Telemedicine – AV Technology In Healthcare

According to, telemedicine (which may also be referred to as tele-health, e-health or virtual healthcare) “seeks to improve a patient’s health by permitting two-way, real time interactive communication between the patient, and the physician or practitioner at the distant site. This electronic communication means the use of interactive telecommunications equipment that includes, at a minimum, audio and video equipment.”

CCS Presentation Systems has been busy getting to know the varying technologies being applied to telemedicine, which are mainly long-trusted AV solutions that have been modified/adapted to best suit physicians and their staff in providing medical treatment. Some of these products include:

Telemedicine Stations/Carts

These mobile AV carts provide a hub for a secure, integrated telemedicine encounter, anywhere that visit takes place: in a medical clinic or hospital, at a remote site, at a patient’s home, in the workplace, school-based or correctional environment. Telemedicine devices such as a microphone, visual display, hearing impaired communication keyboard, and a computer with diagnosis software all have a role in these intricate carts.

The station version, which is usually stationary instead of a mobile cart, can be a wall mounted screen with multiple devices secured to and working interactively with it. This solution supports physicians in diagnosing symptoms and consulting patients remotely anywhere they may be, and is great for small spaces such as a remote physician’s home office.

Examination Cameras

Capturing high-quality live video and still imagery are essential components of an effective telemedicine program. Exam cameras are high definition, optical zoom compatible and some digital versions are capable of zooming in up to 120x the standard view. An adjustable arm that rotates makes it easy for the physician to see exactly what’s going on with the patient on a clear, high resolution display.

Optic Imagery/Opthalmoscope

Revolutionary ophthalmoscopes address the fundamental challenge in remote ophthalmoscopy – to get a good view of the entire eye and remotely share those images to make an assessment. The optics make it easy to enter non-dilated pupils with a 25-degree field of view that is 5X greater than a standard ophthalmascope. The camera attachment captures 8MP images up to 30 frames per second. The wider field of view allows a practitioner to more easily observe conditions such as hypertension, diabetic retinopathy and papilledema.

Bluetooth EEG devices

On a daily basis, thousands of patients in emergency departments and ICU’s suffer from conditions that indicate for an intermediate EEG: seizures, coma, and altered states of consciousness. Due to the complexity of the set-up, cost, and unavailability of expert readers only a small fraction will receive a timely EEG. Streaming data wirelessly, a Bluetooth headset seamlessly transmits the EEG data to any Windows™ based laptop or tablet PC eliminating cables and clutter from the patient care arena. EEG data is immediately available for review via the cloud and EEG reader is notified via text that a file is ready.

Streaming Stethoscopes

Streaming stethoscopes provide a very simple, software-based way to transmit heart, breath and bowel sounds in real time. The software can be used independently or in conjunction with videoconferencing to allow for versatility. This technology uses a chest piece on the transmitting side and high quality headphones on the receiving side. The receiving side will be able to connect the call and, once connected, adjust the frequency filter to ensure the correct range is being emphasized. The receiving side will also be able to record transmissions and can be used simultaneously with video for a more in-person interaction. It’s as easy as plugging in the chest piece and headphones into the computer, launching the software, selecting a site from a drop down menu, and clicking connect.

When you can’t assess a patient in person, digital medical devices can help you gather vitals, monitor progress, view ultrasounds, hear heart and lung sounds and capture images of skin, ears, eyes and other areas. Digital devices such as these take telemedicine a step further in that they easily enable more patient details to be saved in EMRs (electronic medical records).

There are hundreds more devices on the market to deliver safe and reliable telemedicine services, these devices were just a handful of the impressive options available. CCS Presentation Systems would work with a hospital, remote clinic or adult care facility to either integrate their current AV systems to their incoming telemedicine technology, or install the latest systems that would be compatible with the telemedicine types they plan to use in the near future.

