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AV and Multimedia Related Thread, Thinking hats on please! New build. in Technical; ...
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    Rick2134's Avatar
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    Thinking hats on please! New build.

    Hello all,
    We are having a new school build, finishing at the end of 2011. I have been given 100k to design a room in our old school. To give an idea to staff, students and other Schools/Academies what a teaching environment will be like in a new school build.
    A must factor for this room will be Interactive/ multi touch LCD TVís, 3D, interactive walls, wireless devices maybe a green room and such fourth.
    The room has to be moveable to our new building with changeable desks and chairs.

    Currently I am thinking along the lines of a virtual classroom environment i.e. 360 virtual room - so if youíre in a geography lesson you could enable to the class to be in Pompeii or whatever their learning about in that lesson. (Cross curricular)

    This will include multi touch screens with Win7 and 3D displays.

    Content/software is a problem for this project, can anyone point me in the right direction with contacts or any companies that would be interested.

    Any ideas would be much appreciated.

    Regards, Rich

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    Seriously, you are being given £100k for a room which will be gone in a year?!?!? We dont even get that in a year, or 2 for that matter!


    Have you watched the edinburgh uni video on youtube? Might be worth contacting them.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XypJSz1UDwk"]YouTube- New touch-screen system to rival Bond gadget[/ame]

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    Rick2134 (28th January 2010)

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    bossman's Avatar
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    @Rick2134:

    I was just reading an article in a brochure form a company called Roche who were advertising just what you are talking about, Multi touch screens etc etc but the only snag was they were askin £120,000 and this was just the basic mobile classroom.

    I fear that for your money you will not get as much as you were hoping for. Everything has it's price and I would hazard a cost of minimum £250,000 for a fully integrated 360 mobile classroom which would give the end user a wow factor.

    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    Seriously, you are being given £100k for a room which will be gone in a year?!?!?
    I too am amazed that you have been allocated £100k for something which will be used as a proof of concept and then got rid of when you move to the new school such a waste of valuable taxpayers money.

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    I'm actually in a very similar position to the OP.
    If i'm to understand, and put together with my brief, the purpose it to create a classroom of the future in the existing school, with technology which will then be decanted to the new school once built?
    This allows teachers and pupils to have a valuable imput in to what works for them, and learn any mistakes / make alterations before deploying en-masse in the new school.

    I do think that your plans need scaling down for 100k though.

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    superfletch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mb2k01 View Post
    I'm actually in a very similar position to the OP.
    Hello mate,

    Have you been asked to do something similar? PM or mail me if you prefer - I'd be interested to know what you're up to, not to offer advice particularly as I know you'll have extensive ideas and probably a pretty concrete vision about what you're planning, but if it helps I've got a strong link with the Capital Strategy team at the LA. Also just curious to know.

    @OP

    I'm sure there is a company near me (SW England) who've done some pretty cool stuff in this kind of area I'll see what they've been doing recently and post here again or PM you if they are doing anything relevant.

    £100k of Dosh - wowzers

    Have fun!!

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    @Superfletch,

    Not quite as grande as the OP and with no officially discussed budget, but yeah - we're looking to put together a couple of events in the near future. One quite ambitious and short-term, and the other a classroom of the future - similar to the above description but that teachers from all over the school can essentially "take turns" teaching in and give feedback / suggestions.

    I'll send you a long PM tomorrow so it doesn't all go on your journaled email system! Eyes are everywhere! Someone will steal my glory!

    I'd be interested in finding out about the company you mentioned in your post too!

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick2134 View Post
    I have been given 100k to design a room in our old school.
    Oddly, we've just been discussing this kind of thing over in another thread:

    LackRack: Ikea server racks for living room datacenters

    Okay, it started off with a discussion on using Ikea tables as rack mounts (which, you'll note, is the kind of level of funding most of us have to deal with...), but now we're thinking about how best to create an interactive display.

    I would be inclined to avoid tables with built-in LCD displays. They'll need to be plugged in on the floor to power and network connections, making for a less move-around-able classroom, and the general consensus seems to be that the classroom of the future will be "flexible" (actually, if done right, it should be possible to put power sockets in the floor and do network via wireless, although I'm inclined to think that will still produce a less flexible work area).

    Instead, I'm thinking the new LED-based projectors are the way to go rather than LCD screens. They take up no floor space and could allow for a very flexible teaching area. You could have projected areas on the wall, or on tables, or for £100,000, both.

    I would have all the screens driven by a single multi-screen computer. Googling about this, it turns out that 8-port graphics cards actually exist, and are even fairly common - they get used in various industries a fair bit, it turns out. Put a couple of 8-port graphics cards in a big PC and away you go - a 16-display desktop, usable as a collaborative working space, and I reckon for around £20,000 - £25,000. Moving the equipment should be easy enough, too, although obviously fitting 16 projectors takes a little while to do.

    Your biggest problem is going to be figuring out what, exactly, you are going to do with this equipment. Spending money on snazzy graphics equipment that makes people go "ooh!" is a waste if it only ever gets used by people taking pictures for the school brochure. I'm not sure that large panoramic images are all that necessary, or effective, in teaching. As others have pointed out, I don't think you'll get wall-to-wall display capabilities for £100,000, so I'd aim for cheaper technology and see if you can get three or four classrooms-worth of equipment out of that £100,000.

