As schools all over the nation reopen their doors this fall, technology departments are looking at how best to accommodate not a newer normal, but a healthier, more collaborative long-term normal.
Unlike last year where temporary measures were put in place to help combat the spread of COVID-19 while trying to sustain learning, this year is markedly different, because the reality is: There’s no going back to the old way of doing things. Schools now must be ready to accommodate fluctuating health concerns without disruption to learning. A safe return to the classroom goes beyond social distancing, masks, and cleaning policies and leverages the latest classroom solutions to further support health measures–as well as new levels of immersive learning.
The best technology for doing this isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, tech managers and IT staff must balance budget, infrastructure, and capabilities requirements. An affordable starting point for almost every classroom is a wireless presentation system (WPS). These systems improve upon the traditional HDMI video matrix systems, which require an expensive infrastructure upgrade and cables that must be shared and cleaned.
A wireless presentation system, also called a screen mirroring system, is a flexible, affordable, and future-proof collaborative solution. They allow teachers and students to share their device screen to any HDMI-enabled classroom display or projector screen from anywhere in the room wirelessly. This provides many benefits. They eliminate the need to upgrade wiring throughout the building, as well as the risk of cable sharing. So, in circumstances where schools are having to maintain strict social distancing measures, multiple students can share their work from their device right from their desk. Another advantage is that they work with the classroom’s pre-existing display or projector, making it possible to get years of use out of them before updating.
A quick look at the market will reveal a multitude of WPS solutions, but there are few considerations that tech and IT decision makers should bear in mind when selecting the best option. Here are some guidelines: Look for a WPS that is software- and app-free, operates independently of the school network, and can connect with a variety of devices and sources.
A solution that is software- and app-free is beneficial in several ways. First, tech staff won’t need to spend hours downloading and configuring every device. Second, software and apps not only require ongoing license fees but also are notorious for leaving loopholes for hackers. Schools have experienced an unprecedented number of cybersecurity attacks in the last two years and schools need to be informed about the very real risks of software downloads. Third, software- or app-based WPSs also take a lot of time for teachers to learn and to launch, removing the focus from instruction and robbing valuable classroom time. Likewise, a WPS that doesn’t require network access will eliminate the step for users having to log in to help protect the network from the common security vulnerabilities while also conserving network bandwidth.
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