Date Archives January 2009

VariQuest in the Math Classroom

The math classroom is great place to use visuals and manipulative to enrich lesson plans. If your school has the VariQuest Poster Maker or Cutout Maker, utilize these visual learning tools to make math more interactive.

Start by using your Poster Maker to create formulas posters. The students can refer back to these static visuals in the classroom while they’re learning. By allowing them the opportunity to see these formulas over and over, they’ll have a better chance of remembering them! So, when you ask them what the volume of a cylinder is, they’ll eventually be able to rattle it off to you. An easy way to help them out is by starting each lesson with a quick review of the poster you’ve created.

Do you want to have a poster that is up year round with helpful tips? Why not create a poster with the rules for zero. Those rules can be tricky and if you’ve posted it, your students will always know whether or not zero is an even number! For younger students, they may need help distinguishing between greater than or less than. Give them a poster with a great visual to help them remember which is which!

Other great uses for the Poster Maker can be to create interactive posters. Enlarge a grid so you and your students can go back to the poster to plot points, lines and equations. By utilizing a poster, you can keep yesterday’s work up to refer back to so they can see the progression of their learning. In an elementary classroom, create a number line banner or word problem posters that they can work in during group sessions.

If your school has the Cutout Maker, take some time to review the library of shapes. Do a search by keyword, and enter “math”. There are tons of manipulatives for the math classroom. For example, try a quick math game with students by giving each student a set of cutout symbols. Ask them to show you the plus sign, equal sign and so on. Make it harder by asking that student to give you an example of an equation using that symbol, and have a second student give you the answer for bonus points!

You can also find money shapes in the cutout maker’s library. This is another great tool to have on hand for group work. Give the students word problems involving money and have them show you with the cutout money what the answer is. You could also start the lesson with a task like asking them to show you four different ways to give fifty cents for change. The money shapes are a great way to add some hands on learning to your lessons!

For older students, there are even three-dimensional shapes for geometry lessons! Have them put the shapes together and ask them what the shape is called, how many sides it has, what the angles’ degrees are, and so on. Give them rulers to measure the sides to start computing the volume.

Another trouble spot for geometry students is circles. Remembering the area and circumference of a circle may be tough. Why not give them some hands on practice by cutting out some circles for them to measure and solve. Add some string to the mix to help them understand the concept of circumference. They could actually loop the string around the cutout shape, then flatten it out to check their math. And speaking of pi, liven your room up by creating cutouts of pi’s value that spans the perimeter of the room!

Poster Samples

Perspectives : An Interview with Tom Corzine, VP of Government Sales, AVI-SPL

What is your experience at AVI-SPL with AV integrations in the government market?

I have been with AVI-SPL for over five years and have worked with all of our integration offices to develop a sales and marketing plan for their regions. My focus is on tracking the budgets and contracts for the government but command and control centers and conference rooms make up the bulk of the type of installations we perform in this market.

How long have you been working in this particular market?

I have worked in government market for 12 years. I have attended various AV and VTC technical courses throughout my time in the AV industry.

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?

My greatest achievement to date really is the sales channel we have created at AVI-SPL. No other AV integrator has the number of customers, installations and success stories we have created here. This is a very challenging industry and we are faced with some tough economic times ahead, but the system that we have created qualifies and executes business in a risk adverse manner.

What is the top concern from the government market when it comes to AV installations?

Ease of use is probably the biggest concern, especially in the Department of Defense, where there is a lot of personnel turnover. The ability to continuously train people as the technology is rapidly changing complicates the design of systems even further. Creating a system design that is flexible and expandable like we do here is really the key to the success of any AV project.

Are there any emerging technologies that you feel best equip this market’s needs?

I wouldn’t necessarily call these technologies emerging; however, they are existing technologies that I see growth in their demand. The use of fiber network backbones, blade computing and wireless technologies are in high demand based on the security, flexibility and efficiency they bring to a system. They have become more affordable over time and the cost factor is outweighed by the added benefits these technologies bring to the table.

What do you identify as the greatest challenges for AV systems integrators that focus on the government market?

Finding the personnel to dedicate to this market is the greatest challenge. The AV industry is challenging enough due to the technical nature of the sales and installations. The additional requirement to find people with experience in procurement and contracting really creates an environment where companies have to train and educate their own government sales force.

In light of the economic challenges AV integrators are facing, have you seen a change in the type of technology being requested?

Due to the annual budget planning requirements for government, the current economic hardships haven’t hit this market yet. With the first new administration in eight years preparing to take office, the future budget is a topic that we do track. We have seen government taking on a stronger role in several areas, especially within the financial markets, defense, Homeland Security and possibly with the automotive market.

How do you foresee the future of AV integration in the government sector changing?

AV technologies will become network centric solutions, and I foresee AV budgets for preventative maintenance, service and support growing into separate line items in government IT budgets. The government has invested heavily in technology over the past 10 years and in order to maintain this existing equipment, dedicated budgets will have to be created. We have seen many agencies hire AV managers to oversee this very task as their AV infrastructures have grown. This is good for everyone as the more attention given to the management of the AV resources the better chance the equipment and services will function more appropriately when used.