Upgrading Classrooms

I need some help if possible.  

My school is very much behind the times, so we are in need of upgrading.

Our president wants specifically to have wireless connections (literally no wires needed to connect a laptop to the system), a very simple way to record high-quality video and audio in the classrooms, and the ability to broadcast class sessions online in real time.

Can anyone give me some suggestions on this?
aclaus225Asked:
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serialbandConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you're thinking cheap, you're doing it wrong.  You'll have a boondoggle and will need to replace it almost immediately.  Cheap for you should already be Midsized, if you want it done right.

Is that 40 computers/connections total or per classroom?  Either way, you'd want more than 2 WiFi access points, or at least 2 per classroom at a minimum.  Eventually, you may need more.  They would also need to be properly placed, so they need ethernet cables pulled to the correct locations.  I would consider adding some extra ethernet ports and cables as well to get faster network for the instructor's system and the mounted IP camera.  You may as well pull all the extra cables you can just to have them available for future expansion when you realize that WiFi isn't completely adequate for all situations.  Depending on how it's done, the extra cable bundles won't cost much more than the few that you have to pull anyway.  The cost is mainly in the labor and the cabling is a minor portion of the cost of pulling cable.

The simplest way to record video in a classroom is a handycam on a Tripod.  It's cheap and portable and mobile, but requires someone to fiddle with it to put it in place and start the recording.  More expensive will be to have a permanent mount with Microphones throughout the room.  Skype type cameras are wholly inadequate for a classroom situation.  They're not easily directed towards the adjust or placed.  With a handcam, you have different tripod options and mounts.

Technology done right is not cheap.  What do you consider cheap?  Home WiFi network devices are completely inadequate for this, so that's dirt cheap and won't work for a school.  You really only have midsized and Cadillac options in your situation.  Cheap will actually cost you much more in the long term, as you'll have to redo it.
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nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
i know most people dislike cables, but they are one of the few options that Always work
certainly for printing, wifi is a bad idea
just my opinion though
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aclaus225Author Commented:
I think I may just put a dedicated computer in each classroom that is hardwired and require the professors to either save their information on the network or bring in USB sticks.
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nobusCommented:
that seems more solid to me
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aclaus225Author Commented:
Any ideas on recording lectures and streaming them automatically?
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nobusCommented:
sotty i cannot help with that part - ask a mod to add topics to your Q or more experts
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Aaron TomoskyConnect With a Mentor SD-WAN SimplifiedCommented:
I see a lot of schools running google classroom on chromebooks, and some with win10. With some solid WAPs (meraki, aruba, ruckus, xirrus) it works well. Many of the higher grades use smartboards (smarttech.com) for live whiteboard note capture and other cool stuff. Smart also has some classroom software, not sure if it records lectures.
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MidnightOneCommented:
Are the teachers expected to take questions from those watching the broadcast session?
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aclaus225Author Commented:
I think eventually it should be interactive to the point of questions being able to be asked remotely on the class sessions.

We won't use Chrome books, though, so that should lessen costs. I will check out smarttech.com.
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aburrConnect With a Mentor Commented:
"a very simple way to record high-quality video and audio in the classrooms"
there is no very simple way to do what you want.
cheap and acceptable, perhaps.
Now many class rooms do you want at one time on the internet?  Bandwidth may be a problem.
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What is your budget?   The government want to get to Mars on 10 million dollars, but it is not going to happen.
If this is a major project (as distinct from a strong wish) it would probably be worth hiring a real expert if one is available.
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aclaus225Author Commented:
There are four classrooms.  The classrooms have the bandwidth to accomplish this, I am sure.  The connection that these would exist on have a total of 40 other desktop/laptop computers on it.  Students exist on a separate connection.  

It is a non-profit institution that does not have a line-item for this project, so my problem currently is figuring out what money needs to be raised to accomplish the project.  One company that I have contacted will only come on-site to discuss what I need once I have the money in place.  However, they won't even tell me what they plan on putting in my classrooms and I need an actual quote from a company to go back to the president and say "this is how much it will cost per classroom".  Therefore, it has involved me, more, trying to figure out what I should be looking at to even know what direction I should go.
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speed_54Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Rather than interactive whiteboards, I've seen interactive projectors used in classrooms. Theses are networkable, so anyone who has network access can interact in the classroom.
See: https://epson.com/For-Work/Projectors/Interactive/BrightLink-696Ui-Full-HD-3LCD-Ultra-Short-throw-Interactive-Display/p/V11H728022

Have you thought also about using a site like www.gotomeeting.com and using the web cameras option?
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aclaus225Author Commented:
GoToMeeting would be good, but I don't know how that would work on an ongoing basis.  

