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Audiovisual Technology: Can you identify the 10 potential points of failure inherent in traditional audiovisual classroom systems?


Nov. 2 “Planning for Classroom Technology” workshop in Denver provides answers for IT and facility managers

“It’s been shown that we retain 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, and 50% of what we see and hear. In the classroom, that points to audiovisual (AV) technology and multimedia as powerful learning tools, because they incorporate both seeing and hearing. The underlying technology is complex, but the student/instructor experience doesn’t have to be. There are new tools and knowledge to optimize AV capabilities in a teaching space, and to deliver support, ” says Steve Thorburn, PE, LEED-AP and design principal of Thorburn Associates.

“It’s primarily a matter of good planning and design, ” says Thorburn, whose Planning For Classroom Technology Workshop, Nov. 2 in Denver at the Curtis Hotel, will address these issues and more.

AV in the classroom is continually changing, and the Planning for Classroom Technology Workshop is targeted to benefit CIO’s, IT Directors, facility managers, interior designers, architects and anyone who is involved in the planning or design of formal or informal learning spaces, or responsible for AV presentation technology. The workshop runs 8:30-4:30 pm. Attendees will earn 6 AIA Certified Continuing Education Units or 6 InfoComm Renewal Units, and receive a detailed workbook to keep. The workshop’s title sponsor is Crestron Electronics. The workshop will be held just prior to the Educause conference, Nov. 3-6 in Denver, Colorado. 

For those not working on a classroom building, the information in the workshop is easily applied to the same issues, goals and concerns encountered in corporate and public meeting, training and conference spaces.

To register or get more information, contact Christina LeClerc, at Thorburn Associates, 510-886-7826 ext 205, email or visit the workshop website at

More about the Planning for Technology workshop

In recent years, expectations for high performance learning spaces have grown while budgets have shrunk. Increasing enrollment, mobile computing, non-traditional students, accessibility and informal learning are among the many factors that challenge design teams tasked with delivering their "ideal classroom for the 21st Century."

It is no longer adequate to simply consider instructional technology as an afterthought once the construction or renovation is complete. Nor is it advisable to proceed with elaborate designs without considering their impact upon existing lines of business and budgets.

This workshop provides the foundation needed to recognize the components of a successful learning space design. Those involved in the planning of learning spaces and the support of instructional technology will obtain an understanding of Best Practices as well as the useful Rules-of-Thumb guide for initial planning efforts.

The session outlines the major issues to be considered in the design and integration of an educational facility, including answers to such questions as:

* How close to the image does a person need to be in order to see it?

* How will the systems be controlled?

* What will be the sources for the presentations?

* Can the room be located along the outer wall to take advantage of the great view? 

* What are the real needs for audio and video teleconferencing? 

* When do you want to use rear projection vs. front projection? 

All of this and more will be covered in detail.

The day concludes with case studies to review what worked and what did not work in these spaces:

Auditorium (350 seats)
Classroom (30-50 seats)
Classroom (70-100 seats)
Informal Learning Space
Computer Training Lab
Video Conference Room

Participants will take home:

* A greater understanding of audiovisual system design requirements and construction processes for their next project.

* Workbook: “Planning for Classroom Technology” addressing Presentation Facility Design and Audiovisual Considerations including:

Rules of Thumb
Case Studies

* Skills and knowledge to help identify potential points of failure inherent in traditional AV classroom systems and what to do about them.

About Steve Thorburn and Thorburn Associates

Steve Thorburn, PE, LEED-AP is the design principal of Thorburn Associates, Inc., (TA) an acoustical and technology engineering firm.  A licensed professional electrical engineer, Steve has managed and consulted on thousands of different acoustical and audiovisual projects.  He frequently teaches seminars on both acoustics and audiovisual system design. A regular contributor to Systems Contractor News, Steve is also the past chair of InfoComm’s Design Consultants Council; member of InfoComm’s Professional Education and Training Committee; and an InfoComm Academy Senior Faculty member.  

Thorburn Associates Inc. is a professional service firm providing technology system engineering and design and acoustical consulting for the commercial, corporate, leisure, residential and retail industries, and for houses of worship. Thorburn Associates works in both new constructions and renovations, as an independent consulting firm offering unbiased designs to improve communication and fully realize the functionality of all projects. Headquartered in Castro Valley, California, with regional offices in Los Angeles and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, Thorburn Associates has been recognized as one of the leading firms in the acoustical and technology system design industry. In the course of 17 years in business, the company’s projects have received multiple awards, from the International Communications Industry Association (ICIA-InfoComm), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). Thorburn Associates’ principal Steven J. Thorburn, PE, LEED-AP, CTS-D, CTS-I, Associate AIA  is sitting president of TEA. Visit

About Educause

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. EDUCAUSE helps those who lead, manage, and use information resources to shape strategic decisions at every level. A comprehensive range of resources and activities is available to all interested employees at EDUCAUSE member organizations, with special opportunities open to designated member representatives. EDUCAUSE programs include professional development activities, applied research, strategic policy advocacy, teaching and learning initiatives, online information services, print and electronic publications, special interest collaborative communities, and awards for leadership and innovation. EDUCAUSE has offices in Boulder, Colorado, and Washington, D.C.

About Workshop Title Sponsor – Crestron Electronics

For 40 years Crestron has been the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced control and automation systems, innovating technology to simplify and enhance modern lifestyles and businesses. Offering integrated solutions to control audio, video, computer, and environmental systems, Crestron streamlines technology, improving the quality of life in commercial buildings, universities, hotels, hospitals and homes.
In addition to its World Headquarters in Rockleigh, New Jersey, Crestron has sales and support offices throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Australia.

About Workshop Sponsor – Wolfvision

Wolfvision is the leading manufacturer of high end Visualizers. A pioneer in the industry, they have been developing and manufacturing Visualizers for more than two decades. Many of today’s standards in "Visualizer technology" were developed and first introduced by WolfVision. A very successful family owned company, based in Vorarlberg/Austria, they have a history which goes back to 1966, with additional locations in the United States, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom and Singapore.

About Workshop Sponsor – Middle Atlantic Products

Middle Atlantic Products, Inc. is a manufacturer of engineered mounting solutions. Their customer-first philosophy places special emphasis on quality, service, and meeting the everyday working needs of end-users. Founded in 1979 by President Bob Schluter, the firm maintains manufacturing and administrative facilities in Fairfield, NJ. Their extensive selection of standard products includes steel rack enclosures, monitoring consoles, data cabling management products, audio and video studio furniture, power distribution products and related accessories.

See also:
Audiovisual Technology: Thorburn Associates Inc. Designs Audiovisual Systems for New Georgetown County Judicial Center
Entertainment Technology: Thorburn Associates Welcomes Joe Schuch
Themed Entertainment: At InfoComm, Thorburn Associates’ Seven Sessions and a Blog

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