What Schools Need to Know about Buying and Implementing Audio-Visual Systems
It’s September, and another school year has started around the United States. In new school settings, students tend to focus on audio-visual equipment in classrooms and hallways. Because students are exposed to so much more media today through different devices than even just five years ago, it’s understandable that they want to be engaged visually and aurally.
So how can schools best meet that A/V need? The growing use of digital audio-visual solutions in the classroom has become a much-focused topic by teachers and administrators alike, as it combines aspects of both education and budget. Most parents and educators believe that using integrated A/V systems to bring about educational awareness should be at the top of the criteria list when proposing what new A/V equipment to bring into the school.
Other criteria besides educational awareness matters as well, to ensure that the school audio-visual systems bought today will last well into the future. Here are a few areas for schools to consider.
What types of A/V equipment are needed?
Understand what systems elements are crucial to the learning focus desired by the school, and develop a list of audio-visual items into three categories – Must have, Should have and Nice to have. Talk to other teachers at other schools and find out what A/V systems work best for various grade levels. You can use online resources to better specify your A/V needs and use it to obtain quotes from audio-visual systems suppliers for budget purposes. You may also seek advice from a local consultant to understand general A/V requirements needed for elementary, middle or junior high schools.
Which A/V equipment formats are best?
Compatibility of equipment throughout a school district is a key consideration for purchasing audio-visual equipment. Schools should strive to buy the same A/V equipment and formats from the same reseller or integrated systems supplier, so that all of the equipment is standardized for easy training and sharing among staff. Your school’s buying power also gets extended by buying systems and training services in large quantities from the same audio-visual systems company.
Additionally, it’s important to buy equipment that matches and complements both the audio-visual and technology needs of the school. Computers, interactive whiteboards, projectors and more might be linked through integrated systems software run by servers, so it’s important that this aspect is coordinated in schools’ research.
What Level of Quality is Desired?
Schools have tight budgets, but they also have higher A/V needs than can be found at the local retail outlet down the street. If you skimp on quality, then your students may suffer when systems malfunction or shut down completely. It’s best to work with a reputable audio-visual systems installer to understand the pricing and quality of models best needed by the school or the school district.
Can You Afford Replacements?
How will your equipment be repaired in the case of potential breakdown? Will the cost be covered by the installing company or the manufacturer? Is there a preventive maintenance agreement the school can purchase? As equipment gets used frequently and perhaps even moved from room to room, a certain wear and tear will take place. School administrators should be aware of this possibility of mechanical failure and need for replacements when they are seeking budget funding for the initial purchase.
When business owners looking to invest in their company’s future seek to buy integrated audio-visual systems, it’s a purchase that comes with products, service and staff training. Schools looking to invest in their student’s future should work with the same criteria. Digital components and connectivity with computers, tablets, and more are becoming more the norm than the exception, and schools should be prepared to make the case for and be willing to pay for state-of-the-art digital A/V systems. To provide for the next ten years of classroom focus, make the buying decision for integrated A/V systems the best one.