Academic Technology Wish List (and Anti-wish List)

So I sent out a request to the Educause Instructional Technology listserv asking for their one or two most desired (or valued) classroom technologies. The feedback was considerable and also pretty unanimous. I’ll try to summarize the responses below:


The #1, undisputed champion on the most desired classroom technology list is for simplistic (“one button”) network friendly device/platform agnostic screen sharing that can be used by instructors and students. This led to a discussion about other ways people have attacked the problem. We know there are lots of hardware/network issues around screen sharing (some success stories with AirServer, AppleTV, Solstice, etc.), but a few people suggested what I’ll call “software” solutions. Deb Hoyt and Chaz Barbour resolved some of their issues using Echo360 ALP. Steve Covello offered and as solutions for real time sharing and note taking alongside a video stream. I think approaching this from the software side of things makes a lot of sense (at least for now). I can share a link to Collaborate Ultra and everyone in class can immediately share their screen (and can chat, share files and whiteboard) from any laptop (tablet sharing coming soon). Until now, I think I’ve vastly underestimated how the functionality that Ultra, and the plethora of other virtual meeting tools most of us have access to, can easily address many of the screen sharing issues in our classrooms. I will definitely be testing this out more with our faculty. Win!

Though a distant second there was considerable talk about replacing projectors with large (multi-touch) displays. A variety of questions came up around this topic as well. Is the display large enough for people in the back of the space to see it? Are multiple displays needed? Does the display(s) compete with valued real estate (whiteboard space). This was clear: don’t cover up whiteboard space with a monitor! As display prices continue to fall, we’ll be seeing more of them replacing projectors; especially in smaller classrooms. Monitors on the sides of the room with whiteboard in the middle or monitors/whiteboards that can slide back and forth seemed favorable. Ron Balko suggested roll-up OLED screens in place of projectors & reflective screens. Won’t be long!

A few comments on BYOD: No clear consensus here yet. More people for BYOD than against though.

Other wish list items:

  • Better control over lighting in rooms
  • One-button lecture capture ( may work for you)
  • Mobile and multi-configurable tables and chairs
  • Flexible and collaborative work-spaces for students and instructors
  • Multi-touch video wall that can replace a whiteboard
  • AVB Support by Cisco
  • A great looking and functioning doc cam that does not cost 2k+
  • All device interconnects being cat6 would be so awesome.
  • CEC to be a real standard
  • Apple to license airplay!

Brent Saltzman provided several wish list items:

Things he currently loves:

  • Liberty AV’s HDMI adapter ring
  • Extron IN1606 Switcher
  • Extron DTP products
  • Extron XPA 1002/2001 Audio Amplifiers
  • Extron FF220T Ceiling Speakers
  • Extron Cable Cubby
  • TechFlex F6 Split Braided Tubing
  • Biamp Tesira
  • Spectrum Furniture’s Instructor Media Workstation

And things for his Anti-wish list (thanks Mike Cunningham for suggesting this)… Things to go away:

  • Smartboards, Sympodiums, and anything made by SMART Technologies.
  • Clickers (actual physical audience response hardware)
  • Mini DisplayPort and Mini/Micro HDMI adapters
  • VHS decks
  • HDCP and EDID
  • Java
  • Apple TV’s

Others’ Anti-wish list suggestions:

  • Computers running outdated operating systems
  • Overhead projectors
  • VHS players
  • VGA connectors

Hopefully you found this summary helpful. Will be interesting to revisit in a year or so. Thanks for all the great input!


Photos from flickr courtesy of Alan Levine and VWCC Media Geeks

1 thought on “Academic Technology Wish List (and Anti-wish List)”

  1. Thanks so much for this summary! I was busily copy/pasting comments from the thread into my own Google Doc.

    That said, why the emphasis on multi-touch interactive displays? What is the advantage over single-touch displays? How is having multiple students interacting with the display simultaneously so much better than one student? Or, am I missing something obvious? Cheers!

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