Tag Archives: av solutions

Makerspace

Makerspace Series Part 5: Funding Your Makerspace

 

As you may know, schools throughout the United States are getting excited about the Makerspace as a place of creativity and expansion for students of all ages, but how do you fund your Makerspace? When it comes to improving education in STEM subjects, Makerspaces have been touted as a fantastic way to get students involved in hands on learning from physics to computer programming and much more. While it can seem daunting to get a new Makerspace up and running, there are actually many resources out there for funding your new space. From government grants to private sponsorship, this blog post takes you through some of the best ways to fund your Makerspace.

Funding Your Makerspace with Government Grants

The government is ready to help all students prepare for the STEM jobs that will help build our nation into a stronger, more competitive market in the fields of science and technology.

For example, Title I Funding gives financial assistance to elementary and secondary schools with low-achieving students to boost their ability to meet academic standards. For students with special needs, IDEA is a great resource to help fund projects that will go towards helping these students.

While it will take time and effort, government-sponsored grants can go a long way into helping provide resources for your Makerspace that will keep students engaged. Here are more great grant resources to explore:

Corporate Sponsorship and Competitions for Your Makerspace

Corporate sponsorship is a great way to get funding for your Makerspace. Searching online for local STEM competitions is a great way to showcase the potential of any Makerspace and a way to possibly win a monetary prize to boost student pride. National competitions include the Google Science Fair, and the STEM Video Game Challenge for middle and high schoolers.

Other corporate sponsorships come in the form of grants, such as the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education. A great place to start is to research local businesses, and larger corporations who have offices near you, to find out what types of programs may fit your needs. The next step is outreach. It can be an involved process, but corporate support is one of the best ways to get your Makerspace up and running.

Check out this great Blog Post on how to prepare applications and outreach materials for private funding.

Crowdfunding Your Makerspace

Students can be encouraged to take initiative and create a crowdfunding campaign with the help of their Makerspace leader. Usually this entails a creative video, which can be done on any smartphone, information about how the money will be used, and incentives for donations.

  • Kickstarter is the original crowd-funding website. Projects have 30 days to get a set amount of money or everyone gets their donation back. This gives the project a sense of urgency, which makes people want to invest sooner rather than later. Two tricks: be as specific as possible about what the money will be used for, and try to raise a lot of money upfront – the more money a project has within the first week, the better chances it will succeed.
  • GoFundMe does not have an all-or-nothing outlook nor does it have deadlines. However, this does mean that people may not be in a hurry to donate, and whatever you promise to them you must deliver, whether you are fully funded or not. There are also fees involved for using the service, so many programs ask that larger donations are made directly, rather than through a platform like GoFundMe.
  • On Indiegogo, you can choose to have a deadline or not. They have a more diverse base of donors, but statistically, people donate less than to other sites.

Go Out and Make!

Makerspaces are about being creative and getting into the DIY spirit. Not every Makerspace has to involve expensive tools and 3D printers. These types of spaces can provide a place to draw, sew, hammer, build or program. There are so many configurations and ideas to explore, and the ways in which funding comes together can depend on the specific plan for your Makerspace. We hope these resources help you to get started.

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AV in U.S. courtrooms

How AV is Transforming U.S. Courtrooms

The days of old-fashioned, closed off courtrooms are over. While many perceive the legal industry to be lagging behind in technology adoption, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Integrated AV technology, used widely in courtrooms and law firms across the U.S., not only improves transparency in the judicial system, it improves courtroom efficiency, lowers overhead costs, and increases security.

Understanding the Role of AV in Court Proceedings

Historically, court proceedings required everyone involved to be present in the courtroom. Before, during, and after a trial, communication plays a huge role in the legal system. In addition to courtroom activities, depositions, training programs, and many client communications required in-person meetings. Even as some communications shifted to email interactions or phone conferences in recent years, AV technology has the potential to take communications to the next level.

AV technology meets the demand for broadcast trials as well as those behind-the-scenes interactions that take place in the legal field on a daily basis. Video conferencing and telepresence systems make it possible to accomplish many pre-trial tasks remotely, and even to call in witnesses who cannot be physically present in the courtroom.

Meanwhile, broadcast technology can bring trials to a broad television or internet audience. Interactive video monitors, microphones, speakers, touchscreen control systems, and internet-connected devices and networking all play a role in the modern, technology-driven courtroom.

