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VHS VCR Survey Results

AV-1 readers, you are awesome.

In the first of our surveys, we had 130 responses. Some of the responses were not surprising, like the fact that 79% of us have VCRs in up to 75% of our rooms.  That is a lot of VCRs.

Other results were surprising, like the fact that only 34% of us have plans in place to end of life VCRs. Do those of you with plans care to share them with the list?

Would those of you without plans talk more about your circumstances? Is it your position that the VCR will live on indefinitely?

What do you think it means that we are pretty much split 50/50 on whether general counsel or the copyright officer has been involved in analog to digital transition issues?  

Chime in (on the AV-1 list or in comments below) and let us know what you think! (Are you an in-house tech manager or planner who is not yet a member of AV-1? Please join us!)

Question 1: What percentage of classrooms have VHS players?

up to 25% 18 14%
up to 50% 9 7%
up to 75% 30 23%
up to 100% 73 56%


Question 2: Do you know how large of an active collection of VHS tapes your institution has?


Yes 63 48%
No 67 52%

Question 3: Do you have a plan in place to EOL (end-of-life) VHS players?

Yes 44 34%
No 86 66%

Question 4: Is your plan complicated by other uses of the VHS, such as combo units with DVD players, or usage as a cable tuner?


Yes 96 74%
No 34 26%

Question 5: Is/has your copyright officer or general counsel been involved in analog to digital conversion discussions, in order to ensure copyright compliance?

Yes 68 52%
No 64 48%

by Scott Tiner
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Survey: VHS End-of-Life

Survey now closed, see results...For more than a quarter-century, VHS tapes (and VCRs) were the kings of on-demand video (at home, school and work).  Never mind dog years, 25 tech-years are an eternity during which VHS users gleefully amassed large content collections without giving a second thought to the day of reckoning when a) dependable tape players would no longer be available and b) the medium would wear out. 

Today, VCRs are hard to find. They are costly to purchase, integrate and lifecycle.  Yet most institutions continue to rely upon pre-recorded VHS tapes, for which they have invested a small fortune. 

How do classroom planners and technology managers deal with the inevitable transition away from VHS to a digital format?  Please complete this simple survey as a means to begin this crucial dialog among your peers within the AV-1 community. We'll post a follow-up with survey results at the end of the week.

Survey now closed, see results…

by Scott Tiner
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

$99 DIY Smartboard

SmartboardRedmond, WA. There is no denying the appeal of interactive whiteboards: to interact directly with the image transcends the mouse-and-keyboard experience, opening opportunities for memorable learning experiences. SMART Technologies, who introduced the first interactive whiteboard or "smartboard" in 1991, dominates this market, thanks more to its outstanding suite of applications than to SMART Boards, themselves. 

But, what if you didn't need all those applications? Why fork out $2k-$10k for an all-too-small whiteboard? What if you could get most of what you needed for less than $100? Could you to do without some features (like recording capability) in exchange for others (such as the ability to have up to four people write on the board at the same time)? Would that be good enough?

What if you could achieve smartboard functionality on any kind of display, using only a $40 Wii video game controller and a few parts from Radio Shack?

Wii-remote - landscape 


Continue reading $99 DIY Smartboard

Take AV Tech Mag Survey + $10 gift card!

Dear AV-1,

AV Technology magazine wants to be your preferred resource for AV/IT. It is important to us to understand the challenges and obstacles you face while delivering enterprise-grade solutions, whether you do so on a local or global scale. 

Could you take a few minutes to complete our short 19-question survey by visiting this link?

Biamp Systems I know your time is a precious commodity, so in appreciation for your help, the first 100 AV-1 members to complete the survey will receive a $10 gift card, courtesy of Biamp Systems

As always, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Thank-you for your support!

Mark Mayfield Mark Mayfield
Editor, AV Technology NewBay Media, LLC
Tel: 508-529-9390
Fax: 508-529-9365

AV Technology Magazine Online

Brilliant Learning Space Mash-up: Norlin Commons @ CU Boulder

Boulder, CO. Interesting things were happening at the University of Colorado at Boulder ("CU Boulder"). ITS and the university libraries partnered for an ambitious project: The Norlin Commons, which opened ahead of schedule in July. The good folks at CU Boulder rolled out the welcome mat to show our EDUCAUSE contingent around.

Guests and Tour Guides We met an energetic team of librarians, technologists and planners eager to discuss the fruits of their collective. For nearly half a decade they worked to a) identify key aspects of the current state of student resources within their domain (the Norlin Library); b) articulate the outcomes they wanted students to experience in some future incarnation of the library; c) partner with professional planners and designers to assist with due diligence and to translate their goals into an actionable plan; d) use that plan to seek funding support among their chief constituents (the students themselves).