Contact the CCS corporate office to schedule a project walk:

Didn’t Attend Infocomm This Year? Get The Major Highlights Here

The nation’s largest AV product and integrator conference was held June 4th-10th in Las Vegas, Nevada. InfoComm is the largest, most exciting event in the Western Hemisphere focused on the pro-AV industry, with more than 1,000 exhibitors, thousands of products, and nearly 40,000 attendees from 110+ countries. The InfoComm show is a once-a-year opportunity to see the latest audiovisual technology, learn skills that will advance your career, and grow your professional network.

CCS Presentation Systems had representatives from around the country attending the conference and everyone was able to take some unique experiences home to their teams, along with inspiration for new project types and new products to introduce to clients.

From the CCS Southwest office, Rod Andrewson, Manager of Technology and Quality Control and a seasoned Systems Engineer with over 30 years of experience in the professional AV field, gave some key conference takeaways below:

What were some of the newest AV innovations showcased at the conference?

  • I think there was a lot of interest in Dante-enabled products. QSC has enabled or opened video up on their proprietary QLan network and is now selling its own HD cameras
  • Vaddio’s Auto Trac system is very stable (I really did try to break it, no luck, worked perfectly)
  • Shure’s new Micro flex ceiling arrays are awesome and available
  • The Intel Unite software is very cool! Take a look
  • Bluescape Digital visual collaboration is a very exciting and thought provoking product for many vertical markets that need real-time or off-line collaboration solutions
  • Crestron’s Commercial DSP products are a very exciting opportunity to make the install easier and smoother
  • Crestron has done this product the right way. They brought in the right talent and listened to the right people to create a product that pulls in one piece of the Commercial AV pie and does it well
  • Wireless content display has finally matured to a healthy point. Mersive and their Solstice product is great. WePresent and Kramer’s Via products are also very full feature and reliable
  • PakEdge is the bomb for your networking needs. They have really tailored the products to suit the commercial and residential market, but even more importantly they are a total solution provider. The products support all of the packet technology I need covered, streaming video, packetized audio, control and plain old They have the product, incredible sales tools, training and great technical support.

Was there a solution you found at the conference that targeted a specific challenge currently in the AV industry?

  • Indoor LED displays were a big focus for me this year and I obviously found it on the show floor. The products have matured, the cost has come down, and they are giving flat panel video walls a run for their money
  • 5 – 2.5 LED displays are really good looking and reduce or eliminate the “crosshair” effect that so many folks just can’t let go of
  • NanoLumen grand opened an incredible showroom in Las Vegas right off the strip to allow customers to see their product up close, and with the content you want to see in a shoot type environment

From a specific LED display manufacturer point of view, all the big manufacturers have jumped on board the LED band wagon, either with their product or acquisitions. Leyard and Planar, NEC, Christie, Silicon Core, NanoLumens, Samsung and I know I am leaving several out. I really liked the Absen products and the partnership approach they have. Their products are well placed in the 2-4 mm range, they look great are easy to install and the company has priced the products right, they have stock on the shelves in the states and are easy to work with.

This is not a fad, LED displays are viable replacements for large displays in auditoriums, classrooms, house of worship and of course retail and corporate applications. So the time is now to jump on board.

What market sector do you think currently has the most demand for AV innovation?

  • I think there is a lot of room for Innovation in the Digital Signage market, Display technology, DSP and Collaboration technologies and tools. I also think that BYOD based audio distribution in facilities is poised to really make an impact.
  • Audio Everywhere, BroadcastVision, Listen, all have solutions that allow users to see and hear what that want or need to hear on their phone, tablet or PC. The markets are Retail and Hospitality, Education, Fitness, Medical, etc.
  • Probably the biggest opportunity in the commercial space right now is Video over IP solutions. SVSI has a big head start but there several others out there that offer whole suites of applications to bring an entirely different level of value to the table.

What was your favorite part of the conference overall?

My favorite part of InfoComm is usually the Exhibit Floor. This year that was really the case. I spent three days with wall to wall meetings all designed around specific needs and opportunities.