Panopto is a software that I looked at and it offered the ability, I believe, to schedule the class sessions to automatically record, but it is $11,000 a year, something that I don't anticipate the school budgeting for every year.
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aburrConnect With a Mentor Commented:
It would help to have a committee decide what you really want to do (The committee might be just the president) It is one thing to enable somebody to remotely look in on a class in session, a different thing to teach a class remotely, and yet another to have a class on demand. To record the daily output of four classrooms for a year will take a lot of memory, but I am sure a cloud company would do it for a price. (Estimate a year’s worth of video and audio and ask for a quote.
I expect that high quality video and audio will be too expensive in terms of equipment and preparation time. Try a cheap alternative. Get a wide angle skype type camera and a microphone and put it in a classroom corner and feed it to a computer. Try it out.
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aclaus225Author Commented:
aburr,

Thank you for the insights.  


When I have approached the president he sums it up with car models: cheapest way to do it, midsized, and Cadillac.  I am just glad that there are people out there like you that give me questions to ponder or ask others about to get a better idea of what we are even trying to do.  The problem is, I have no idea what the Cadillac would be and what the cheapest would be either.  I would almost assume that the cheapest would be to just record the lectures without any interactivity, and the Cadillac would be something close to full integration where the classroom could be completely interactive and it would be a remote presentation to another location also.
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aclaus225Author Commented:
I am coming from a point where I need to determine costs. When I say "cheap" I am not talking cheap equipment, but rather just what meets the requirement from the president as outlined above, whereas "Cadillac" would mean something that accomplishes that goal but also goes way above and anticipates what the future could bring (in the above example that would mean running additional cables anticipating future need, whereas cheap would mean just running the necessary cables right now.)

There are a total of forty computers that utilize the network presently that the teachers are using, which includes their current equipment. There is already wireless in the classrooms for students.
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serialbandConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You're still approaching it a bit incorrectly.  What are your goals?  What do you wish to accomplish?  What is your budget?  Is this High School, Junior High/Middle School, or lower grades?  What programs are you planning to integrate?  Are you planning to train your educators on using the tech appropriately?  Will you have someone that can manage the tech?  Is this just one school?  Is this a district?

If the 40 computers are existing, how are they connected to the internet currently?  Are they laptops or desktops?  Why do you need them to be wireless?

It sounds like your president has no idea what he wants except that he wants tech.  That's quite broad and indeterminate.  You need to answer the above questions first.  Schools that have no direction or plan, other than that they want computers will fail.  There's a lot of training that needs to be done with the teachers.  You probably also need some younger teachers that understand tech better.  You also need buy in from the teachers.  It doesn't work if you buy all this equipment and there's nobody with the expertise to use them for education.
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aclaus225Author Commented:
This is a seminary, so this is Masters-level education. The broad statement that I delivered at the beginning is the only direction that I have on this project. I am a one-man IT department, so there is no one else. I am not entirely sure that we are trying to integrate any kind of software as much as just making it easier for the professors to teach their classes without worrying about if their computer is going to show the content that they want it to.
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serialbandCommented:
Why WiFi?  How are they currently connected to the internet?
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aclaus225Author Commented:
I will negate the internet question by just placing desktops in the classrooms that will allow the professors to utilize one machine that will always be connected.  As far as younger teachers to usher in the technology, the youngest professor here is 45 with the oldest being 67.  They don't utilize any sort of software interactivity in the classrooms, so the projectors in the room are used to display pdfs, documents, and Biblical texts.
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aburrConnect With a Mentor Commented:
are you familiar with "Clickers"? These are devices which allow a class of students to individually answer questions put to the class and tallies the result. It makes it much easier to expand on the lecture mode of teaching which is being deprecated now.
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aclaus225Author Commented:
Wow, that seems very helpful.
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aburrConnect With a Mentor Commented:
clickers
a link

iClicker: Student Response Systems & Classroom Engagement Tools
https://www.iclicker.com/
iClicker is the market-leader in student and audience response systems for Higher Education, recognized for ease-of-use, reliability, and focus on pedagogy.
‎For Students · ‎Pricing · ‎For Instructors · ‎Register a Remote

another link
Classroom Response Systems (“Clickers”) | Center for Teaching ...
https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/clickers/
Welcome to the Center for Teaching’s introduction to teaching with classroom response systems (“clickers”). On this page you’ll find strategies for using clickers in your teaching, as well as logistical information on using clickers with your courses at Vanderbilt.
‎What is a CRS? · ‎Teaching with a CRS · ‎Challenges in Using a CRS
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aclaus225Author Commented:
Alright, clickers may be something that we should look at.  Thanks for the suggestion.
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aburrCommented:
the experts had lots of suggestion considering the info they had
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