Tag Archives: digital signage


Nathan Barnes Leads Audiovisual in Arizona

At Spinitar, we know that one of our most important strengths is our people. From audiovisual technicians who help to install systems and keep them running to customer success partners who help consult on the right solution, each member of our team is important and appreciated. Our talented folks care deeply about our clients, and we care deeply about our Spinitar family.

Nathan Barnes is a key member of the Spinitar family, helping to manage projects for clients who need on-time, on-budget deployment of advanced audiovisual solutions. Barnes has recently relocated from sunny California to even-sunnier Arizona to head up our project management team in our brand new Tempe office. Spinitar appreciates the project management expertise and ultimate focus on customer success that Barnes provides. We celebrate him here by sharing just a bit more detail about this project management expert leading the charge for advanced audiovisual in Arizona.

About Nathan Barnes, PMP, CTS, LEED GA

Mr. Barnes joined the Spinitar team in July of 2011. Prior to coming to Spinitar, he worked for
another audiovisual integrator where he fulfilled different roles, starting as a Sr. Project Manager, moving into a Director of Project Management role and quickly being promoted to Director of Operations where he oversaw all project operations in Southern California. Barnes is a results-driven management professional with first rate skills in directing full cycle complex projects and initiatives; he values relationships with his colleagues and customers, and places a high emphasis on education, both in the project management profession and in the audiovisual integration industry.

How Nathan Barnes Leads Audiovisual in Arizona


As a Sr. Project Manager for Spinitar, Nathan is responsible for managing, coordinating and
overseeing audiovisual systems integration projects. In this capacity, he manages project budgets, plans project timetables and coordinates personnel activities to ensure that required milestones are being met, integration teams are operating efficiently and clients are informed of project progress and completion timeframes.

Nathan also works closely with Spinitar’s system design teams and support personnel to verify that equipment and staff resources are properly allocated to each client project. As part of the Project Manager role and process, Nathan regularly visits client job sites to coordinate team direction, initiate system testing and oversees final commissioning procedures and training. Ultimately, all of Nathan’s efforts are focused around verifying strong system quality, functionality, and operability for the client.

Read Nathan Barnes’ Latest Blog, “Audiovisual Planning – How to Plan for Your AV Project

Standardize Corporate AV

Standardize Corporate AV to Achieve Gains in Communication and Productivity

Business leaders caught in a web of adapters and cables often wonder if it’s possible to standardize corporate AV to limit the time wasted in adjusting to different technologies and meeting rooms. Standardizing your AV system allows your business to become more connected, creating uniformity across offices and meeting spaces. Simplifying this major business asset or investing in your first standard AV system is a smart move for gains in communication and productivity.

Standardizing Corporate AV to Unite Multiple Locations

If you were an early adopter of AV solutions and have more than one business location, odds are that each office has its own unique setup. While this may have worked for the last several years, it’s likely decreasing your efficiency and ability to collaborate. Managing multiple teams across locations requires seamless collaboration. As you might have experienced, having a situation where every location has a separate AV system can lead to problems and delays. That’s where standardization comes in.

Standardizing your corporate audiovisual system can ensure that all your locations operate using the ideal AV solution. Managing multiple AV systems with many different components can lead to major system breakdown and expensive downtime. According to PSNI, the benefits of standardized AV include:

  • Increase team member mobility. Employees at one office no longer have to surmount the major roadblock of learning new equipment when they switch or visit locations. Instead, employees can immediately continue operations without interruption in the new office, using the AV system as he or she would at the original office. One cohesive system across offices enables greater employee mobility and flexibility.
  • Make troubleshooting a breeze. With just one AV system across all your office locations, individual IT teams will be able to troubleshoot problems with less hassle. Your IT workers will get to know your standardized AV system in and out and solve problems in any office location without having to investigate a brand new system.
  • Enjoy a cohesive system. It’s easier to manage one system compared to forcing two systems to work together. Uniform hardware, software, and operating systems boost business efficiency. One unified AV system optimizes disaster recovery solutions, technology upgrades, and employee training.

