Category AV in Education

May 29 Webinar on Healthcare Simulation in Higher Education

Join us on May 29 at 2 p.m. EST to hear experts discuss the benefits of healthcare simulation and how it prepares future healthcare professionals and improves patient outcomes.

The Center for Digital Education (CDE) hosts “Future-Ready Learning: How Technology and Simulation Are Transforming Healthcare Education.” This webinar will look at the ways that healthcare simulation solutions are being applied to give competitive advantage to the colleges, universities and teaching hospitals that adopt them.

Kecia Ray, senior fellow for the CDE, will moderate this event. She’ll be joined by an expert panel that will discuss:

  • What goes into a healthcare simulation center and how instructors are using the technology in their teaching
  • Barriers to healthcare simulation technology adoption and ways to overcome them
  • How the University of Miami is using its healthcare simulation center to prepare students for the workforce

Speakers include:

  • Jim Angelillo, VP of AVI-SPL’s Advanced Visualization Group
  • Paul Metcalf, Ph.D., development director, School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Miami
  • Amar Patel, Doctor of Health and Chief Learning Officer, CAE Healthcare

Register for “Future-Ready Learning: How Technology and Simulation Are Transforming Healthcare Education” >

Making AV Tech ADA Compliant in Higher Education

Jay Bosch, a director of business development for AVI-SPL, contributes with this post on ensuring ADA compliance in higher education.

Starting an “All Students” approach to ensure ADA compliance in your classroom

Students come to class with a desire to learn. However, sometimes there are challenges that need to be overcome in order for every student to have an equal opportunity to learn.  Employing an “all students” approach to the classroom allows every student to engage with instructors live or via remote means.  Also, classroom design is rapidly changing, and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance should be considered in all classroom formats. 

As learning environments become more interactive, ADA compliance can provide its own challenges.  Working with a professional audio/visual integration company can ensure your classrooms incorporate every students’ needs.  The education landscape and related technology evolves quickly.  It is important to build flexibility in your investment which includes the latest classroom designs and methods including distance learning, e-learning, hands-on learning, simulation and others. 

Considerations:

  • Competition to maintain and grow student population will increase as on-line offerings become more prevalent. This includes all students.
  • As the general population — including people with disabilities — relies increasingly on mobile devices, teaching will follow this migration and leverage it to better engage “smartphone-centric” students.
  • The pressure to stretch education dollars will likely drive the growth of e-learning, distance education, and any other pedagogical method that is more efficient and cost-effective than traditional classroom-based learning.
  • As all of these advances occur, ADA standards will adapt and expand to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind.
  • All new buildings and remodels should be designed with ADA compliance as a given, similar to all public restrooms with a wheelchair stall.

What is ADA compliance?

First enacted in 1990 and amended/updated in 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act is aimed at preventing discrimination against people with mental or physical disabilities. The titles of the ADA that apply to schools are administered by the Department of Justice (DoJ). The DoJ provides informational, regulatory, and enforcement support for the ADA’s requirements.  For the AV industry, the critically important document is the 2010 “ADA Standards for Accessible Design.”  (The ADA sections cited in this Legrand eBook are drawn from that document.) Assembly halls, conference rooms, classrooms, learning spaces, and lecture halls all fall within the ADA’s compliance standards.

Seven commonly recognized components of ADA compliance

  • Policy: Create a policy for electronic and information technology (EIT) accessibility
  • Designate an accessibility coordinator: Appoint an accessibility coordinator
  • Purchasing: Include accessibility criteria in EIT purchases
  • Post your accessibility statement: Include a link to an accessibility statement and resources and provide a feedback mechanism
  • Conduct an audit: Complete a prioritized audit of EIT
  • Fix any issues: Remediate inaccessible EIT
  • Training: Provide role-based training for faculty, staff, and administrators

Next Steps: Capital Requests

  • Logging which ADA standard(s) each requested piece of AV equipment complies with will also form the basis of a searchable ADA compliance database.
  • Having ADA compliance information included in a capital request helps AV designers in assessing whether the overall AV system meets the needs of people with disabilities, in all aspects.
  • Thorough documentation of ADA-compliant AV equipment will be needed in budget meetings, requests for proposals, inquiries and ADA audits.

Five things to consider for lifecycle planning with ADA-compliant equipment

  1. Recording ADA compliance information upfront will streamline any ADA audits that may occur. The necessary data will be a few keystrokes away, saving you time in compiling this information after the fact.
  2. Have ADA compliancy information available during equipment upgrades and replacements, and ensure your purchases are earmarked to be ADA-compliant.
  3. Should new product categories become subject to ADA compliancy standards, a quick search of your database will indicate non-compliant equipment. This data will help you plan for future ADA-compliant purchases and ensure you meet any deadlines set by the Department of Justice.
  4. Document and log compliant equipment with a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) process.  A VPAT is a vendor-generated statement that provides information on how a product or service conforms to the Section 508 Accessibility Standards for Electronic and Information Technology in a consistent fashion and format.
  5. A word to the wise: Be sure to check with your regional ADA Center to see which specific VPAT applies to your project.