Contact Rod with any questions or to get in touch before the next show!
Rod Andrewson, CTS
Manager of Technology and Quality Control 
CCS Presentation Systems
17350 North Hartford Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85255

CCS Helped Make A Difference By Having Fun!

Remember the Dodge for Dreams Dodgeball for Charity event we had so much fun at? With the event proceeds the organization purchased a school bus in Maryland and shipped it to the kids at Village for Life in Ghana, Africa. Here’s a screenshot from the program director’s Facebook page with a photo of the bus and driver, how cool is that!

This means all the kids in the surrounding villages can attend school.

We are proud of Global Rescue Project for the time and effort they took in making a difference for children across the globe!

CCS Southwest Wins Charity Dodgeball Tournament in Scottsdale for Global Rescue Project!

CCS Southwest Wins Charity Dodgeball Tournament in Scottsdale for Global Rescue Project!

Team Name: Dodge, Dodge, Baby

22 teams competed in the tournament!

Global Rescue Project (GRP) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Arizona. GRP was established to help end human slavery in Ghana, West Africa and other parts of the world and to educate our youth in the United States about poverty, slavery and the importance of education. It is vital to get our children involved in projects to help others around the world and in their own backyard. Our local and international projects go hand in hand.  It is the mission of GRP to eliminate and prevent the spread of modern-day slavery by bringing hope to victims throughout the globe, including more than 7,000 children who are suffering with daily, life threatening duties within Ghana’s fishing industry. Finding solutions on domestic and global fronts and protecting the victims of human horror and trafficking is critical to those involved with GRP. By creating awareness, GRP will create new opportunities to nurture change – bringing light to those living in darkness.

GRP is interested in people, no matter where they were born or what color they are. Our goal is to bring hope to all people across the world that may have lost it along the way. Through education we can beat poverty, through love we can be united. GRP believes that every single person is counted and measured with the same amount of love as the next. We want every community to be self sufficient, to rely on themselves to raise their families and give back to their own communities. GRP will develop and implement programs to walk along side of these communities to help build them up and slowly dig their way out of poverty.

More information on this wonderful organization can be found here –

Higher Education AV trends for 2016 – From Smart to Intelligent

CCS Presentation Systems has seen a shift in the AV technology used in higher education, particularly relating to collaboration based technology and devices used for individual study. We have adapted over time to understand that each year, the use of AV technology evolves to best interact with software advancements, and the more software grows to be truly interactive, collaborative and even 3D, the more AV hardware will evolve to deliver the ultimate user experience.

In December 2015, Jonathan Owens, CTS made predictions to AV Network on the trends we would see in our industry in 2016, especially in higher education applications. Jonathan Owens is a multi-disciplinary consultant at Shen Milsom & Wilke, LLC, a New York-based audio visual technology consulting firm. His predictions were spot on as the year has progressed and we’re coming up on the half way mark. Read more below on what has changed and what will continue to change:

The Intelligence Age

2015 continued us down the path of the Information Age. However due to the increase in capabilities within consumer devices, the way is being paved for a new Intelligence Age. This means when we can finally start doing something useful with all that data our “smart” devices have been collecting.


This technology is currently available in many forms such as occupancy sensing, RFID, NFC, and Bluetooth beaconing. Right now many of these technologies are fads and used sparingly in select applications. I believe 2016 will show these fads finally fading, and allowing the technology to work together in ways that allow the AV systems to become part of a larger building intelligence system. Data from systems that manage room scheduling or Bluetooth beaconing to track users within a facility can tie into building lighting and HVAC systems to create a more efficient environment.