Standardize Corporate AV with Professional Help

In 2017, being able to communicate and collaborate quickly and efficiently is key to profitability. Choosing the right advanced audiovisual service provider takes assessing your current AV solutions, defining goals for a unified AV future, and finding a company that offers customized systems and services that fit your needs. Standardizing your audiovisual system will make your life easier. The right provider will make it possible.

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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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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.

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Owning the Makerspace: Take charge of student success


Makerspaces allow students to experiment with hands-on learning in an environment that encourages creativity and expands horizons beyond the classroom. This blog is all about owning the Makerspace – cultivating the leadership that will need to be at the helm to help you take charge of student success. 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. Read on to find out more about owning 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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Spinitar — Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas from Spinitar


2016 has been quite a year around here, and we are incredibly grateful for our employees, partners, and clients who allow us to do what we do best…audio, visual, and communication solutions! The holidays are always a great time to look back and appreciate the gifts of the year. This fun blog shares some of the highlights. Thanks for being a part of our journey!

30 Year Anniversary

Spinitar has been providing quality AV solutions for 30 years now. We celebrated this amazing milestone in May of this year, and are proud to work with all of our wonderful manufacturer partners and vendor partners to keep everyone connected and inspired.

We blogged about it here!

2nd Annual Golf for Hope Tournament

In October, we hosted our 2nd annual golf classic, benefiting City of Hope. In the end, we are incredibly grateful to have been able to support the cancer treatment and research organization through the tournament, including a fun raffle and silent auction made possible by our incredible friends, family, and partners.

Visit our Facebook album to see the fun!

Growing Federal Government Practice

This year, our service to federal government facilities, including design and installation of some very complicated mission control rooms, has expanded exponentially. We are proud to serve our country in this small way, and look forward to providing even more customized AV solutions for state and federal government spaces next year.

New Office Opens in Concord

The expansion continues! We were proud to announce the grand opening of our new office in Concord, CA this November. The new space will help us to serve our West Coast clientele even better, and is a testament to the wonderful successes of our team in California.
Visit our Facebook album to see who joined our office warming party!

Microsoft Surface Hub

The Microsoft Surface Hub is one of the coolest collaboration technologies to hit the market… ever. We are excited to be one of Microsoft’s exclusive dealers for the solution, and really enjoyed launching the Surface Hub at several events this quarter. Look out for your invite in 2017 for more opportunities to try out Surface Hub with your group.

Very Merry Christmas

Here at Spinitar, we place a high value on our business and manufacturer partners. In fact, our partners are one of the top reasons for our success. One way we show our appreciation each year is by celebrating the joy of the holiday season with our annual Partner Appreciation Day.

View our Facebook album to see the fun, food, fellowship and Christmas cheer!

Microsoft Surface Hub

How it Works: Microsoft Surface Hub


Based on a Harvard Business Review study of meetings with remote participants, it takes an average of 12 minutes to get any session started. For people with busy schedules who already tend to view meetings as one of the least productive parts of their week, that 12 minutes can feel like an eternity of wasted time.

Finding ways to solve connectivity and content sharing issues for remote meeting participants, and figuring out how to make meetings engaging and productive became a major motivation for Microsoft in the development of its brand new Surface Hub solution. Read more about the basics of Surface Hub in our previous blog.

This post focuses on the details of how the Microsoft Surface Hub solution works to harness the power of the group, whether participants are in the room, or across the globe.

Easy Connectivity

Rather than spending valuable minutes figuring out how to connect, the Microsoft Surface Hub allows remote meeting participants to easily access any meeting from any Internet-connected device via Skype for Business. For those in the physical meeting space, connecting is as simple as a touch. The Surface Hub can also start and end meetings automatically for the ultimate ease of connectivity.