AV setups in the courtroom often feature:

  • Videoconferencing equipment. Video conferencing and telepresence equipment enables courts to engage in remote arraignments and interact with witnesses or court officers who could not travel to provide testimony. Video conferencing technology also supports out-of-the-courtroom interactions such as depositions and client meetings. Remote interactions with defendants, legal counsel, and witnesses reduce overhead travel costs for individuals, government, and law firms.
  • Broadcasting equipment. To improve judicial transparency, many courts are broadcasting trials on local television or via other mediums. Instead of adapting to camera crews who need to set up equipment before each trial, some court systems are investing in their own broadcast equipment. Even if the trial isn’t immediately broadcast, the video serves as an important record of the events that took place and provides more in-depth data than a court reporter’s documentation.
  • Interactive display panels. Large screens placed in strategic locations throughout the courtroom often serve dual purposes as video conferencing screens and interactive whiteboards on which attorneys can display key pieces of evidence and use electronic pens to illustrate a point. Additionally, every important person in the courtroom can be provided with a display to ensure maximum visual intelligibility including the judge, clerk, attorneys, witnesses and jurors.
  • Audio integration. Microphones, digital signal processors and audio distribution such as speaker systems play a crucial role in the courtroom setting. Many courtrooms invest in audio technology before transitioning to video components. Microphones capture the information being shared to support court records, while connected speakers amplify communications and auditory evidence. Intelligible audio is critical for all participants to understand what is being said or presented.
  • Control and connectivity. In addition to these primary AV components, many AV companies are outfitting courtrooms with multi-functional access panels that may include laptop connections, document cameras, and other integration-friendly equipment. Judges, for example, often have access to control panels with intuitive functionality to manage the proceedings from the bench. The judge and/or lawyers may have the capability to turn on specific courtroom cameras, video sources, or displays, mute or activate microphones, and operate the video conferencing system from a touchscreen control panel or even a mobile device, such as an iPad, tablet, or smartphone.
  • Managed services. As AV technology and IT services intersect, many AV providers have started to offer managed AV services. Instead of installing the equipment and relying on the users to manage it, AV companies are remotely managing every component for reduced downtime and improved security, which is a crucial consideration in courtrooms.

AV technology clearly plays an important role in the legal setting, and government entities willing to adopt new technologies have a great opportunity for long-term positive impacts in their courtrooms.





Download our Government Services One Sheet




Makerspace

Makerspace Series Part 4: Building the Makerspace Curriculum

 

Makerspaces provide students the opportunity to create visuals for school assignments, perform science experiments, and even build robots. Projects are only limited by the space’s leader and students’ imaginations and ingenuity. Through Makerspace projects, students of all ages can learn problem solving, collaboration with others to work as a team, and job skills like computer programming, user interface design, and even social media networking. These skills can be applied to future STEM jobs, or at least prepare students for HOW to approach learning marketable skills. This blog shares some project ideas and curriculum examples to get you started with your Makerspace.

K-6 Makerspace Curriculum Ideas

Because they are still learning about how life works, elementary school students tend to be more curious and the most willing to try something, even if it fails. Getting them to try something isn’t going to be the hard part, but they may need some guidance. Setting up a project can be as simple as asking a question: What kind of building can you make out of cardboard? What is a tool that you need at home right now? What can you design using popsicle sticks, bottle caps, and/or water bottles? What problem would it solve?

One example of a ready made curriculum to try is a free program for elementary schoolers to learn about computer programming called Alice, a project developed by students at Carnegie Mellon. With plenty of people discussing Elementary Makerspaces and resources, these areas can create a fun and educational environment for any child.

Looking for More Ideas? Here are some great examples of Elementary School Makerspace Projects:

Middle School Makerspace Curriculum Ideas

Giving middle schoolers the ability to take charge of their own learning encourages engagement and active participation. At this level, competitions and scholarships can come more into focus, and higher stakes can often provide motivation for students.

One example of a way to get students excited in the Makerspace is to encourage participation in a science fair or competition. Science fairs have become more and more competitive, and the days of exploding model volcanos are long gone. Students can now program games, design smart phone apps, and make software with the right tools. With more access to resources, students can now win more scholarships and take their projects farther along than ever before possible.