Bring Your Own Identity

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has been popping up all over the place within technology systems. 2016 will start to see useful implementations of the BYOI (Bring Your Own Identity) model. BYOI works by authenticating a user inside the enterprise network by their trusted identity. This can be bound to a mobile device or RFID card, but eventually will evolve into an identity within the cloud based infrastructure. This will allow users to show up to a meeting with their identity, without needed extraneous devices. My content, applications, preference, etc. are associated with my identity that I can use to access systems allowed to me. This will become more common as AV/IT converges even further; eliminating the need to bring a mobile device and download an app in order to present and collaborate with the room systems. It pushes the user-cumbersome tasks into the background and allows for a seamless and intelligent user-experience.

UCC Bridging and True Collaboration

The last major trend the intelligence age will bring is the convergence of unified communications and collaboration platforms. Many players have been coming to market with wireless collaboration technologies and UCC bridging software. The user of the future is going to want to be automatically identified and authenticated into the system, then be given the option to connect to a conference in the manner they choose regardless of the host platform. Right now this is partially possible but it requires multiple pieces of software, and even then the full user experience is not there. With the way these technologies have been advancing, I am hopeful that 2016 will bring some major improvements that will change the way AV/IT behaves in shaping the ultimate experience.

Not all classroom environments need the latest and greatest technology to be fully functional and serve their purpose. Some might just need the ability to mirror a tablet, while others may need a revamp of the network and technology within. So while it’s tempting to want to design a system around the best technology on the market, we need to take a step back and design solutions around the most important aspect that ultimately defines the success of a system: the end user.

Contact the CCS corporate office to schedule a project walk:

CCS Southwest now a MakerBot dealer!

CCS Southwest now a MakerBot dealer:

3D printing is one of the newest technologies being used in K-12 today. It is providing more creative ways to enhance curriculum and opening students’ eyes to the endless possibilities of technology. Providing STEM teachers with the tools they need will not only encourage retention but it will motivate student learning with the outcome of greater success in math and science.

What is 3D printing?

If you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, here’s the best explanation we can illustrate on how 3D printing works: The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.

How does 3D printing work?

It all starts with making a virtual design of the object you want to create. This virtual design is made in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file using a 3D modeling program (for the creation of a totally new object) or with the use of a 3D scanner (to copy an existing object). A 3D scanner makes a 3D digital copy of an object. MakerBot printers come with a license for the easy-to-use Makerbot Desktop software and access to the Thingiverse online library where users can find thousands of downloadable 3D design files for free.

To prepare a digital file for printing, the 3D modeling software “slices” the final model into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers. When the sliced file is uploaded in a 3D printer, the object can be created layer by layer. The 3D printer reads every slice (or 2D image) and creates the object, blending each layer with hardly any visible sign of the layers, with as a result the three dimensional object.

View more about MakerBot in education applications by requesting case studies here

In this collection of MakerBot Education Stories, you’ll discover how 3D printing jumpstarts learning from kindergarten through higher education. Learn how 3D printing is empowering teachers and students to advance STEAM project-based learning, solve problems through experimentation, understand complex concepts through design, study historical objects through 3D printed simulation, and more.

Check out the YouTube video here!

Contact us for more information or to see it in action, in person!

CCS President’s Club awards CCS Team Members For Excellence In Customer Service

CCS Presidents Club event in Sedona – March 31-April 3. 
(Picture caption) Top salespeople from across the country joined together in Sedona, AZ to celebrate their achievement with CCS owners and manufacturing partners. Winners included (l to r) – Abe Assad, Cassie Wells, Heather Trenholm, Tony Piowarsy, John Trimble, and Zach Potter (not shown).

The CCS President’s Club, which is an annual sales program, was created to recognize CCS’ outstanding employees who have been instrumental in the company’s success during the past year. The program provides incentives for employees in all CCS regions and rewards them for meeting company performance goals and recognizes their service to fellow team members.

Founder of CCS John Godbout, who is also the CEO of the Arizona and New Mexico regions joined the inductees to award them for their dedication and hard work. Additionally, the executive teams from many of the CCS regions were in attendance along with several manufacturing partners.

“Employee retention has always been important to us and when you have team members generating sales that have contributed to the company’s best overall year in its history that’s definitely worth celebrating,” said John Godbout. “We are thrilled to continue the President’s Club retreat and look forward to doing it for many years to come.”