Content Sharing and Real Collaboration

Without the right collaboration technology, the flow of discussion can be interrupted when someone tries to share content or bring in external data, and faces unexpected technical delays. Most other meeting technologies have not been true content-sharing solutions. Too often, the presenter or those in the meeting room are the only participants who can share and modify content.
The Surface Hub solves this issue by allowing easy content sharing via Skype for remote participants, wireless connectivity to share content in the room from any device, and real time collaboration via touch screen technology.

Businesses have advanced their design, manufacturing and engineering processes and technology, but there is surprisingly still a demand for a tool in that delivers an effective way of accomplishing and advancing group communication goals.

100 Points of Touch

Microsoft acquired industry leading interactive display technology firm Perceptive Pixel in 2012, and has since advanced its own touch glass displays beyond any other offering on the market. The Microsoft Surface Hub includes an “infinite whiteboard” that allows for a fluid ink experience on an 84-inch interactive display. It’s a clever mix of technology and practical use that is designed to give educators and business professionals confidence expressing their thoughts immediately, and can be easily shared with participants electronically.

Runs Windows Natively

Powered by Windows 10, one of Surface Hub’s primary functions is to run Windows applications natively, eliminating the need for customization. Similar to how a smartphone operates, applications like Word, PowerPoint and Excel simultaneously run in their own windows. This means a remote user can present his/her screen via Skype for Business, and the people in the meeting room can still use the infinite whiteboard, web browser, or any other application. They can even clip the content from the presenter and interact with it on the whiteboard while the discussion is still happening.
When the meeting is finished, the Surface Hub can email everyone in the meeting with a OneNote and PDF file so the meeting is saved, meaningful, and actionable.

The Surface Hub is a powerful Windows computer mixed with a world class large, interactive display. It allows the end user to be as creative with their ideas as they can imagine, and harnesses the power of the group to create together!

Integrate with Professional AV Environments

The Surface Hub on its own is an excellent solution for huddle spaces and small conference rooms. Its connection ports are designed to integrate with a professional audio visual system. For a larger conference room or lecture hall, it can be complemented with an external audio, mic and camera systems to create a unified communication environment. Look out for our upcoming post on how to integrate MS Hub with your existing professional AV.

Unlocking the Power of the Group

The Surface Hub effortlessly harnesses the collective knowledge and skills of any group anywhere. It was designed as the best-in-class interactive display, a powerful team collaboration device that advances the way people work together naturally. We believe the Surface Hub can be as transformative to group productivity as the PC was for individuals.

To see the Surface Hub in action, connect with us for your demo today.

Microsoft Surface Hub

Microsoft Surface Hub Transforms Collaboration


From healthcare to education, legal, government, manufacturing, to construction and every industry in between, the Microsoft Surface Hub updates offices and other workspaces to inspire and engage employees and collaborators. Anyone who has training rooms, huddle spaces, conference rooms, classrooms or any other indoor collaboration space can benefit from Microsoft’s brand new technology that helps workers everywhere to “unlock the power of the group.”

As Forrester Research puts it, “Many enterprises struggle with gaps in their workplace collaboration technology, environments that are not built for collaboration, and cultures that do not fully support teams to achieve better outcomes. The result is teams that are not as effective as they could be.”
The brand new Microsoft Surface Hub addresses this problem with technology that transforms collaboration.

The Microsoft Surface Hub Encourages Productive Meetings

  • Surface Hub can detect when you’re in front of it and will start the meeting automatically as its admin.
  • Everything needed to present and capture information during a meeting is within the Hub, including an infinite whiteboard, presentation platforms like MS PowerPoint, video/audio playback, file sharing and much more.
  • Meeting invites can be sent from the Hub during a meeting as the conversation evolves.
  • The 84” Surface Hub plays video in 4k for stunning presentation of creative assets.

The Microsoft Surface Hub Manages Follow Up Automatically

  • Any information captured in a meeting can be sent automatically when a meeting ends.
  • Leaders can select specific individuals to send to, including those who weren’t able to attend the meeting.