Prestigious national science competitions include:

High School Makerspace Curriculum Ideas

With more schooling comes more elaborate projects. With more elaborate projects, having access to good equipment will ensure that the next generation will have the skills necessary to enter the job market, especially in STEM. Think of what these two self-taught brothers from Haiti could do with an equipped Makerspace.

Here are some of the most innovative science fair winners of 2015 in some of the most prestigious science competitions:

Imagine what these students can contribute to our world as they get older. With a good Makerspace, these and other students can go even farther and do more than before.

Whatever you decide to do with a Makerspace, the students will be sure to enjoy the opportunity for hands on learning. The Makerspace puts abstract applications into real-life situations, making it the best way to show, not tell.

 

spinitar_CTA-visual-learning-tools-

System Contractors News Names Spinitar Amongst Top 50 Integrators!

For Immediate Release

La Mirada, CA (December 22, 2016) – SPINITAR, an InfoComm APEX certified audiovisual and unified communications integrator, has once again been named as one of the Top 50 Integrators in North America by System Contractors News.

The SCN list continues to be an important bellwether of the commercial audiovisual integration industry. Rising from the number 30 spot in 2015 to number 26 today, Spinitar believes the climb can be attributed to significant growth within its federal government practice and to a strong economy that has encouraged growth in the construction sector.

Spinitar Co-Principal, Jeff Irvin, explains, “Our services first mentality, a simplified employee and customer experience, and relationships developed over our thirty years in business have led to a terrific anniversary year.”

Spinitar is honored to be included in SCN’s Top 50, and considers the nod to be a demonstration of our quality and tested competence. SCN notes the Top 50 list is “about history, innovation, and talent. There are qualities that are unquantifiable, but the SCN Top 50 is a benchmark for the business.”

For more information on the Top 50, please visit SCN.

About Spinitar

Since 1986, Spinitar has been designing, building, and servicing AV environments for corporate, government, and education clients. With offices throughout California, Arizona, and Florida, and through our affiliation with PSNI (Professional Systems Network International) Spinitar helps our North American and international customers share and disseminate information more effectively through the use of technology. We are proud to be an SCN top 50 integrator.

Connect with our press department today for more details.

 

Makerspace

Makerspace Series Part 3: Owning the Makerspace

 

Makerspaces allow students to experiment with hands-on learning in an environment that encourages creativity and expands horizons beyond the classroom. The Makerspace can be a place for expansion, but who leads the way? As in any space with schedules to manage, equipment to maintain, and people to motivate, there’s got to be a competent, inspired leader to take the reigns. In a school environment, a motivated teacher or librarian usually leads the way for the Makerspace.

Preparing to Lead a Makerspace

For any teacher, librarian, or community member who is interested in helping build or maintain a Makerspace at his or her school, there are webinars, seminars and workshops that give new Makerspace leaders guidance and support.

Here are some great resources:

  • Maker Ed, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to helping schools develop their own Makerspaces. They have received a $1 million grant from Google to help them do just that.
  • MakerSpace website is a site started by the founders of Make Magazine, who started the Maker movement. Makers from all over the world can share their ideas, insights, and innovations.
  • Edutopia has many articles on how to design, create and fund a Makerspace.
  • For K-6th grade teachers, the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) has several articles about Makerspaces for young children.

Funding Your Makerspace

Spinitar understands how daunting it can be to implement a Makerspace, especially from a funding perspective. In fact, we wrote a blog post all about funding your makerspace, but here are a few good resources to get you started:

  • Competitions are a great way to get students involved and engaged with a Makerspace. Student Science and Science OC have lists of good local and national competitions.
  • There are government grants, such as Carl D. Perkins Act, who give money to schools looking to invest in students who would prefer technical programs to a 4-year college or Title I program that helps fund equipment that could help a school with low performing students.
  • Corporate sponsorship is a great avenue as well. Lowe’s Toolbox for Education, for example, will grant up to $5000 to a school for projects just like Makerspaces.
  • Students can participate actively with crowdfunding, using websites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or GoFundMe. Students, especially with entrepreneurial spirits, can create videos using smartphones and write out guidelines to their specific needs.

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Custom AV System Design Delivers Delicious Win for LBCC

 

Effective audio visual system design transforms student experiences, leading to increased retention of matriculated students, and improved reputation among potential applicants. In a hands-on environment like culinary arts, being able to see and interact with the material presented by the instructor is crucial especially. When classroom AV systems are well-designed, every student can see and hear. This makes current students stay, and future students feel impressed by the up-to-date look and feel of their potential school.

