Primary school students sitting around a table looking at tablets

Audio-visual learning is often undervalued in the education sector. Largely, this is due to poor integration of audio-visual solutions or the unwillingness of established staff to implement new innovations. However, as we move into an age of digital learning, schools and other educational institutions must stay ahead of the technological curve.

One revealing statistic suggests that 42% of teachers believe their pupils know more about computing and technology than they do. This skills gap is a strong indication as to why teaching staff can be slow to accept current technological trends. Since audio-visual solutions are conducive to a stronger learning environment, a failure to embrace tech integration could have a negative impact.

Why Should Teachers Embrace Audio-Visual Solutions?

For education staff who have found success throughout their career with the same tried-and-tested methods, amendments to their learning strategies can seem counter-productive. The interactive whiteboard remains the only homage to smart-tech in many classrooms and the original blueprint for this is now over twenty years old. Of course, it’s easy to cling to one method of audio-visual learning if you aren’t aware of the benefits of more recent alternatives.

In today’s world, children as young as three are able to use the internet. No one is saying that nursery schools should upgrade their WiFi connection to facilitate this behaviour. But, the fact remains that young children are growing up in a society dominated by technology. To dismiss it completely leaves children at a serious disadvantage, whether they have access to it at home or not.

School curriculums that place no emphasis on learning to explore and understand audio-visual solutions fall short of children’s educational needs. Learning institutes are best placed to teach children the advantages and limitations of absorbing new tech. Studies show that the human mind processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text, making audio-visual solutions an incredible tool for both engagement and stimulation.

The Effect of Technology on Active Learning

As technology improves, so does our ability to consume and retain new information. On average, we hold on to around 65% of the information we process visually. In contrast, only 10-20% of what we read is retained. The disparity between these figures just goes to show how much more effective audio-visual solutions can be, especially in absorbent young minds.

Interactive multimedia systems such as Clevertouch and eBeam Edge enable students to consume information in the same way they would on their tablet or smartphone. The difference is that these portals are designed specifically for educational purposes. They are collaborative, engaging and optimised for integration into primary school ICT. Just as the interactive whiteboard became synonymous with frontline teaching, audio-visual solutions like Clevertouch will soon be the mainstay for educational facilities.

At its core, audio-visual learning boils down to three things: communication, accessibility and stimulation. Students need all these qualities in equal measure to learn effectively. With business and socialisation becoming increasingly digitalised, education needs to keep pace in order to provide the next generation with the required skills for employment. While children today will grow up as ‘digital natives, they still need guidance on how to use technology to their advantage.

Removing the Barriers to Audio-Visual Integration

Through the use of audio-visual solutions, teachers can achieve this goal. Unfortunately, individual resistance remains a barrier. Education staff who stay averse to technological change prevent the successful integration of audio-visual solutions into everyday learning. In order for this to change, appropriate training and demonstrations need to become habitual. Teachers who are given the time and resources to discover the advantages of AV for themselves will gain a stronger understanding of its necessity in the modern classroom.

In the long run, audio-visual solutions can improve learning opportunities for both students and teachers. Visual aids have the potential to streamline the introduction of new material and increase its accessibility to learners. In the next ten years, we are likely to see an even greater shift towards Edtech. Schools must be prepared to move with the times.

James Berger is CEO of Netcom 92 — an audio-visual solutions company from Essex. With over twenty years of experience in the industry, James has provided technical support for primary and secondary schools up and down the country, helping them to improve the audio-visual quality of their ICT facilities.