“Just because we’ve always done it that way doesn’t make it the best way to do it today, especially when we have new tools at hand.”
While their origins date back to the 11th century, it took a further 500 years before what we
now know as “blackboards” to gain prominence in European education.
And with every iteration of this early technology, educators have unwittingly reinforced the dominance of one big surface affixed to a wall at the front of the classroom as the place from which all knowledge emanates. Here we are, now fully 1,000 years from those early writing slates and we’re still affixing Digital displays and projectors to the front wall.
Sure, the front of the room is where educators operate from, that makes sense. It’s like being on a stage with the audience facing the front of the room, benefitting from the best sightlines. And while that was the case in ancient Epidaurus, today’s classroom audiences have a lot more tools to work with, making space, location, and physical orientation less germane. And yet, we still require everyone to read, copy and memorize content presented to them from the front of the classroom, in real time, at a specific time and place.
While we retain our focus on presenting content at the front of the room, screen sharing has replaced the way we present content inside a classroom. Gone for the most part are film, opaque and slide projectors, and even skeletal models have been supplanted by virtual simulations through immersive 3D visuals. While writing surfaces endure, they’re mostly digital whiteboards or interactive displays sending a digital signal to a display. Let’s face it, educational content is digitized by default, and screen sharing has proven to be a great way to deliver that content to students.
But why just one screen, at the front of the room?
What we haven’t considered, is the myriad new ways we can improve the delivery of that content to our students. What if we could send all of that content directly to each student’s laptop of tablet screen so they get a closer and more immersive look at it?
What if we could time-shift lectures and deliver content on demand, even allowing students to watch it on a smart TV, or a mobile device, without thousands of dollars in equipment and enormous complexity? And while we’re at it, why not let students focus on learning without the distraction of taking notes, and instead allow them to capture what they’re watching for later reference?
Sources, Destinations and Control
Our mission at KLIK is to improve education outcomes by bringing technology to bear in the classroom. But if all we were concerned with was the application of new technologies we would miss out on the bigger objective; adding technology to the teacher’s workflows in a way that results in net positives in the efficacy of teaching. Rethinking how we can add value to the learning process by augmenting the tools teachers already use.
When we set out to create the latest generation of the KLIKBoks HUB, we considered three key areas of focus. First, we explored all the potential sources of digital media that are typically used in a classroom. Of course, this included images, video, documents and multimedia presentations.
But what about live video capture from document cameras, video cameras, conference webcams and other devices? What about live audio, to capture lectures, voices or live music? And of course, we included communications, like video conferences, radio broadcasts and phone calls.
Next, we addressed the many destinations for this content. Yes, the big screen at the front of the room, but also tertiary screens for break-out groups, students’ laptops, tablets and smartphones, smart TVs in their homes, social media channels like Facebook Live and YouTube, as well as local media where content could be recorded or archived.
And finally, our team considered just how all of this content was going to be captured, embellished and routed to the many destinations, as and when needed. In each case we focused on simplicity of operation and the degree to which control would impact a teacher’s workflows. We also considered the financial impact of a system that relied on the integration of a third-party control system, and eliminated as many of those requirements as possible.
Screen Sharing Reimagined
The result is screen sharing on a whole new level. Now, you choose which screen you want to share with and how, and the rest is automated. Since each KLIK screen can accommodate up to 4 simultaneous users, we also made it so that each screen could have a completely unique mix of content as needed. We also included both software app control over the displayed content as well as touch-screen control so that each content tile could be maximized, minimized, annotated and saved instantly.
We also added the KLIKStream feature that beams whatever is on the big screen across the network to students’ devices. KLIKStream was designed to offer a low-bandwidth method of distributing content that is viewed inside a browser window. Plus, it includes a screen capture utility which allows students to take a still image of displayed content, or even pause it momentarily, as an adjunct to note-taking.
The biggest break with the status quo came with the inclusion of live streaming capability into the KLIK. Harnessing the RTMP standard, KLIK can stream all displayed content, including images, documents, live video and audio, to any web distribution platform, including Facebook Live, YouTube, Twitch and many more. Not only can students now view a class from home on a smart TV, they can also view it at any time of the day or night as an archived video.
Along with live streaming, we added the capability to host video calls on any PC or laptop, while using a classroom camera and audio system, all wirelessly. Students working remotely can now see and hear the whole classroom, share content to the classroom screen and see content shared by in-class students, all on your favorite video conferencing platform (no, we really mean All of them.)
All This, Plus Expandability
As we learned, not all content is already digital, or originating on a PC. So KLIK includes both USB and HDMI inputs to capture content coming from nearly any device from video capture cards, to cameras, media players, array microphones and audio mixing systems, and much more. And all of that content can be distributed to any and all of the available destinations.
And finally, we’ve added two hardware accessories that can prove indispensable when you’re aiming for inclusivity. The KLIKLink USB-C and KLIKLink HDMI are tiny adapters that simply connect to any compatible device, allowing instant sharing of content to the KLIK system. Both devices are USB powered and offer one-button start/stop of streaming to the KLIK, with absolutely no software required.
Security, Affordability, Usability
With such a broadening of the content sharing capabilities of the KLIK system one may question the security and privacy considerations implemented. Here, there are 3 lines of defense; 1) Enterprise-grade content encryption, 2) Enterprise-grade Network security and, 3) the ability to restrict access to any and all functions as needed.
The KLIK system consists of a hardware appliance called the KLIKBoks HUB, the KLIKConnect application and the KLIKLink adapters. All hardware is covered under a 5-Year manufacturer’s warranty, with free updates to both hardware and software for life. There are no recurring costs for “maintenance” or usage fees, only a one-time hardware purchase price of $999 for the HUB, and $249 for each of the KLIKLink adapters.
For more details, please see the relevant pages for the KLIKBoks HUB, KLIKConnect app, and the KLIKLink USB-C and KLIKLink HDMI. To book a free, no-obligation online demo of the system, simply click here.
About KLIKBoks, Inc.
KLIKBoks, Inc. develops advanced collaboration technologies that boost productivity, enhance teamwork, and enrich the learning experience. Their KLIK and KLIKBoks product lines offer innovative, easy-to-use solutions for seamless hybrid collaboration in meeting rooms, huddle spaces, classrooms, and event spaces. KLIKBoks, Inc. is headquartered in Seattle, WA (https://www.klikboks.com).