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Has 4K now found a new home in education?

Author: Ben Moors, Project sales manager Benelux, Visual solutions

Technology within the education sector is constantly innovating. The widespread use of mobile devices which support the rise of ‘blended learning’ means there are more opportunities for innovating inside the traditional education model.

As institutions realise the importance of state of the art technology in attracting students and while students begin to expect greater value for money from their university experience, higher education in the UK is a growing and profitable market. Panasonic has focused much of its technological development in meeting the needs of HE and, in particular, has been one of the front-runners in the move towards the so called ‘flipped classroom’.

So what is the technology that is now driving innovation in our universities?

Panasonic was the first manufacturer to bring 20,000 hour maintenance free projectors to market. The switch to laser has been led by Higher Education, keen to achieve greater levels of reliability and consistency of brightness.

One trend that is gathering pace is including the extra flexibility of 4K in to the tech mix. Obviously this means that institutions have the ability to play content at higher resolution, but because Panasonic 4K projectors (PT-RQ22K, PT-RQ13K) have four separate Full HD inputs it is now possible to display four large HD images on to a single projection screen. This allows video, text, camera and presentation content to be displayed simultaneously, for instance.

It’s a system that’s now in place at The Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), in the Netherlands.

Space has been a growing problem for the University, brought about by tremendous student growth, between 2005 and 2015, student numbers rose from just over 12,000 to around 25,000 students.

Instead of making classrooms and lecture-halls larger, instead TU-Delft appointed various innovation teams that have mapped out requirements and possibilities. The University has become a trendsetter in converting AV technology from a supportive aid into a strategically significant asset.

It uses audio-visual technology in combination with ICT as a strategic tool to achieve engagement, experience, sustainability and sound financial control. The university set up physical and online learning environments and equipped more than 300 lecture-halls and classrooms with Panasonic laser projectors.

Thanks to the high quality of the 4K projectors it is easy to enhance content with illustrations, graphs or photos, as a result the learning materials are clearer and easier to comprehend. To optimise the digital learning environment, partial or quadrant projection has been introduced, so that teaching staff can now project four separate sources at the same time using the 4K projectors. Course presentations can be organized in such a way that different applications run simultaneously and independently in the four different quadrants of the projection screen.

This new level of engagement during classes produces an increase in student understanding, resulting in better learning outcomes. The education sector is always on the move and constantly calling for innovation.

The TU Delft is leading the way for growth and internationalisation, using AV technology as a strategic part of the infrastructure, playing a role not only in knowledge transfer but also in the students’ engagement and experience during classes and lectures.

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