Raising the Bar to 11

adult-education-0316Education Evolution: March 2016

When I was growing up my parents expressed the importance of education. Throughout my entire childhood they always said, “You have to go to college, it’s important to become successful!” I always had mixed feelings about this concept — partially because I was not a good student, but also because the idea that someone could stand in a classroom and lecture on concepts and ideas never made sense. Real world experience is what I wanted and craved. After all, those who can’t do, teach, right? Flash forward 15 years, I find myself standing in front of a full classroom of students at my almamater Columbia College, teaching the ideas of audiovisual and technology system design. Looking back, I wish I had never expressed my dislike of continued education to my family. They all enjoy reminding me of that statement every Thanksgiving.

It holds true that you cannot learn everything in a classroom. In some industries you do not even need a college degree to be successful. When it comes to the AV industry there is no formal education for what we do. It’s an industry infused with people from all walks of life that just happened to stumble into a career they now love. Well, most of us. However, there is a slowly emerging formal education at four year institutions and technical schools focusing on different facets of the industry including recording arts, live sound, sound engineering and acoustics. This is great to see, but we are years away from institutions embracing an emerging industry like AV technology. In the interim, this lack of formal education is being solved by training from our trade organizations, manufacturers and on the job experience. Embracing this change to formal educating AV professionals will provided a brighter future for the industry.

It’s true that audiovisual technology is quickly being engulfed into the world of IT. Many IT professionals have formal educations in the field of IT along with a multitude of certifications. However, these IT professionals lack the knowledge of AV. As an industry, we need to understand the important roll and influence these IT professionals have in regards to the future of AV. The industry must always be learning, developing, and cultivating our ability and expertise. We must also embrace this transitional shift and understand how the AV industry is to remain relevant to the 250 billion dollar industry of IT services.

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I cannot express enough the importance of education within the AV industry. It is important to start educating at the high school level and expand the depth of knowledge within a four year institution or trade school. Our continued education as AV and technology professionals is even more important. In an industry that is always evolving we all must be on top of our game. There are many ways to continue to develop AV knowledge such as, manufacturer trainings on new products and software. There are many organizations from the HDBaseT Alliance to AQAV (Association for Quality in Audio Visual Technology), whose main goals are to educate and define quality within our technology systems. We should not forget about our trade organizations that are focusing on bringing industry education to the forefront with trainings, classes, and certifications. I am a big believer in the CTS certifications provided by InfoComm, not only because I sit as the chair of the steering committee, but also because I relied on their programs to educate myself in the early days of my career. This blog will continue to focus on the betterment of the industry through certification, educations, and learning in all forms.