The Verdict is in: AV Systems Will Shape The Future Of The Judiciary Process

Today’s courtrooms are facing unprecedented technological demands, unlike anything that their predecessors faced in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Extron Electronics has outlined the needs of the ever evolving judicial facility and specifically the courtroom of the near future. Municipal budgets will be strategically focused on infrastructure and transportation efficiency in the coming years, leaving judicial facilities expansion on the back burner. Some states budget money for judiciary facilities regardless of the health of the state’s economy, but many don’t.

AV technology will have to step in to make existing facilities more efficient, by being able to service more people, complete the judiciary process in a faster, more efficient manner and catalog information quickly and easily directly from the courtroom.

Extron’s assessment of room needs for the near future courtroom includes:

Staffing The judge and clerk are responsible for managing the courtroom. They both need touch panel displays with video confidence feedback to control and manage content throughout the proceedings. The clerk may be required to display recorded evidence from his or her workstation PC. Either the judge or the clerk may restrict viewing of the evidence to the jury and audience, by muting the video signal to specific displays.
Display Requirements Displays are required for the jury box, such as found in a federal bankruptcy court, so that each juror may have an unobstructed view of the evidence being presented or of testimony from a remote witness. The prosecution and defense tables have two monitors each: one for displaying evidence and the other for viewing information from the videoconference system. A projection system may also be used to display information.
Sources and Connectivity Laptops, PCs, paper documents, and video presentations are the primary content used to introduce and show evidence to the judge and/or jury. Electronic evidence is submitted through a central evidence center, and may require annotation or markup to highlight specific details. A touchpad and keyboard for annotating evidence is provided at the lectern, the defense table, and the prosecution table. Different annotation colors are used at each location.
Special Requirements A fiber optic infrastructure and switching system is used for the distribution of all video signals. The use of a fiber optic infrastructure “future-proofs” the system, ensuring future video resolutions and rates are supported. In a larger courthouse, switching systems for multiple courtrooms can be consolidated into a central equipment room to simplify cabling and reduce costs.

A case in point: AV implementation can reduce costs in more ways than you could imagine.

In the name of judicial transparency, many trials are now being broadcast. This requires the creation of multiple video camera positions in the courtroom, plus microphone installations for judges, witnesses, legal counsel and even jury members.

As well as cameras, video and computer information is increasingly being used in legal proceedings. This compels courtrooms to be equipped with high-resolution video monitors, multimedia sources and servers, and to have access to the Internet for bringing in evidence from remote sites.

These Internet connections are also being tasked for video arraignments, where suspects are interviewed by videoconferencing links from their jail cells, rather than being transported to and from court. In addition, these connections support remote translation services for suspects and witnesses who do not speak English. This ensures that they have the chance to understand the trial proceedings and testify in their native languages, without the cost of a translator being brought into court.

Kevin Sandler is the CEO and founder of ExhibitOne, a Phoenix-based AV engineering firm that has done nearly 2,300 AV installations nationwide during its 18 years in business. Its courtroom AV projects include the recently-completed Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach, Calif., which has a range of AV systems across its 31 courtrooms, judges’ chambers, jury rooms and offices. “Over the past 18 years, we have seen a fundamental transformation in AV technology from analog to digital,” said Sandler.

“In the place of CRT displays and VGA cables, we are now seeing a full range of IT/IP-based components making their way into America’s courtrooms; including Crestron projection and control systems.”

Panasonic interactive display panels are also being installed in American courtrooms, allowing lawyers to illustrate their arguments using touch screen displays and multi-colored electronic pens for real-time annotations.

The future of AV needs is being specified as we speak.