    For interaction, I'd aim for a single multi-pointer, multi-keyboard computer. There's a modified version of X Windows for Linux that can do this, and Microsoft produce a developers kit for use with multiple mice for Windows. Either way, all you're really aiming for is a desktop environment that can run RDP clients to connect to a Terminal Server to run applications. This way, each user can have their own window open editing their own work but people can pass windows between screens and do things on each other's windows. You'll need to use decent wireless keyboards and mice, probably bluetooth ones at around £30 each, but on your budget this is still very affordable.

    If the stuff about 3D chips costing next-to-nothing to include in projectors is true then you might as well have 3D capability, but you might want to spend some, if not most, of that £100,000 creating some content - the 3D displays I saw this year at BETT had exactly the same content showing on them as last year. The same goes for any kind of content for multi-user interactive environments - after all the years (at least 5?) in which projected screens and a bank of laptops have been standard classroom equipment, can you think of any applications that do interesting things with that large display and multiple workstations?

    --
    David Hicks

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    Rick2134 (28th January 2010)

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    judyB's Avatar
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    We are having a new school build, finishing at the end of 2011. I have been given 100k to design a room in our old school. To give an idea to staff, students and other Schools/Academies what a teaching environment will be like in a new school build.
    Unless you're going to spend 100k on every classroom in your new building aren't you setting teachers up for a bit of a disappointment??

    Sounds amazing tho - i think it's great to have that amount to experiment with.

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    Vanti's Avatar
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    Hi guys,

    We've been involved of a few these jobs around the country, just a few observations:

    - PC's with multiple outputs; A few years ago I was involved in building these for various applications. 4, 6, 8 outputs were common all for the cost that wasn't a great deal more than a high end PC - certainly far less than 20k. These can be useful in certain situations, but don't really have a great deal of flexibility. Current installs use a video wall processor, which although is based on a PC allows for things like picture in picture, realtime video, scaling and more. One example where it's used is a 270 degree projection. Three walls are projected onto from three projectors. They can be used individually, as one big screen (wicked for the playstation!!) Then there are options for having the same on each wall, picture in picture etc. etc. This can all be control from simple "buttons" on a control pad.


    - Projectors; The biggest problem with projectors is the brightness. There's plenty of high end projectors out there now that are capable but they're heavy and produce a fair amount of heat.

    - Interactive walls; These are becoming fairly common now, and range from overlays to go over existing Large Format Displays, special glass built into walls, movable cabinets etc. etc.

    Hope this helps,

    Le me know if I can help any further,

    Dan

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    Rick2134 (28th January 2010)

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTS View Post
    <snip:about multi-screen PCs>These can be useful in certain situations, but don't really have a great deal of flexibility.
    Did you ever try attaching multiple mice and keyboards?

    The biggest problem with projectors is the brightness. There's plenty of high end projectors out there now that are capable but they're heavy and produce a fair amount of heat.
    Does this still hold for LED projectors? Am I right in thinking that something like the new Casio LED projector outputs around 2,000 lumens, which is about the same as a 60W light bulb? If you had half a dozen in a classroom could they replace the need to have standard lighting?

    --
    David Hicks

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    Rick2134's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossman View Post
    @Rick2134:

    I was just reading an article in a brochure form a company called Roche who were advertising just what you are talking about, Multi touch screens etc etc but the only snag was they were askin £120,000 and this was just the basic mobile classroom.

    I fear that for your money you will not get as much as you were hoping for. Everything has it's price and I would hazard a cost of minimum £250,000 for a fully integrated 360 mobile classroom which would give the end user a wow factor.



    I too am amazed that you have been allocated £100k for something which will be used as a proof of concept and then got rid of when you move to the new school such a waste of valuable taxpayers money.

    Anything we buy for this room will be either moved into the new building or given to a school in our LA. Not throwing 100k in the bin

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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    I must admit thats a pretty sickening amount of money for one year

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    Vanti's Avatar
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    We tried attaching multiple touch screens, and had too many conflicts, but the last time I actually built a machine to do that was back in the pre SP2 days on XP. There are now certainly some applications where multiple HIDs are being used, but I don't know enough about their workings.

    LED projectors at the moment are relatively dim. I've not been looking, but the brightest I've seen is 2500 lumens. I'd expect the advantages of running cooler, quieter/silent and without the need for as much power - like all LED products I suppose. I can't quite remember the maths of the top of my head for comparing Lumens and Watts, I think the bulb would work out brighter.

    There's plenty of LED lighting out there though either DMX controlled or cheap Maplin type stuff.

    HTH

    Dan

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    dhicks (28th January 2010)

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    bossman's Avatar
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    @Rick2134:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick2134 View Post
    Anything we buy for this room will be either moved into the new building or given to a school in our LA. Not throwing 100k in the bin
    I understand the concept but the time and the resources used to set it up in the first place will be a waste just so the headteacher and a few honoured guests can see what it will look like before they move into the new school.

    Some schools would only dream of that kind of a budget!

    Good for you to get a little insight though as to what you may have to support or will the new school be a managed service like everybody else's?

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    Oops_my_bad's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    I agree - that is a sickening amount of money to be p*ssing up against a wall. It's almost as sickening as giving money to the Taliban



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