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Dukane Adds Student-response System

Jan 7, 2009 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes

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Dukane ConVA

Dukane Audio Visual recently launched the ConvVA Student Response system as part of its broad presentation structure with the goal to enhance the learning experience in the interactive classroom. Dukane—long known for classroom products such as overhead projectors, document cameras, and video projectors—has specialized in classroom AV products for more than 50 years. "Our past products were individual items, and it was a tough market in that they were relatively expensive with small profit margins," says John Mucci, general manager of the ConVA Systems Group at Dukane. "With the ConVA Control and Student Response systems, we provide a platform for classroom technology."

Mucci says that he spoke with Dukane's CEO and president of the AV division in 2003 about offering a control interface to ease the teacher's use of the myriad of equipment found in today's classroom—from DVD/VCR units to document cameras, projectors, and electronic whiteboards. "In short, Dukane entered the software world to develop the ConVA Control system," he says. "And the software-based package means that a teacher can click on an icon on the PC's desktop and it will take care of device control. There are also macros so that the teacher can click 'watch a DVD' and the rest is done by the control system."

The company also offers an administrator version for the control system that assists with maintenance and event scheduling via the network. Since its launch in 2005, the ConVA Control system has been installed in thousands of classrooms. Its success has also led to the introduction of the ConVA Student Response system. "We've added a polling system and married it with the control system," says Mucci, who also notes that Dukane manufactures the included RF devices itself.

Dukane's foray into the student response market segment comes at a time when more and more positive results are being shared in the education community. According to the results of a 2007 University of Wisconsin study of clicker use on its campuses, "Faculty agreed or strongly agreed that there was greater student engagement (94%), participation (87%), and interaction (68%) in class as a result of clicker use. Faculty reported that one of their main uses of clickers was to stimulate discussion, and most of them (82%) felt that clickers allowed them to do this. Faculty reported that clickers equalized the classroom, allowed everyone to have a voice."

The combination of the two software-driven products – control and student response – is part of Dukane's new concept of the connected classroom. According the company, the connected classroom allows teachers total access and control of the devices around them, as well as the ability to instantly assess their audience and gain immediate understanding of the effectiveness of their presentation.

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