In partnership with AV system designer Waveguide, Spinitar recently helped Long Beach City College (LBCC) achieve the highest standard in AV System Design. LBCC needed a standardized and simple-to-use instructional media platform for use across all of their brand new Culinary Arts spaces. They wanted students to be able to hear and see the same instruction, whether in the front row of a test kitchen classroom, or the very, very back. The answer would be found in the custom AV System Design Waveguide would create.

Spinitar Audio Visual jumped on board to furnish all materials, labor, control system programming, installation, and implementation of custom AV systems for the LBCC Culinary Arts program.

“We do believe we have built one of the premiere culinary arts facilities in Southern California,”
Terri Long, VP of Academic Affairs.

To find out all the details on how Spinitar brought state of the art AV Systems to LBCC, download the case study.

Long Beach City College - Culinary Arts Case Study

InfoComm / AV Technologies

AV Tech Trends: Highlights from InfoComm 2016

 

Making decisions about AV and communication technologies can be a complicated process. Sometimes, it helps to know what industry experts are thinking when considering technologies to include in the design of your system. Luckily, the audiovisual industry’s international trade organization, InfoComm, recently hosted its annual show and the most trusted trade publications have responded with their favorite trends and awards.

InfoComm 2016 resources to explore:

Spinitar is a proud dealer and partner for over 100 hand-selected, best-in-class commercial audio, video, and communication technology manufacturers. As a leading dealer/integrator, Spinitar believes in grounding our manufacturer relationships in partnership and excellent client experience. So when our technology partners are awarded by one of AV’s most important trade shows, we think that’s something to brag about!

PSNI - Audio Visual Services

Better Audio Visual Services Through Partnership: PSNI

 

Spinitar is a proud member of the Professional Systems Network International (PSNI), a nationwide network of leaders in audio visual services and unified communication integration. This alliance allows us to provide you with audio-visual and unified communication design, integration, installation, and support services across the United States and Canada.

 

Wherever you work, we can be there.

The PSNI affiliate network meets the requirements best suited to support multi-site, multi-city, and multi-country audio-visual services needs, including:

  • Single-source national coordination, deployment, and project management of pre- and on-site fabricated systems
  • Embedded personnel, crisis and preventative services
  • Established partnerships with enablers, architects, consultants, specialty designers, and contract support
  • Consistent wiring, design, products and software programming at each location
  • On-site staff professionalism for seamless integration and future service/support needs at each location
  • Priority integration and timeline/deadline management to meet client requirements

Spinitar and the PSNI affiliates are a group of award-winning independently owned companies providing exceptional value to and adhering to the highest audio-visual industry standards.

 

Samsung Commercial Displays

Commercial Displays Take AV Out of the Living Room and Into the Boardroom

 

Confused about whether to invest in commercial grade displays for your office or business? There are important differences to consider when choosing between consumer and commercial AV technologies for your business.

Commercial Displays offer:

  • Sleeker chassis than consumer displays
  • More rugged construction for high traffic areas
  • Higher brightness for commercial applications
  • More control over content displayed
  • Expanded connector options
  • And more!

Spinitar’s technology partner, Samsung, offers display solutions on both the consumer side and commercial side. We took some time to create a detailed comparison of features and capabilities to help you choose the best solution for your office, facility, or store.

 

Department of Defense photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

Department of the Army to work with Spinitar UC

Spinitar’s Unified Communications was selected by West Point!

Spinitar is proud to announce the US Army’s selection of our firm to provide audiovisual upgrades to a large number of classrooms and laboratories at the US Military Academy commonly referred to as West Point. West Point was founded by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington on the banks of the Hudson River in 1802.

We will be working with our manufacturer partner Epson America, Inc to provide and install short-throw, interactive projection systems. The goal is to create an intuitive system for instructors and empower cadets to interact within a more collaborative environment.

We are excited to work with the Department of Army and will look to provide a customized audiovisual solution that allows West Point to more effectively train and prepare their cadets for “a career of professional excellence” [from the USCC Mission].

Since 1986, Spinitar has been helping business, government, and education professionals share and disseminate information through the use of audio, visual, and communication services and technology. What experience can Spinitar create for you?