Singapore – September 2017… Renowned as a hub of education excellence, Singapore is home to many of the world’s best schools, where students benefit not just from the latest teaching techniques but from state-of-the-art classroom technology. Arguably nowhere is the link between the two more keenly felt than within the National University of Singapore’s Ridge View Residential College (NUS RVRC), where students and faculty live together to encourage a “living-learning program.” Following the creation of two smart classrooms equipped with technology from Visionary Solutions, students are also benefitting from flexible and collaborative IP-based learning.
Described by the NUS as “a cornerstone in enhancing holistic student development,” NUS RVRC is Singapore’s first residential college based outside of the city’s dedicated University Town development. Officially opened in 2014, the main Kent Ridge campus was quickly deemed a success and an extension swiftly followed, opening in March 2017, with new facilities for both living and learning. The company charged with providing technology for the learning part was leading regional systems integrator and Visionary Solutions partner PAVE.
“Part of our challenge was to equip two Smart classrooms with technology in keeping with NUS RVRC’s very high standards and expectations,” explains PAVE Sales Director Wang Heng Thean. “The rooms are intended not for traditional tutoring, but as more of a collaborative space where students can work closely and share ideas. Clear communication between them is very important. Both rooms can accommodate up to 24 students, who are divided into four groups, each with its own display. Within these groups, students are encouraged to discuss concepts amongst themselves, collaborate with one another, and exchange ideas using the displays and their own laptop – it’s a bring your own device environment. What’s more, if a student has an idea the tutor wishes to share with all of the students to encourage broader discussion, then the content in question can be sent to all of the displays, for all to see.”
It is, he adds, “a fast-changing environment in which the technical element of the classroom simply has to work without barriers. We decided to experiment with the concept of future-proofing the system by using video over IP to replace a conventional matrix video switcher.”
Facilitating the critical HDMI workflow within both classrooms is IPTV technology from Visionary Solutions, comprising seven sources in total. Four Visionary Solutions encoders are fed by the students; a fifth connects with the classroom’s Epson document camera; a sixth serves a general use touchscreen, and a seventh is fed by the tutor’s own laptop. At the other end of the signal chain, managed by a single Cisco switch, Visionary Solutions decoders feed each student group’s Samsung 65” display, as well as a confidence monitor, a single Epson ultra-short throw projector, and the room’s AMX control system. “Students are able to share anything from their own laptop – a video file, photographs or a Word document, whatever assists the broader discussion,” Wang observes.
The fast-paced debate within the classrooms was matched by the urgency of the project itself. “As soon as the decision was made to implement an IPTV solution within the classrooms, it became clear that we had to move quickly to install the technology, with just two weeks for Visionary Solutions to deliver all of the equipment to NUS RVRC,” Wang reports. “I’m glad to say that Visionary Solutions were excellent in supporting us to ensure that this goal was met.”
Indeed, Wang concludes, with the completed classrooms now in full time operation, the network has been met with delight by students and teachers alike. “NUS RVRC is a very prestigious school where only the best is good enough. The use of Visionary Solutions IPTV provides the school with remarkable configuration flexibility and ongoing savings in terms of maintenance. The method has worked very well.”