4K resolution—also known as ultra-high definition (UHD)—is a fast-growing technology, with use of 4K content expected to increase from around 10 percent today to almost 40 percent in 2020. It was a trending topic at the recent InfoComm and UBTech conferences in Las Vegas, where higher education leaders considered implementation strategies for 4K and other emerging audiovisual innovations.

You might look at 4K adoption as a future goal for your campus, but it’s rapidly moving into the mainstream and should be a current consideration. Today’s college students come equipped with their own smartphones, laptops, and tablets, often with 4K displays, and they expect to find the same visual quality in the classroom. Although adopting 4K can be a formidable expense for colleges and universities, it’s becoming more affordable all the time.

Above all, 4K displays and projectors make the classroom experience more visually rich. Images remain constant despite different viewing angles, have more accurate and controlled colors, allow for pixel-free viewing, and can handle long uninterrupted operating times. 4K displays and projectors create visual workspaces in such disciplines as healthcare, engineering, architecture, and design that can result in time and cost savings for institutions.

Here are five ways 4K can make an impact on your campus.

1. Shared student content
More than ever before, instructors are asking students to create videos, capture images, and create multimedia presentations for their classes. Using personal devices, they’re taking photos and videos in 4K, and classroom displays need to relay content in its original quality to do it justice.

2. Flipped classrooms
The flipped classroom allows students to watch video lectures and explore course content through an online portal, creating space for more interactive discussions during class meetings. 4K quality videos and visual course materials can significantly enhance remote learning experiences, helping to bring concepts alive for students.

3. Videoconferencing
Videoconferencing is becoming more common for distance learning, linking guest speakers to live classrooms and allowing instructors to teach a course at several campuses simultaneously. UHD videoconferencing displays allow students to relate more readily to the person on the other side and engage in constructive, productive communication. And using 4K cameras on both ends of the connection allows instructors to see the audience they’re speaking to and respond more readily to student questions, creating an immersive experience.

4. CAD/CAM technical design
In departments such as engineering, architecture and design, 4K’s extra sharp imaging provides a clear advantage. Classes in CAD and CAM technical drawing that are equipped with 4K displays and projectors have the benefit of a lifelike one-to-one scale, resulting in time and cost savings because users can envision projects and anticipate pitfalls before building test models.

5. Simulations
Computer simulations and gamification are becoming more common in nearly every discipline, from teacher education to medicine. High-resolution, pixel-free imaging is a great asset for medical students engaged in surgery simulations. For flight training and other simulations where accurate depiction of real-life conditions is essential, 4K quality projections and displays include intelligent source power control for day and night simulation, deepening the immersive environment.

When considering display and projector upgrades, look for products that offer adaptability to legacy signal sources as well as capability for a range of 4K UHD signals. That way, your equipment will function well with systems already in place, and you’ll be prepared for future needs. Desktop 4K displays are becoming more affordable, with some now in the $300 range. Larger touch displays and projectors still have a more formidable cost, but price points are falling as this technology advances.

Upgrading to 4K technology is a significant expense, but it’s a move that will future-proof your campus. Taking the leap now could boost recruiting efforts and improve retention rates as students realize they have access to the best possible tools for visual learning and collaboration.

About the Author:

Jami Milner is national account manager for education at NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc. A former educator, she’s been exploring the possibilities of education technology for the past two decades.


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