The Utah Judicial Facility Design Standards document was recently released on March 29, 2016 and included individual AV requirements throughout the document for all of the following areas:

Building entry and lobby

Courtroom waiting areas

Main courtrooms

Judicial office & support

Judicial assistant’s office and support

Court programs and offices

Secure holding and circulation

Building support and maintenance

Shared/public spaces

Martin Gruen, deputy director of courtroom design and technology for the Center for Legal and Court Technology, says that, “The biggest change is that the courts do a great deal more videoconferencing and digital evidence presentation than in years past. Videoconferencing is not the science fiction it was years ago. The technology has improved and the costs have come down.” Gruen says that even a small courthouse can afford a LifeSize Passport videoconferencing system, a broadband connection, and a router. He adds, “The real question is: can you afford not to?”

Gruen adds, “Control systems are an absolute necessity, but the program must be a simple, intuitive design. They need one button control for devices like document cameras. Attorneys are not tech experts.” Perhaps a large barrier to more digital video adoption is the switch from analog to digital video and the issues it creates. “Changing the aspect ratio from 4:3 to 16:9 seems like an easy switch, but it sometimes alters the presentation of evidence like a hand print. The distorted image can have a psychological effect on the jury,” Gruen explains.

The General Services Administration (GSA) estimated in 2006 that there are approximately 2,158 federal courtrooms in the United States. That number doesn’t reflect the thousands of state and district courts that also rely on modern AV technology for their proceedings, nor does it reflect the thousands of judges, attorneys, and support staff who rely on AV everyday to do their job around the world.

If you have a judiciary facility that needs an audio visual assessment for cost efficiencies and better service to patrons, contact CCS Presentation Systems at one of the 13 nationwide locations. Every state in the nation is covered by our regional locations, and an on-site assessment can be scheduled within 72 hours.

Contact the corporate office to schedule a project walk!

(480) 348-0100 or email:

Classrooms On Camera – Controversial Or Critical?

By Wayne D’Orio, Scholastic Administrator

Is it inevitable that someday soon every classroom in every school will be videotaped?

That sounds crazy, but here’s how some districts are benefitting from video.

Gary Shattuck thought he knew a bad idea when he heard one. In 2011, Shattuck, the director of technology and media services for Newton County Schools in Covington, Georgia, put microphones on some of his teachers to see if amplifying their voices improved instruction. It did, and it created a bigger impact than he or his colleagues had ever imagined. But when a partner of the 23-school district suggested Newton raise the bar on its experiment by adding video cameras to classrooms, Shattuck’s first reaction was “No way”—teacher concerns ranged from privacy and vanity issues to worries about being disciplined for every misstep.

With less than a month left in the school year, Shattuck agreed to a small pilot. The results surprised him. Teachers—who had been given total control over what to record and whom to share the videos with—were amazed by the differences in their classes, mentioning specifically how discipline changed for the positive.

The next year, the district put cameras in 20 high school rooms. “We found that students in those classrooms were behaving in a totally different manner than ones across the hall,” says Melissa Jackson, the district’s instructional technology coordinator. “It wasn’t just that negative behavior diminished; positive behavior increased. It changed the culture of the classroom.”

If not everyone was on board after these findings, one incident clinched their support: For a special presentation, a Newton teacher taped her class and put the video online for students to view; she gave them a related assignment to complete by the following day. When the next class started, a student who had been absent the day before showed up with the assignment done.

He had watched the lesson online and completed the assignment along with his peers.

The teacher was thrilled. The student then asked a question that still reverberates around the district. “Do I have to be counted as absent for yesterday?”

“It’s changed the way we’re looking at seat time,” Jackson says.

Video is ready for its close up

The idea of video in schools is nothing new. Look outside your building and chances are you’ll see security cameras at your entrances and maybe in your hallways. A growing number of schools have been using video for years to improve teaching as well. So why does it seem like video is just now getting ready for prime time?

Several reasons. First, nearly everyone is carrying a video camera in her or his pocket. Sure, smartphones won’t give you the best quality video, but they can capture short snippets of work. Even professional cameras are getting better at classroom coverage and are costing less. Storage is cheaper, with many districts using the cloud to hold large amounts of video backup.

