District Administration - February 2012 - (Page 23)
Vice President, AMX, Education Sales
The Case for Integrated AV
Michael Peveler has been vice president of education sales for AMX for five years. An education major in college at Texas Tech University, he taught for eight years. He has been exposed to the industry and the transition toward a networking type technology over the course of the 13 years that he has worked for AMX. At the same time, he is receiving an Executive MBA in International Business at the University of Texas at Dallas. Because of both his educational focus and his role at AMX, Peveler has been able to visit various countries around the world and work directly with those people who are putting technology into schools.
Peveler: Right now, there are no standards across AV. So unlike IT where they have established communication standards, AV doesn’t have a lot of standards. And when you look at building standards for AV, the challenge is that there’s an integration piece to it. So if you are going to do a sophisticated AV like a Fortune 500 boardroom or 200-person Higher Education lecture hall, there’s most likely going to have to be some level of customized programming. This creates a second problem—that you have a financial difference in K12 schools. You have some schools that are dependent on the federal government to provide AV funding for them. As a result, it’s the old rule of the cheapest bid wins. Quite often, the cheap equipment isn’t equipment than can truly be integrated. You end up with a product that may not have a high performance level. We see a lot of equipment out in the field that is made very cheaply to keep the costs down because of the “low bid wins” mentality that has existed in education for so long. The other side of that paradigm is when you have schools that do have money—whether it’s through bonds, or funds, or funding—and they end up being able to go for more sophisticated systems. Those systems tend to require customized programming to really separate themwww.DistrictAdministration.com
Why would overall AV standards be important to K12 school districts?
selves, and typically the coding can cost as much as the hardware and software.
Technology alone cannot impact student achievement. How can an integrated AV system really make a difference?
Peveler: I talk to people a lot about how long they can talk to their kids before the kids quit paying attention to them. I’ve got an 11-year-old and a 14-year-old, and it doesn’t take very long before they drift off into their own social world. The same thing is true in the classroom. When a teacher is struggling to use the technology like it needs to be used, the kids drift off. If the teacher is having to find a remote control because it wandered off, or the batteries don’t work, or the projector doesn’t work because nobody knew that the bulb was about to burn out, or whatever the case is, then that downtime costs student retention. That’s the real value of having controlled technology that’s truly automated in a classroom environment. Ultimately, the faster the teacher can move from one technology to another while keeping the students engaged, the more effective the learning environment.
With the need for school districts to economize as much as possible, energy efficiency has become key. How compatible are energy efficiency and an integrated AV system?
Peveler: Most school districts have energy policies designed to minimize the
use of devices. I’ve heard everything from pulling cappuccino and coffee machines out of teachers’ classrooms to rainwater collection. Four of the areas that cost a lot of money in schools are lighting, HVAC, projectors and computers. With an integrated system, if you go in and combine multiple systems, there isn’t one that will do all of these by itself without significant investment. But having a system like ours does allow a centralized management of all of those because we are able to communicate over the network using a centralized controller with present code and interfaces. For instance, if I have three people in the district responsible for all of the AV in 36 schools—which seems like an unrealistic ratio, but it’s not unheard of—it can be very hard. Having a system that’s truly taking advantage of the network infrastructure not only gets information to teachers but allows us to manage and monitor the activity so we can see if teachers are using the technology that’s in place, if they know how to use it effectively and if it’s being turned on and off like it’s supposed to be. Digital signage is another example. If you can just go online and see the statuses of all the devices and remotely turn on the ones that need to be turned on, that’s a much more cost-effective and also time-effective method when most school districts are struggling to find ways to communicate to their students and
February 2012 23
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - February 2012
District Administration - February 2012
From the Editor
What Can U.S. Schools Learn From Foreign Counterparts?
A New Prescription for Fighting Drug Abuse
The Game Changer
The Legal Implications of Surveillance Cameras
Mobile Devices Drive Creative Instruction
District Administration - February 2012