Harnessing the Power of Collaboration

The modern workplace is fast-paced, mobile, creative and collaborative. Smart people working together to solve complex problems in business need technology than can unlock the power of their group. Too often, people view meetings as a time sucking journey away from productivity. The dreaded meeting reminder doesn’t have to be so dreaded anymore with Microsoft’s brand new Surface Hub technology, which assures meeting start and end on time, and provides the perfect tools to capture real time collaboration that moves the business forward.

Surface Hub is the Most Effective Touchscreen Ever Built

Microsoft created Surface Hub to work natively with Windows 10. As a result, it is the most effective version of any touchscreen platform ever created. The built-in computer eliminates the need to toggle through inputs when using third party apps. It’s familiar, it’s fast, and it’s backed by the trusted and relied upon Microsoft platform.


Microsoft Surface Hub

Unlock the Power of the Group with Microsoft Surface Hub


Microsoft Surface Hub is a brand new presentation and conferencing technology that will transform the way we work in groups. As you know, some of the most productive work happens when you make the most of the collective knowledge and skills of a group. However, effective collaboration can sometimes be hard, especially when some members of the team work remotely, or when a company has several physical locations, all with smart people who should be involved with creating the best work possible.

Microsoft Surface Hub is like an infinite whiteboard that helps unlock the power of the group.

From designers, to manufacturers, trainers, finance directors, marketers, product developers and so many others are singing the praises of the Microsoft Surface Hub.

Microsoft Surface Hub Brings Versatility On Demand

The 55″and 84″ Microsoft Surface Hub both create a true ‘wow’ factor in a room, but collaboration isn’t limited to meetings. A brainstorm can happen anywhere, anytime…and with a single tap on any device. It’s a unique technology that harnesses the power of collaboration through multi-touch, inking, voice commands, even communication capabilities like storing past iterations of ideas, and automatically sending meeting notes to participants.

Harness the Power of the Hub

Spinitar is pleased to host a special event on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 where you can experience this amazing new technology for yourself. Join us at our La Mirada offices, and find out how you can harness the power of the Microsoft Surface Hub.

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

Classroom Visuals

How to Use Visual Learning Tools Outside the Classroom


Visual learning tools are traditionally used in classrooms to enhance student learning through charts, manipulatives, and other interactive materials. However, the power of a well-designed visual can extend beyond the teaching context to contribute to student success outside the classroom as well. Spinitar partner VariQuest® offers technologies that also help to empower coaches, counselors, administrators, and support staff to promote student engagement and even fundraise.

Here are some ideas that can help you Educate, Communicate, Motivate and Fundraise ™:


Classroom Rules & Communications

  • Promote good citizenship through banners and posters throughout the school.
  • List standards of conduct by adding the school logo or mascot to a poster with a clever acronym for expectations (ex. Mustang P.R.I.D.E.).
  • List safety tips and game rules for physical play and activities (ex. Stay Hydrated, Keep Your Hands to Yourself, Stop and Listen if You Hear a Whistle).
  • List school rules and ask students to place in order of importance using the VariQuest® Poster Maker 3600 and the VariQuest® Cutout Maker 1800.
  • Parent Reminders! Parent Posters! Parent Banners! …need we say more?


Character Education

  • Use the Poster Maker 3600 or the Perfect Plus 2400 to create student birthday posters to place on classroom doors and/or hallways.
  • Create a Student of the Week template using the Perfect Plus Design System and display in the hallway to encourage self-esteem and in celebration of peer success.


  • Use the Poster Maker 3600 to list all the names of graduating students on one continuous banner that can be rolled down the side of a building or a large wall in the gymnasium.


  • The School Library can offer visuals for use in classrooms for a small fee. Money donations can go to library programs, or be put back into the grade or program requesting the visuals.
  • Teachers can place rolls of Poster Maker and the Perfecta paper on classroom materials lists for parents. Parents and community members can also pitch in to provide each teacher with his/her own roll of paper to use.
  • Create posters of main characters in a book or historical story, and have students interact with it by writing words that describe that character. Students could even buy the poster for a small donation (25 cents) if they are a fan. Literary and historical characters are sometimes among the first people we label as heroes. The Perfecta Plus 2400 prints a 17” medium size poster perfect for this idea.
  • Allow parents to request a banner or poster. Families have lots of celebrations and happenings that could warrant the need of a banner or poster. See how this high school took the idea to the next level by creating a student-run enterprise.

