South Ridge School in Culver, Minnesota, which opened its doors in September, 2011, is an ultramodern educational institution that uses such cutting-edge technologies as interactive whiteboards, school-wide Wi-Fi, iPads, and advanced emergency visual notification systems. In keeping with this high-tech approach, the school installed Extron WallVault Systems to handle classroom AV.
Ease of use and the quality of sound have been the real benefits to teachers
- Kristi Berlin
South Ridge Principal
According to South Ridge Principal Kristi Berlin, the standard classroom AV set-up of other schools in the district had previously consisted of overhead projectors and mobile video projectors with cords running across the classroom floors. Audio was provided through inexpensive computer speakers. The status quo changed significantly with the installation of Extron WallVault and VoiceLift systems.
With WallVault systems, says Berlin, “Ease of use and the quality of sound have been the real benefits to teachers and students.” She adds, “Teachers are more comfortable with the controls and are using the technology on a more regular basis.” Berlin credits Edina, MN based integrator Alpha Video for introducing her to the Extron system and its capabilities.
South Ridge School has 40 classrooms equipped with Extron WallVault systems. There are 110 additional systems at other locations in the district. South Ridge also included the Extron VoiceLift microphone system that allows the teacher’s voice to be heard evenly throughout the classroom.
Teacher Confidence – “A Simple Touch of a Button”
Berlin reports that South Ridge teachers are now more confident when using AV technology in their classrooms. “They don’t have to worry about hooking it up or changing settings. It is a simple touch of a button.” Teachers are also introducing more real-life examples into their teaching, which, Berlin states, is “more exciting for students because it ties together the information in the class content with stories and content they see outside of school. Teachers are taking their students
on field trips right on their computers.”
A Standardized System
Each of South Ridge’s WallVault system equipped classrooms has a computer, document camera, ultra short-throw projector, and VGA and HDMI connections for additional items such as the Apple TVs that teachers are using with their iPads. The intuitive controller has made it seamless for district and building personnel to move from room to room and manage the equipment. Berlin states, “The Extron system
has allowed for a uniform system that staff across the district can use without significant training, yet have access to the full functionality of the system.”
Network Features with Extron’s GlobalViewer Software
South Ridge connected the Extron classroom systems to the school’s IP network, giving the technology department remote access to the systems. In the near future Berlin hopes to implement the additional security, lamp hour tracking, and energy efficiency capabilities of Extron’s GlobalViewer software. “Troubleshooting over the network will make the most of our limited support staff,” she says.
“Very Happy With Our Choice”
When asked for a final comment, Berlin says she is pleased with the Extron WallVault system. “It is easy for the teachers, and we have seen improvements in students’ ability to stay focused due to the fact they are hearing better with the VoiceLift system,” she says. “We are very happy with our choice of Extron.”