of gesture tracking is in medical facilities: instead of a touch screen, gesture-based signage can be implemented, which helps fight the spread of germs that can cause sickness. Gesture tracking also allows signs to be enclosed, to prevent theft or vandalism.

Although these are four unique applications for digital signage, there are plenty more to be found in banks, airports, museums, hospitals, and universities all over the world. It is truly an exciting time to be involved in the digital signage industry or simply to be someone that is passionate about this technology, as cutting edge AV companies and corporations are all realizing the benefits of breaking new ground when it comes to digital signage that is used to inform, entertain, or communicate with the people around them.

Understanding Why Preventative Maintenance Of AV Systems Is Cheaper Than Break Fixes

Systems Last Longer When They Are Proactively Maintained

Many organizations today depend on their AV tools to get things done. AV software and hardware are used very frequently for working on existing projects, brainstorming future directives, and interacting with customers. If something goes wrong with an AV system, it can cause many internal and external problems. To help cut down on your company’s AV costs, preventative maintenance is a much better solution than only fixing something when it breaks. Here are three reasons why preventative maintenance of AV systems is cheaper than only performing break fixes.

Systems Run Better With Preventative Maintenance

AV systems are designed to work a certain way. Hardware and software updates, an important aspect of preventative maintenance, are integral to keep AV systems running the way that they should. If you fail to keep up on your preventative maintenance, you may not experience any failures or outages, but it is likely that your audiovisual system will not run as well as it would if you had engaged in preventative maintenance.

Preventative Maintenance Is Faster

When some part of your AV system goes down, there are several things that must happen before the problem can be addressed. First, someone has to report the issue. Then someone needs to create a support ticket or notify service personnel that there is an issue to be solved. Finally, the tech team needs to spend time fixing the problem and making sure it does not happen again. The combined time that it takes for all of these events to take place could be hours, or in the worst cases, days. Compare this to the time that it would take a tech to install new software, align a lamp, adjust a wire, or keep your devices clean. There is no comparison: the time difference between a break fix and AV system maintenance is one of the main reasons why preventative maintenance of AV systems is cheaper than fixing problems as they come up.

The Hidden Cost Of Client-Side Issues

If a component of your AV system breaks down while it is being used by a client or while someone at your company is using it to help a current or prospective client, there are costs that are difficult to document and often much more severe than the price of repairing your system. For example, think about the effect it would have if you were trying to land a high-value deal with a significant client, but while you were on a video call your AV system went down and could not be restored right away. Not only would you lose that particular opportunity to convince the client that your services are worthwhile, you also run the risk of negatively affecting the prospect’s opinion of your organization. This is an immeasurable risk that you cannot afford to take if you want to maximize your revenues and make a good impression on your current and prospective clients.

Many businesses are worried about the cost of maintaining their AV systems. While it is true that there are some costs involved, it is important to think about the cost of your system going down. Shorter fix times, better AV performance, and making a better impression on customers are all reasons why preventative maintenance of AV systems is cheaper than only performing maintenance when something breaks.

4 Ways Sound Masking Creates Better Work Environments

Sight, aesthetics, and layout are well-recognized considerations when planning a workplace environment.  Put simply, employees thrive when they have a clean, safe, and comfortable environment in which to work.  Noise is also an important consideration when it comes to employee productivity.  Of course, it is hardly possible, or ideal, to eliminate all noise from the work environment.  However, sound masking is one technique that businesses can use to reduce obtrusive noise, therefore creating a better work environments.

Sound masking is a technique whereby natural or manmade sounds are introduced into an environment to cover up or mask pre-existing sounds.  The aim of sound masking is to render pre-existing sounds less noticeable and distracting.  Businesses can utilize sound masking to increase employee privacy, improve worker productivity, create a more comfortable working environment, and reduce complaints about obtrusive noise.  4 ways sound masking can help create a better work environment include:

  1. Enhanced Privacy:  Privacy can be an important commodity in business.  Unfortunately, in some workplace environments, casual listeners can hear confidential conversations.  Sound masking equipment can help businesspeople and their clients feel confident that their conversations will remain confidential.
  2. Comfortable Quarters:  Employees who have peace of mind and are free from unwanted and obtrusive noise are likely to be more productive.  Today’s office places are a hub of activity and sounds.  Noise from phones, fax machines, and outside conversations can be intrusive.  Sound masking does not eliminate outside noise altogether.  But it can take the edge off external noises, thereby making our physical workspaces more comfortable places to be.
  3. Higher Concentration:  Quiet is encouraged in libraries for a reason.  An absence of noise can help people concentrate.  Conversely, most people find loud and unexpected noises distracting.  Sound masking smoothes out our auditory experience. It helps filter out jarring noises and replaces them so that we experience a more soothing auditory hum.  As a result, the sounds we do hear become part of the background rather than the foreground.
  4. Higher Satisfaction:  Unnecessary noise is associated with stress.  Trying to get a good night’s sleep when the neighbor’s dog is barking, or a few extra winks of sleep when the racket of lawn equipment arrives next door first thing in the morning, can give you an idea of how distressing noise can be.  Sound masking helps create a more peaceful sonic environment.  Workers with peace of mind can devote more of their mental and physical resources to being productive.

Great attention is paid to the look, feel, and layout of our workplaces.  Overlooked, is the quality and character of the sonic landscapes we inhabit and work in.  Sonic landscapes that are free from jarring, unexpected, and distracting noises will be less stressful and more comfortable to work in.

As a result, sound masking can help create workplace environments that are more enjoyable to work in.  Such environments are more conducive to concentration, creativity, and productivity.  Sound masking also enhances privacy in the office.  By fostering “zones of privacy,” sound masking equipment helps nurture many of the ingredients essential to any business success: most notably, trust, confidentiality, creativity, worker satisfaction and productivity.