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!

AV Equipment

What’s Your Outdated AV Equipment Really Costing You?


Our clients routinely tell us that technology updates are their largest, unplanned expenses. At first glance, spending money on maintaining and replacing your audio visual (AV) system may not seem like a necessary investment, but an outdated or unreliable system could be costing you far more than you realize. Let’s look at a few of the expenses you may not have considered.

Loss of Potential Customers

A mistake we often see is that companies don’t consider on-site, customer visits a part of their brand experience. In reality, everything from how your receptionist greets visitors to the cleanliness of your bathrooms can make a large impact on how potential customers view your brand. Most importantly, however, where do we most often take our visitors? Conference rooms.
Consider this scenario: your beautiful conference room with leather chairs and oak table is prepared with bottled water and a logoed pen and paper at every seat. There are even snacks, sweets, and coffee at the back of the room. Then you start up your presentation on an old projector that no one can see because of the sun is shining in the room. Throughout the meeting, you have to yell to the people sitting across the room because your audio system went down a few months prior.
Just like a nice website or a chic office space, there’s something to be said for bright, new, shiny, state-of-the art AV technology. It makes an impression on people and can alter the way a company is viewed by visitors.

Space and Energy Costs

We’ve seen otherwise nice, large conference rooms collect dust because the AV system badly needed a refresh. This is an area where cost can be hard to identify, but if conference rooms, huddle spaces, auditoriums, etc. are not being used, you are paying for unused space. That’s money down the drain. Not to mention the loss of productivity that these rooms were designed to facilitate. It really doesn’t take much, a dim projector, a fuzzy display, or poor audio and a room is suddenly no longer useful.
More often than not, failing to make updates to AV systems can lead to a bunch of smaller expenses that make an impact in the long run. The large cost of putting a VP or guest speaker on a plane can normally be avoided using video conferencing methods like GoToMeeting or Skype, but staff members lose this option when AV systems aren’t functioning well. Newer AV systems are also significantly more energy efficient. That means additional savings going directly to your bottom line.

IT Time and Expense

Now let’s look at maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair from your IT staff’s point of view. Although digital options have been available for some time now, there are older systems around that are using analog solutions. Organizations that are still using analog should seriously consider upgrading to a newer, digital AV system because it can be connected to the company’s network. This helps the IT crew monitor the system, complete maintenance tasks, and resolve issues faster. They’d be the first to tell you that networkable systems are much easier to manage, update, and fix when broken. Having network access makes their jobs easier, and it minimizes downtime.
Large enterprise customers and those with multiple spaces or locations will experience significant benefits with network-integrated AV systems. Issues can be fixed remotely, saving time and travel expense. This is also a big convenience for those using managed IT services instead of in-house staffing.

Employee Morale and Retention

Qualified and reliable workers are hard to find and keep these days. AV systems that won’t seem to work, or systems that don’t get repaired in a timely manner, are a huge source of frustration for your employees. Lack of proper training on how to use the systems can also be a big culprit here.
Nobody wants to fight with uncooperative equipment in front of a conference room full of co-workers, or worse, a client. Up-to-date technology and proper training make for a less stressful work environment and can help employees feel valued and happier with their jobs. Hiring and training new staff is almost always more expensive than keeping those you already have.

Upfront Costs vs. Long-Term Savings

When our customers sit down with us to discuss upgrading or replacing their current AV systems, often times they only see the costs of products and implementation services involved. However, there are many benefits and savings associated with newer technology. Today’s equipment can provide valuable opportunities in the areas of video conferencing, remote access, and professional presentations that win new clients. We’d love to sit down and talk with you about these exciting possibilities as it relates to your business.

