Smarter than SMART Boards: How Universities Use LED Video Walls to Engage Students Outside The Classroom

Smarter than SMART Boards: How Universities Use LED Video Walls to Engage Students Outside The Classroom

As any professor can tell you, communication is vital to education. As time has gone by, communication in schools has been facilitated with blackboards, then white boards, and now SMART boards. While these communication platforms have excelled within the classroom, modern institutions of higher learning have display needs outside of the classroom as well. A paper poster is no longer going to capture the attention of students on the quad and nor will an uninspired LCD screen stand out in a lofty lobby filled with ambient light. Today’s most innovative schools have recognized that if they want to get students to look away from the screen on their lap or in their hand, you need to offer an even better one. For many of these schools, the display technology they are turning to is large-format LED. While NanoLumens has worked with countless colleges and universities to incorporate LED video walls for their students, there are a few installations in particular that creatively illustrate how impactful large-format LED can be in a school setting.

Facilitating Small-Scale Serendipity

Seeing that interpersonal communication was a key element of learning, business, and learning about business, the administration at the University of Kansas (KU) wanted to foster as much serendipitous interaction between students, professors, and guests as possible in their newly opened Capitol Federal Hall, the home for KU’s School of Business. To do this, they needed an anchor in the atrium. Enter NanoLumens, who installed two brilliant NanoLumens Engage Series™ LED video walls next to a centrally located coffee bar in the building’s spacious atrium. Both displays feature a 2.5MM pixel pitch and they play a critical role in providing daily business school, university, and national news updates for students, faculty and visitors. According to Dan Nenonen from architecture firm GastingerWalker& who worked on the project, “The building was designed to foster creativity and interaction…all the interaction starts at the coffee bar in the main atrium across from where the NanoLumens Engage Series displays are positioned.” The principle is simple here: if you want people to start interacting, give them a centerpiece around which to do so.

Anchoring a Collective Event Space

Unlike the administration at KU who sought to inspire smaller-scale interaction within a specific sector of the school, the team from East Carolina University (ECU) wanted to cultivate an environment for larger events with participants from the student body and the surrounding Greenville community. Located in a high foot-traffic location on campus, ECU’s new Student Union building presented ECU with an ideal setting for this kind of space but the design of the building failed to deliver an exterior “wow” factor that would actually prompt crowds to gather in the quad adjacent to it, leaving ECU to answer the question of how to attract new generations of audiences without dramatically impacting existing infrastructure or ongoing construction. They answered this question by lofting a huge NanoLumens Performance Series™ LED display high above the quad on the abutting wall of the Student Union building. Today, the display operates 24/7 to host things like mass viewings of sporting events and movies, student presentations, and group ceremonies. The school outfitted the building’s own AV control room as the primary content delivery hub but also created an outdoor connection point so students could play their own media. The display’s performance is further enhanced with a row of loudspeakers that sends audio content just as far as the display sends its video content. Essentially, ECU used LED to create an amphitheater environment without actually building an amphitheater.

Setting a Technological Tone

When designing their new “Vertical Campus” building, Western Sydney University (WSU) wanted to welcome students with a technology experience that reflected the environment students would find throughout the stunning building. The 285,224 square foot, 14-story building is one of the most technologically advanced learning facilities in the entire country, designed to be, in the words of WSU administrator Kerry Holling, “a hub of interactive personalized and networked technologies.” Setting the tone for this immersive digital environment is a NanoLumens Nixel Series LED display that blankets a curved wall in the building’s entryway and fills the entire space with vibrant color. Establishing a strong first impression that directly caters to a digitally fluent generation of students is vital mission for a school in a city with as many distractions as Sydney. The beautifully curved display is the perfect visual representation of that pursuit. Today’s students don’t just need shiny digital technology features to capture their attention, they need comprehensive digital learning experiences that hold their attention. With an unavoidable LED curve greeting them upon arrival, WSU students are left no doubt that their school knows this.

To view photos of these installations and many more, head over to our vault of Higher Education content here.

2019-08-07T16:12:07+00:00