But the biggest reason might be the simplest one. “Video doesn’t lie; it erases all perceptions,” says Abbey Duggins, assistant principal for instruction at South Carolina’s Saluda High School. Saluda tapes each teacher twice a year, using everything from iPhones to iPads to Chromebooks. “We see so much immediate change and growth” that the district hopes to expand video’s use, Duggins says. “Filming best practices is better than talking about them.”

“There is an increase in the amount of video in schools,” says AASA executive director Dan Domenech. The fact that teachers are asking to be videotaped, as they’re doing in both Newton and Saluda, would not have occurred in the past, he notes. But the proliferation of cameras in everyday life, and the ubiquity of available technology already in classrooms, has made this choice more palatable for many.

School technology expert Scott McLeod says that, in some ways, videos can lessen the pervasive ongoing tension between teachers and administrators, especially when it comes to assessments. “Video can be an objective third element,” he notes.

The key for any system is how a district goes about setting it up, says McLeod, a prominent blogger and the director of innovation for the Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa. Allowing teachers to draft rules and control who sees their classroom videos puts them in charge of the technology, instead of the other way around.

Teachers in charge at Newton

Creating a system as sophisticated as Newton’s takes much more work than opening an app and catching a few minutes of random instruction. “We never told anybody it was easy,” Jackson says. “There have been a lot of hurdles.”

Each classroom setup costs about $3,400, says Jeff Anderson, CEO of Audio Enhancement, and the person who initially suggested that Shattuck add classroom video cameras. When existing cameras didn’t cover the classroom adequately, Audio Enhancement created one that would, the EduCam360. It’s about the size of a smoke detector and it offers viewers three different angles of the room, as well as the ability to zoom in on chosen sections of the classroom. It syncs with the company’s audio microphones.

The setup required a lot of internal work, including network drops in ceilings to various switches, says Craig Dinn, a network engineer for the district. Much of the money to pay for this work came from a sales tax initiative, he explains. Because teachers retain total control over taping, how the system is used varies from classroom to classroom. Teachers can choose to tape every class on a daily basis, which more and more of them are doing.

They can keep their videos private, let their principal and colleagues view them, or share the videos with students online. They also have the opportunity to learn while being coached by more experienced instructors.

Teachers can selectively tape classes, and they can turn on the recorder in an emergency situation by pressing a button on their microphone. (Triggering the emergency mode does take the teacher privacy option away, as the video can be viewed by administrators and emergency responders.) Newton, which is currently set up to tape in 500 middle and high school classes, proceeded slowly to reassure teachers that they were still in control. While some principals were put off by not having access to the videos immediately, Jackson says, teachers learned that their control was real. “We had to prove it to them,” says Dinn. “We saw an increase [in usage] when teachers realized that only they had access.”

At Newton, video gets automatically uploaded to a 40-terrabyte storage system using SAFARI Montage. Teachers can save a lesson, or even edit a snippet to use in professional learning communities. If video isn’t touched in 30 days, it is erased. Dinn says the district maintains a large sort system to help keep track of the many videos. In March 2015, teachers shared more than 22,000 recordings with administrators and students. Teachers can also authorize supervisors to watch their classes live, although most don’t do that, Jackson says.

The district even got an exemption from the state to have a teacher assessment via video. That’s when the project became a lot more valuable. Teachers can turn in a 30-minute clip for the assessment, Jackson says, and “I found teachers who I thought were rock stars rerecording lessons.” They were fixing issues, making improvements four to five times before turning their videos in, she adds. Teachers now strive to put their best work forward, and they improve their teaching in the process.

Some of the security benefits remain the most dramatic. In one classroom, a teacher had to leave the room. Administrators were watching the class live (with the teacher’s permission), and noticed a student using his cellphone. They called to the classroom next door and had that teacher go in and confiscate the student’s phone. When the teacher left, all the students in the room looked up at the camera, Jackson says.