Spinitar-CTA- Showroom

Classroom Visuals

Building a School Culture Through Positive Visual Content

Students and parents need to be assured by the school’s atmosphere and overall presentation while walking around and engaging with the hallways, classrooms and common areas. What better way to engage them than with quality classroom visuals? Customized layouts of learning materials, poster-sized photographs of the school’s own smiling children & faculty, and awards that recognize exceptional students are wonderful ways to build a genuine community within the school and encourage everyone’s success.

Changing Classroom Visuals Often and Easily

If the collateral the students see around school and classrooms never change, they will eventually tune it all out. In order to create a fresh and exciting atmosphere, a school has to occasionally freshen itself up, and the only way this happens is if a school makes it easy for their staff to create new visuals.

When teachers have to provide their own visuals for their classrooms, it can either be expensive to buy or time-consuming to create. The teacher must come up with designs, find photographs and often will pay for the final product out-of-pocket. When a teacher is busy and paying for their own teaching materials and other school supplies, changing their classroom visuals can be daunting and unfeasible, economically. Finding a way to help teachers create these relevant visuals easily and affordably can provide the support and acknowledgement that what they are doing is important and worth their time.

Better Behavior and a Sense of Pride

Looking at any entity that’s trying to build a positive culture, be it a military group, a sports team or a business, you’ll see they all display their pride. They hang up quotes, mission statements and taglines for motivation, they tout the rules that they follow and the great achievements they’ve had. Schools can do the same. To promote good behavior, a school can hang it’s code of conduct in the hallways and teachers can have their own specific to their classrooms. Pictures of alumnus and mascots can promote school spirit. A mural from a street artist can provide a hip, artistic culture or maybe something black and white for a classic culture. If you want your school to have a culture, the school itself, from staff to teacher has to display it proudly.

Helping the Teacher Show, not Tell, the Students

Everyone can remember being stumped by a math problem. And why not? Math feels abstract until students can visualize it; it’s a bunch of rules and the reasoning behind them can be difficult to understand at first. When dividing two fractions, multiply the divisor by the reciprocal? Why? Shrug.

This “indifference” is how many students feel. It makes them feel less than confident . When they have visual learning tools to help show why a rule needs to be followed, however, it’s easier to remember. Instead of verbally explaining a problem to the class, a teacher can show the student with meaningful classroom visuals. If the rule is displayed on a poster in the classroom, students will continue to engage with the material until it makes sense. By creating an environment conducive to learning, a school creates a positive learning culture.

Engaging the Daydreamers With Their Eyes

80% of what we perceive is through sight. Remember when your attention wandered and you started looking around the room? Savvy, enabled teachers can use this daydreaming to their advantage with posters and cut outs about the battles being taught in History or by setting images behind poems being studied in Literature. Classroom visuals like large photographs of real situations showing us abstract concepts can help engage students.

Making People Feel Special

Between losing recess privileges, getting detention and being sent to the principal’s office, students are getting plenty of discipline, but what about positive recognition? When shiny star stickers lose their allure, professional looking plaques and awards can really make a difference. A teacher equipped with the proper tools can also create games to hang on the wall to incentivize good behavior. Imagine a poster that allows the class to move the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria closer to the U.S.A., if they did their homework and can answer the teacher’s questions that day.

The Right Tools for the Job

Teachers can’t afford to purchase their own classroom visuals, let alone turn them over as the curriculum changes throughout the year. Schools looking to improve their culture need to provide basic tools like a poster and cutout makers for their staff. Many of these tools come with their own design center and design templates that make it easy to generate professional looking visuals for the classroom, hallways, and campus in minutes.

With easy-to-construct classroom visuals, the entire school’s culture benefits. By creating interactive and engaging learning experiences using visuals, students will learn cognitively, teachers can contribute their expertise demonstratively and everyone will actually enjoy and benefit!