The result is the Norlin Commons, a splendid mash-up of "mixed-use" and "flexible" zones, where services and beverages intersect at a place where students naturally congregate to get work done, unwind and refuel.

Continue reading Brilliant Learning Space Mash-up: Norlin Commons @ CU Boulder

EDUCAUSE in Denver: The DU Tour (via Sydney)

 Photo by Jenn Stringer, Stanford Univ.

This week, EDUCAUSE holds its national conference on information technology in higher education in Denver, Colorado. A group of colleagues from LehighPurdue, Sydney (AUS), Stanford, Touro and UMass toured learning space at the University of Denver

Malcolm Booth, Director of Educational and Research Services at UT Sydney, posted an excellent narrative and photo collection of the visit.

We'd especially like to thank Mark Rodgers and Jane Loefgren (University Architect's Office), and Julanna Gilbert (Director, Center for Teaching and Learning) and others for taking the time to provide an informative tour of their lovely campus and facilities.

An Open Proposal for Innovation, Part One: The Carolina Case

Recent newsletters explored examples of good-enough innovations that proved to be game-changers. At their introduction, few, if any, were regarded as either "best in class" or "state-of-the-art." It is important to acknowledge how perfectly adequate good-enough really is because within the context of well-regarded institutions of learning there are occasions when nothing short of state-of-the-art appears to be acceptable. In learning technologies, the pursuit of this ideal can lead to unanticipated costs.

High-profile institutions are, after all, in the business of attracting the best and brightest minds by offering top-notch learning, work and research environments designed to bring out their best work. When resources are plentiful, it is commonplace to hear a best-of-the-best mantra reverberating through the walls of every planning session; often with insufficient thought to operating costs associated with "cutting edge" amenities.

A "Master Classroom" circa 1991 In order to find a way to accept that now is an ideal time to re-imagine classroom tech, let us first consider how we arrived at where we are, and all we've accomplished…

Large, progressive institutions such as the University of North Carolina are renowned for blazing trails in learning technologies. For more than two decades, UNC pioneered technology-enabled learning space.

Continue reading An Open Proposal for Innovation, Part One: The Carolina Case

Good Enough Pt. 2: A Brief History


It is my wish to challenge you to consider new learning space. Although I am not privy to inside information that maps out exactly what the future look like, I am quite certain that future learning environments will be the product of this new economy and not the one before it. None of us should be inclined to sit on our hands and let the cards fall where they may.

It is my wish to help you recognize that such change is possible for you. You are the stewards, the planners, the trainers, builders and fixers. More so than your boss or your reports, you have a clearer understanding of your customer as well as the prevailing constraints that thwart your ability to do right by your customer. Given the circumstances, who could blame anyone who decided to wait for someone else to figure it out?

Throughout history, ordinary people with an idea, tenacity and some luck carved out some thing (often some quite modest thing) that proved to be extraordinary over time.

Something disruptive.

Disruptive things are rarely perfect. Often, they appear to be quite flawed in comparison to the other bits and bobs for sale on the shelf. In the final analysis, however, disruptive things proved to be good enough in critical ways that may not have appeared obvious (or of any value) at the time of their introduction.

Good enough is within our grasp. So let's get going…

Continue reading Good Enough Pt. 2: A Brief History

What’s So Great About ‘Good Enough’ Tech?


In September's Wired magazine, senior editor Robert Capps (rcapps [at] wired [dot] com) observes that the MP3 audio format prevails despite the advent of digital audio algorithms that offer greater sonic resolution with comparably small file sizes. Capps speculates that the incremental gain in fidelity, as delivered by newer digital formats, offers insufficient advantage to prize the lossy, old format from the clutches of mobile audio listeners. In short, MP3 may be mediocre (Bob used a harsher word that, coincidentally rhymes with his last name) but for the majority of listeners-to-go, it is mighty good enough.

In MP3s, Capps finds the perfect metaphor to shed light on an often-overlooked phenomenon at the intersection of Good-Better-Best Street and Better-Faster-Cheaper Boulevard. There is mounting evidence to predict that, when presented with an array of sparkly tech-choices, portable music listeners tend to favor, as Bob puts it, "flexibility over high fidelity, convenience over features, quick and dirty over slow and polished." In short, "having it here and now is more important than having it perfect."

A note to our Type-A readers: In future articles, AV-1 explores how this phenomenon relates to classrooms, but for now, feel free to share your comments and observations (below or on the AV-1 List).

Among the numerous examples offered, these three stand out as most relevant for our purposes: Flip Ultra, Skype, and Netbooks.

Continue reading What’s So Great About ‘Good Enough’ Tech?