In another instance, a pregnant student had her phone confiscated by a teacher. Later that day, she complained to her mother that she had been physically pushed by the teacher and that her unborn child may have been harmed in the process. When the student, her parent, and a lawyer showed up at the school the next day, officials were alarmed. The teacher wasn’t, because he knew the video would exonerate him, which it did.

The only thing Newton doesn’t have is documented proof that the system has improved academic results. The district is in the middle of a three-year study, but testing changes are making it hard to compare results, Jackson says. What they do know is that in classrooms which received cameras in 2014, there was a 40 percent decrease in office discipline referrals from the previous year, when the cameras weren’t there.

Reflection in Saluda County

Saluda uses video to improve its teachers’ practices by highlighting strengths and weaknesses but also to show exemplary lessons and master strategies. Administrators made a clear decision not to use video for evaluation.

“Our hope is that teachers will reflect,” says Shawn Clark, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, “that they’ll see what works and what doesn’t. That doesn’t always happen naturally.” The district uses its professional learning partner, Teachscape, to provide reflection guides teachers can reference when watching themselves.

Administrators started slowly, soliciting volunteers and using video to help improve inclusion classes. They knew their system was working when the district’s teacher of the year made a major discovery. This teacher was very good, says Clark. But she was awful with her wait time, not allowing students a moment to answer her questions before she started talking again. Although this had been pointed out to her, when she saw herself on video, “she literally gasped in horror.”

Taking the lesson to heart, she not only changed her style immediately, but she also allowed the district to use her video to help other teachers. “That opened doors for us,” says Duggins, Saluda High’s assistant principal. The school saw immediate returns academically for its special education students and has since seen the whole district improve on the state grading system, from “below average” in 2008 to “good” in 2012.

Student Privacy Issues

Although there’s skepticism about how students would feel if videotaping became the norm, Newton officials offer surprising evidence to the contrary. “We immediately assumed there would be concerns,” Jackson says. “The only thing we’ve gotten from students is: ‘We want to see ourselves more often.’ They love it.”

Technology expert Scott McLeod says that with video cameras documenting everything in society—from traffic violations to domestic abuse by sports stars—students probably don’t have an expectation of privacy when they are in school. But “what happens to the right of privacy over time as these [cameras] become cheaper and more relevant? Is a student going to be willing to divulge something to a teacher if a camera is on?”

Jay Stanley of the ACLU was even blunter: “I’m deeply skeptical of standing cameras in the classroom. We’re raising a generation of children to be acclimated to constant surveillance.” But he admitted that Newton’s policy of giving teachers the power to decide whether to share video— and letting students block footage of themselves from being shared online—was a good step that quelled many of his concerns. For Jackson, who started out as a teacher when the program launched, all the proof she needed about the value of video in schools happened under her own roof.

When her son, a C student throughout high school, finally came home with a report card full of A’s and B’s, she asked him what had changed. “We never know when they are recording, Mom,” he told her, explaining that he was forced to pay better attention in all of his classes. Jackson says her son has since graduated from high school and is in an electrical apprentice program, where he attends classes while he practices the trade. “I love this because it reinforces what we are doing with our teachers,” she says.

View more on each of the technologies featured in this article, available through CCS Presentation Systems:

Audio Enhancement


CCS Southeast Is Proud To Announce 3 new SMART Certified Employees

CCS Southwest’s Orlando office is celebrating the accomplishments of Amanda McLaughlin and Kerry Antley, and the Atlanta office is joining in by celebrating the hard work of Kay Woodward…who all recently obtained their SMART Certification! This continued education shows their willingness to better serve our customers and have a greater understanding of the technologies that CCS provides. Thank you for all your hard work!

Amanda McLaughlin CCS SE

Amanda McLaughlin, CCS Southeast (Orlando)

Kerry Antley

Kerry Antley, CCS Southeast (Orlando)

Kay 1

Kay Woodward, CCS Southeast (Atlanta)