Our hybrid learning solution is in Inavate magazine
We are pleased that our audiovisual solutions are also a worldwide success. One of our installations also attracted the attention of the world magazine InAVate, which asked us how we turned the classroom and auditorium of the university into a multifunctional room for hybrid learning.
InAVate Magazine is a worldwide print and digital magazine that is a basic source of information and ideas for specialists, system integrators and users of audiovisual technologies and news in professional environment.
Read the whole article below or click on the original version on InAVate´s web page. The article is also availabe in October´s issue of printed InAVate magazine.
Creating a hybrid learning space
The Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, Slovakia, is embracing hybrid learning in a way that revolutionises the education experience. Reece Webb finds out how the Faculty of Engineering can harness a futureproof learning experience.
The Faculty of Engineering at the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava, Slovakia has to be ready for an uncertain future where hybrid learning could become the norm.
Creating a hybrid learning space meant a complete overhaul of not just the way that students can be taught, but crucially, of the technology required to create a seamless experience that allows for flexibility and a coherent teaching experience.
The university had experimented with other systems and technologies in the past to create a hybrid learning experience without satisfactory results,
As a technical university with a focus on engineering, lecturers rely on drawing pictures and writing on whiteboards during classes. The university therefore needed a flexible system that provides clear learning materials for in-room and remote students through intelligible audio and crystal-clear visuals.
„We have received great feedback and we were happy to hear that the hybrid room’s system is used not only for teaching but also for the school board meetings, for discussions with the student council and more. This was not originally the intention but because the system works so well, the university has started using the space for these purposes.
Because of the new technologies, the university can set the room up in any configuration and they can use the room not only for remote learning but for video conferencing, council meetings and more, they have found more purposes for this space than just the original one.”
Enter MediaTech, an integrator with extensive experience in the education space, to design and install a system that will enable the faculty to teach students no matter where they are in the world.
Bohumil Tonkovic, CEO of MediaTech, explains: “In Slovakia there are no AV consultants in the country, so we worked as both the consultant and the integrator for this project.”
The faculty required a space that was both accessible remotely and also included an interactive element, enabling remote participation of students and the ability to draw on interactive monitors to display learning materials clearly to in-room and remote students.
Teachers and lecturers had to be able to interactively communicate with students while giving a presentation or speech and to maintain an enhanced level of interaction between teachers and students.
To meet this requirement, MediaTech designed a state-of-the-art hybrid learning space and auditorium, spaces which are primarily used for teaching mathematics, science and mechanical engineering. These subjects require lecturers to be able to display technical materials and problems visually, requiring a system that can not only display these materials clearly but also show the lecturer and the room in high quality.
For the hybrid room, the design centres on a sound-reinforced room equipped with an interactive monitor withdrawing features enabled. Projection, quality sound and a PTZ camera were essential for recording lectures and displaying content to remote participants.
Tonkovic clarifies: “There are Yamaha VXC5FW loudspeakers in the ceiling. We chose them because they have a low profile and a wide beaming angle. There are also Audio-Technica PRO45W hanging microphones providing intelligible audio pickup in the ceiling and a gooseneck microphone on the lecturer’s table as well as an ATW-1302 handheld microphone for students to ask questions.”
To ensure intelligible audio whether in-person or through a remote device, controlling the acoustics in the space to achieve a natural and coherent sound was a top priority for the MediaTech team. To achieve this end, MediaTech turned to Vicoustic, installing Cinema Round Premium acoustic flat panels at the back of the room. The white acoustic panels blend aesthetically into the space, providing additional clarity and limiting echo in the room.
Tonkovic: “We always try to include acoustic treatments, calculating how much we need for the room for it to sound natural. For the audio to work correctly, we also needed an automatic mixer of high quality with echo cancelling on all inputs [and] we used the Audio-Technica ATDM-0604.
The lecturer’s table features a Samsung Flip II display requested specifically by the university’s lecturers due to its pen, which works seamlessly on the display and can be displayed to the students via a ceiling mounted NEC P525UL projector and AV Stumpfl projection screen.
PTZ camera and videoconference
A ceiling mounted Samsung 65-in display is also provided, allowing the lecturer to see remote students through videoconferencing, a feature that was requested by the faculty’s teachers to directly engage with students face to face when using the in-room Atlona PTZ camera mounted on the ceiling. The camera features a number of pre-sets which can be accessed via remote control to achieve the lecturer’s desired angle quickly, with connection to the faculty’s videoconferencing suite to interface with remote students to allow for face-to-face engagement even with remote learners.
Tonkovic explains: “The microphones work through the automatic mixer and the camera features three pre-set positions for users to select from via remote control. The system works on one switch, and it is all set to go.”
Halls of learning
MediaTech also carried out a second phase to the installation, completing an additional installation on site to create four auditoriums for engineering students at the university.
The spaces use a YamahaYVC-330 speaker phone, supported visually by an Atlona AT-HDVS-CAM PTZ camera. For projection, the spaces rely on an NEC P525UL unit projected onto an AV Stumpfl BIM-SW300 motorised projection screen which can be discreetly raised out of sight when not in use.
Another first for the university was the installation of a Crestron AirMedia presentation and video conferencing system.
MediaTech completed the installation without any major challenges and, since opening the spaces to the university, have found the system to have exceeded the client’s expectations and expanded the spaces’ use cases.