Visual Learning Tools

Visual Learning Tools

Q&A: The impact of Visual Learning Tools on Lesson Retention in the Classroom


The importance of visual learning tools to lesson retention for students is undeniable at this juncture, as great articles covering visual note-taking by Meghan Everette on Scholastic.com, and 10 Strategies to Enhance Students’ Memory by Glenda Thorne over at ReadingRockets.com demonstrate. We sat down with one of our classroom visual tools experts here at Spinitar to find out how educators are using VariQuest™ visual learning tools to increase lesson retention inside classrooms today.

Q: What are some of the challenges educators are facing when it comes to lesson retention in the classroom or at home?

Michelle: Something we don’t often talk about is the time spent on traditional repetition activities. This allowed students to solidify information in their memory, but has been significantly reduced. One of the major challenges educators now face is more intense course curriculums, which leave teachers with less time-per-topic or time-per-lesson. Larger class sizes, tighter schedules, and increased homework requirements are compounding the problem and leaving educators with less opportunity to put lessons in front of the students’ eyes.

Q: Why is it important to have tools that help with lesson retention?

Michelle: There are two reasons that seem to come up often – time and distractions. The great thing about visual learning tools is that they don’t necessarily require time to be set aside to be effective, like apps and computer programs do. Putting visually appealing and engaging content on the classroom walls and/or into the hands of students makes the lesson more readily available. The repetition of seeing a poster with a particular concept will resonate longer than the blocks of teaching time that are disappearing year over year.

For the kinesthetic and visual learners, these tools can enhance the lessons being given during class and may even trump the lessons given only through temporary visuals and auditory means. These types of learners may have the lesson resonate and remain with them at a higher rate when static visuals are available.

Also, there are many distractions for students both inside and outside of the classroom – family life, social happenings, cell phones, etc. Creating a visual feast in the classroom allows a teacher to transform any room into an interactive learning environment that is different than the world outside. Providing teachers the right tools – like posters, manipulatives, and/or plaque awards for student recognition – will help to reduce distractions in a classroom and to create an environment that is different, engaging, and/or thought provoking. The tools and their effects will have a huge impact on student learning and classroom participation. If for any other reason, because it’s different. It helps set up an attitude of attention and participation when a student knows that the lesson they are about to learn will involve all of their senses.

With visual learning tools, students and parents together can also create their own learning environment at home. Taking the lesson outside of the classroom is also a big factor when it comes to improving lesson retention and impacting critical thinking skills.

Q: In your opinion, what is one of the most effective visual learning tools educators have access to through someone like Spinitar?

Michelle: The Poster Maker/Perfecta gives teachers the ability to create static visual recaps of lessons that students can reference simply with a glance. In some cases, our teachers are even minimizing the visuals into half-posters that students can then take home and display in an area where they spend the most time studying. The ability to create visual content and lessons beyond minimum requirements in the classroom empowers these teachers to go beyond the confines of their classroom, and drive home those lessons.

Teachers are also using the Poster Maker/Perfecta to highlight critical portions of their lessons, incorporating anchor charts and graphic organizers pre-designed within the VariQuest™ software. They are able to put an emphasis on the overarching messages which are critical to helping students understand the value or point of each lesson. Often times, we find that students lose interest in a lesson simply because they missed a key point that could have been better reinforced if the teacher had more facetime with students. Visual learning tools like lesson posters increase that facetime by always being present in the classroom.

Q: What advice would you give teachers struggling to integrate visual learning tools into their lesson plans or routine processes?

Michelle: We know how busy and overwhelmed teachers get in the classroom these days. We work along with Variquest to find ways to simplify the use of these different tools so that teachers can spend more of their time and energy on what to focus their assets on instead of how to create them.

For example, the VariQuest™ software has a number of supplemental learning modules in the subject areas of science, math, language arts, and social studies. These can be used to quickly and easily adapt to the day’s lesson. By removing the requirement of designing, we’re giving teachers back their precious time and removing additional work from their plates.

For more information about visual learning tools, the templates available to VariQuest customers, and how Spinitar can help you in the classroom, email Michelle Cromer at crm@spinitar.com with questions and requests.

Visual Learning Tools