ADA and AV

Many ADA requirements apply to the AV industry. The ADA’s requirements are meant to allow people with disabilities to access and use AV equipment in business and educational settings as easily as people without disabilities. ADA requirements apply whether or not a school receives federal funding. (Schools that receive federal funding also have to comply with another federal law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.)

For example, teachers in wheelchairs should have access to lecterns set at usable heights, and with sufficient surrounding space for them to maneuver into and out of.  Any AV controls and equipment associated with the lectern should be just as easy for them to access and use.

Fusion Fixed MountAs the term suggests, “ADA compliance” applies to the sum of the combined systems—not just its individual components—and the ways in which it is installed/operated complies with the ADA’s requirements. For example, under ADA rules that govern “Protruding Objects” (ADA Sections 204 and 307), a wall-mounted flat panel display cannot protrude more than four inches from that wall. There’s a good reason for this: An object protruding more than four inches could be a serious obstacle for wheelchair users and people with visual disabilities. While a two-inch-deep mount and 2.25-inch-deep display are ADA compliant on their own, when mounted together, they exceed the depth limit.

AVI-SPL is dedicated to making sure all students have an opportunity to learn, no matter if they are traditional, non-traditional or special needs.  AVI-SPL partners with nationally recognized names such as Chief, Da-Lite, Middle Atlantic, Sennheiser, Spectrum, and Vaddio, who all share our dedication to ADA compliance who provide excellent solutions for visual, auditory and mobility impairment.  Solutions include: wall mounts, swing mounts, height adjustable display mounts, electric height adjust carts, height-adjustable lecterns and desks, ultra low-profile credenzas, screens, speakers and microphones.  See the “Making AV Technology ADA Compliant” document for more information.

Learning Solutions for Hearing-Impaired Students

The following is a guest post from Sennheiser, an AVI-SPL partner that specializes in audio solutions, including those designed for business and education applications.

In order to promote integration at universities and other educational institutions, ever better technical solutions are being developed that enable all students to have barrier-free access to research and teaching. Inclusion means that no one is excluded; inclusion technology means, for example, that there are no separate places for hearing-impaired students in lecture halls and that everyone can sit wherever they want. Of course, the prerequisite for this is that the hearing quality is the same in all places.

Learning requires listening. In the course of the global digital transformation, the digitization of AV devices affects universities in particular, because they need the best tools for exchanging thoughts and words. Students are best supported in their personal development by creating ideal conditions for the exchange of knowledge and ideas in lectures and discussions.

Audio barriers can be costly for universities in the context of growing societal demand for true integration. Audio streaming on top quality intelligent devices perfects the integration of hearing-impaired students.

In order to make inclusion at universities possible, Sennheiser has developed MobileConnect: Sennheiser MobileConnect transmits audio content via WiFi live and in top quality directly to any smartphone. Using the free MobileConnect app, you can intuitively adjust the sound properties.

Personalized accessibility for students
MobileConnect is Sennheiser’s WiFi-based system for barrier-free hearing. It is optimized for use at universities, where it best meets students’ wishes for state-of-the-art and easy-to-use audio technology.

The system for assistive listening
MobileConnect streams audio content via WiFi live and in excellent quality directly to your smartphone. The audio signal is forwarded to the headphones, hearing aid or cochlear implant.

Personal hearing assistant
The Personal Hearing Assistant developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT makes it easy to adapt the audio signal to individual hearing needs. This intuitive touchscreen control provides hearing aids for the hearing impaired and improves speech intelligibility and sound quality.

How it works
With MobileConnect, the innovative assistive listening system, lectures are transmitted to mobile devices and smartphones via WiFi in real time and in high quality. To access a livestream, students simply download and install the free MobileConnect app (available for iOS and Android) and use their own device to connect to their university’s WiFi network.

Fast amortisation – bring your own device
Students use their own smartphones, so no additional hardware is required. MobileConnect requires no maintenance or operating costs, resulting in lower total cost of ownership and a faster return on investment. This eliminates the need for device handling, headphone hygiene or battery management.

Quick setup, easy operation
MobileConnect integrates easily with any existing audio infrastructure and can be installed within a day. The ConnectStation is simply connected to the existing audio system and WiFi and the app is then launched. The entire system is easy to maintain and quickly configured via the Admin Web Interface.

In order to further develop innovative streaming solutions, audio specialist Sennheiser has founded Sennheiser Streaming Technology GmbH (SST) as a competence centre for innovative streaming solutions.

Sennheiser Streaming Technologies combines the 70-year audio expertise of the German family-owned company with future-oriented developments in the field of streaming. The Hamburg-based subsidiary will initially focus on low-latency audio streaming to mobile devices (MobileConnect).

Shaping the future of audio and creating unique sound experiences for customers – this aim unites Sennheiser employees and partners worldwide. Founded in 1945, Sennheiser is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of headphones, microphones and wireless transmission systems. With 21 sales subsidiaries and long-established trading partners, the company is active in more than 50 countries and operates its own production facilities in Germany, Ireland, Romania and the USA. Since 2013, Sennheiser has been managed by Daniel Sennheiser and Dr. Andreas Sennheiser, the third generation of the family to run the company.