Dusty libraries, bulletin boards and dingy lecture halls are going the way of the dinosaurs as digital display technologies become more and more prevalent in higher-education institutions.
More than 20 million students are expected to attend American colleges and universities in the fall of 2016—the vast majority of them having grown up using some sort of digital display in everyday life—which is why educators are adopting digital display technologies as teaching methods to meet the expectations of today’s student population.
Video walls in particular are popping up on campuses everywhere, where they’re being used as educational and entertainment tools to enhance the quality of the educational experience for students and faculty alike.
Here are four ways that video wall applications can best be used on college campuses:
1. To Keep the Learning Process Dynamic
Video walls transform the learning experience away from traditional lectures whereby students are expected to absorb hours of monotonous lectures and note-taking to one where students are more integrated into the learning process.
Interactive video walls:
- Encourage contact between faculty and students
- Help develop cooperation among students
- Encourage active learning
- Allow for prompt feedback
The takeaway is that video walls allow users to explore, expand and mark up content; play games; or access other information in a highly collaborative environment, which is how tomorrow’s workplace is expected to be structured.
2. For Use as a Recruiting Tool
Today’s college student is likely used to playing advanced video games, viewing high-resolution video and interacting with feature-rich smartphones. He or she also is aware that a college education can be extremely expensive depending on where he or she enrolls. So institutions with advanced technology infrastructures are likely to be more attractive.
Colleges and universities expect prospective students and their parents to be looking for advanced IT and display technology when they visit campus. Video walls deployed in key locations, delivering high-quality content tend to trigger the wow factor with individuals who may be on the fence as to where they’ll enroll.
For example, the University of California, Riverside built a cutting-edge student recreational facility that features digital signage to create a modern customer experience for today's always-plugged-in college students.
It features a 28-foot-by-17-foot video wall showing national and school sporting events, relevant information and signage, and up to 16 cable TV channels.
In addition, many LED display systems can be configured to recognize prospective students and their parents via a chip placed in visitor badges. Now imagine the impact a video wall would make in such a welcome.
3. As a Huge Revenue Generator
It’s no secret that top-tier college football and basketball programs generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year. One of the ways they do this is by constantly upping the ante when it comes to gigantic outdoor stadium displays and video walls in common areas and team locker rooms.
Video walls in sports locker rooms give players a chance to blow off steam by playing video games or to study opposing teams’ tactics by rolling life-sized video.
The same video wall displays are used to generate advertising revenue in stadiums that can hold upward of 100,000 spectators at some schools.
4. For Research
At North Carolina State University’s James B. Hunt Jr. Library, one of the most technologically advanced campus libraries in North America, video walls were installed throughout the facility to increase collaborative and interactive learning.
With its Game Lab, Art Wall and iPearl Immersion Theater, the library is often described by campus IT officials as a “technology sandbox” for the campus, because it supports rare and experimental technologies that can be shared among all of the university’s colleges.
For example, in North Carolina State University’s Game Lab, students play and study video games for new and classic systems on a 5-by-16 video wall array. The intention is to create an innovative hands-on learning environment that provides opportunities for students and faculty to collaborate on new gaming techniques and ideas.
As video wall technology improves and system costs come down, expect higher education to be fertile ground for developing engaging and novel ways to educate students in the years to come.