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EduComm Highlights Education Technology Trends

May 21, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes

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New York Times technology columnist and CBS News correspondent David Pogue delivering his keynote address at EduComm 2007

New York Times technology columnist and CBS News correspondent David Pogue delivering his keynote address at EduComm 2007

As the AV industry gears up for its biggest show of the year, the fifth annual EduComm conference will once again offer workshops and presentations focused on educational technology in higher-education institutions. The show is in Las Vegas June 18 to 20, 2008, and it runs concurrently with InfoComm's exhibit dates. This year, educators will gather to learn how Web 2.0 and Internet technology are changing the way instruction and learning is conducted in the classroom.

"Attendees can see how various higher education institutions are using Internet and Web 2.0 technology in the classroom. Some are hands-on workshops and others are presenting case studies," says Tim Goral, editor in chief of University Business magazine and EduComm's program chair. "The show covers a lot of bases, from classroom technology to facilities management, Web 2.0, and classroom activities like podcasting."

Goral says the overall trend in the education market is "People want to learn how to use what they have. Educators want to learn how to teach better using existing tools in the classroom."

Gary Kayye, AV analyst for rAVe Publications based in Chapel Hill, N.C., agrees with Goral's assessment of the market. "The state of the market is cautionary. Over the past eight to 10 years, there has been a huge buying cycle of AV products and systems. There are many classrooms in the market that have overly complicated or over-engineered AV systems," says Kayye, who is one of the EduComm keynote speakers this year. Previously, Kayye was named InfoComm's Educator of the Year in 2004 and NSCA's Instructor of the Year in 2007.

Kayye and his firm often help AV manufacturers build better products for vertical markets such as education, which affords him constant interaction with users and school administrators. His firm recently completed a market research study on behalf of a leading manufacturer that found less than 40 percent of classroom AV equipment is being used regularly (at least once a week). "Lots of universities are on their second or third phase of upgrades; there is a trend towards simpler systems," Kayye says. "Training will be included in school budgets. The previous assumption was that training was not required or that staff members would figure out how to use the system themselves."

The simplifying of AV system could mean that, instead of a touchpanel, there will be more use of keypads. "The price difference is also a factor," Kayye says. "Plus, there may be a move back to regular whiteboards instead of interactive boards. The purchase rate on document cameras in education will flatten or decrease."

For his keynote presentation next month, Kayye will advise attendees about how AV can leverage the IT network. "There is value to using the IT network for AV technology," he says. "Schools can manage and streamline the operations of the room by monitoring networked AV devices and maintenance concerns like lamp life on a projector."

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