• Tuesday , 19 January 2021

AV Project of the Year (Education)

SMART Technologies

Cognita schools

Cognita schools launched in 2004 and is a group of 77 schools, in 10 countries with 7,500 students and 50,000 students. This project was delivered across 38 UK schools in the group. Cognita schools decided to implement a Technology Refresh Programme with the aim to drive a clear focus on digital learning within the schools. SMART Technologies worked directly with Cognita Schools, namely Andy Perryer, Digital Learning Adviser with a very consultative approach. In total 815 SMART panels (That’s enough to fill 2 x full size football pitches!) were installed in the schools, combined with 3,725 new devices.

  • The strategic approach and truly collaborative nature of this project between SMART and Cognita Schools group, shows what amazing results can be achieved with Education and the AV industry. Andy Perryer, Digital Learning Adviser for Cognita schools group explains: “The vision was all around actually just enabling the (teaching) staff to not be dictated by where the technology sat in the room…so being untethered.”


  • Cognita, and SMART together worked on an AV solution that would embed technology and digital learning into the classrooms at the schools. Something that would use industry standard AV equipment, combined with the practical and pedagogical benefits that technology can bring to education. The 815 SMART panels combined with 3,725 new devices, allowed teachers to deliver an enhanced learning experience to their pupils, and the teachers themselves to benefit form a new way of teaching using technology. What this really meant was: Teachers used the SMART AV solution with mobile tablet devices, allowing them to no longer be required to stand at the front of the class. This untethered teaching style allows teachers to move around the class, interact with pupils more and even use their tablet device camera to show objects from anywhere in the room onto the SMART Board.


  • The sheer scale of this project makes it impressive. 815 panels (SMART’s largest panel deployment to a single customer in the UK) into 38 schools. The team work required between the end customer, SMART Team (including staff from SMART Head office in Calgary, Alberta, Canada who attended on site) and the team at Hugh Symons from sales, technical and management was a big ask for such a big project. The team ensured a very close working relationship between all 3 parties to navigate different the technical infrastructures in the different sites and the varying requirements and possibilities of AV technology in the classrooms.


  • The project just shows how AV hardware such as IFPs, can work with various other IT equipment, in this case HP tablet devices and Microsoft office 365 software, to deliver a full classroom solution. AV technology is not just about the standalone hardware, but is actually the front line output do deliver fantastic teaching solutions. The IFP brings the whole solution together. Andy Perryer, Digital Learning Adviser for Cognita schools group summrises the project: Born out of necessity, but also wanting to be at the forefront of EdTech, and what is possible in the classroom, being able to teach from anywhere.


  • To further highlight the new untethered teaching style taking place, Cognita have confirmed that some teachers actually no longer even have a teaching desk in the classroom, simply because it is not being used. This is a direct result of the SMART panel in the room paired with the devices. Cognita gave an example of how, in one lesson, the teacher stood at 1 desk in the middle of the room with the children huddled around, able to watch a live experiment with water and a jug up close, but then using the tablet camera, this was able to be transferred onto the panel at the font of the room, where further teaching about the experiment could take place. Cognita schools group In a post project survey to teachers in the school, the following results were concluded; Are you starting to feel more confident using technology (hardware, software, or online tools) than before the technology refresh? RESULT = 90% Is technology starting to be used more in your teaching and learning than before the technology refresh? RESULT = 81% Has face-to-face or online training supported you to use technology in a meaningful way? RESULT = 91%

Feedback from some of the Schools in Cognita Schools Group Milbourne Lodge School – Judy Waite “Milbourne is a bastion of the more traditional teaching methods so whiteboards and markers were a revolution here! The prospect of the introduction of new technology was unnerving and discomforting for some, but staff have embraced the challenge and are enjoying developing new resources and utilising the new opportunities for developing stimulating and engaging resources which enhance our delivery of the curriculum. Even I have managed to embrace snip and sketch!”

Huddersfield Grammar School – Mike Seaton “Since the technology refresh we have seen an enhancement in our teaching and learning provision Communication and Presentation skills – both in making and presenting Study skills – flipped learning activities, retrieval and revision quizzes etc. Self understanding and social collaborative development – videoing of experiments, physical activities etc allows for peer and self-reflection on skills, linking to LO and encouraging reasoning. Attitudes – in PE this is often used as a tool to be a coach to peers and pupils, alongside the technical information.”



ProAV’s latest project for LSE the Centre Building Redevelopment project involved the redevelopment of a number of existing buildings on the Aldwych campus, to create a new landmark building and public focal point for students, faculty, and alumni visitors to improve connectivity and wayfinding. The project’s aim was to deliver a state-of-the-art flexible and highly sustainable academic and teaching building, made up of 13 floors and a basement with the basement and first three floors dedicated to providing teaching and learning spaces that facilitate both independent and group study enabling educators to create and deliver innovative teaching.


  • The Centre Building Redevelopment project was a huge undertaking for the University, the largest in its history, involving a full redevelopment of existing buildings to create a new landmark building and public focal point which would embrace sustainability and encourage academic collaboration. The building itself is the first on the Holborn campus to achieve BREEAM Outstanding and the architect involved from RSHP won the MJ Long Prize at the 2020 W Awards for her excellence in practice.


  • The main building provides simple flexible floor plans for a range of academic and department uses, allowing the creation of innovative and inspirational spaces. The building design is vertically zoned with most of the public and highly serviced facilities such as the restaurant, auditorium and large lecture theatres situated at the lower levels closest to the newly created LSE Square. On the first and second floors, general teaching provision is accommodated and there is access to a large external terraced garden. These public and student facilities are all connected by the atrium space, which provides a circulation route between the floors with informal spaces to encourage students to come together to explore, debate and collaborate. Above the second floor, a number of academic departments are located on flexible floorplates providing both open plan and modular accommodation.


  • Unique to LSE is the ‘LSE style’ Lecture Theatre. It seats around 80 with a central teaching position and also uses dual projection on the side walls with four repeater displays, ceiling-mounted, to enable wireless collaboration, presentations, lecture capture and live streaming of events.
  • Further lecture and seminar rooms are made up of either dual projection or single projection display, Kramer wireless presentation solutions and Sony PTZ cameras. Wolfvision desk cameras and Echo 360 lecture capture systems combine video management with lecture capture and live streaming to support active learning for students. All teaching spaces feature large extents of writeable walls and a learn and turn desking arrangement to prompt flexible and collaborative working.


  • The auditorium is a large teaching, presentation and events space with a seating capacity of 200. Equipped to allow a high degree of functionality it includes production lighting, multiple high definition Panasonic PTZ cameras with recording facilities and comprehensive sound system including solutions for programme, voice reinforcement and hearing assistance sound. A twin front projection system was setup using 12k Epson Laser projectors backed up with two 65” NEC repeater screens. A wireless collaboration solution from Kramer, central audio and lecture capture are all managed centrally via an XTP Extron control system through to the Control room which houses a Panasonic vision mixer and Allen & Heath audio desk allowing operators to take full control as and when required.


  • Beyond the main building the new alumni centre is a dedicated space created for their global alumni and offers business facilities including meeting rooms and relaxed social spaces for events. An Epson laser projector and Screen International projector screen provide large display solutions for events whilst two 65” NEC displays enable meeting room collaboration using Kramer VIA Connect PRO and Logitech ConferenceCam. Audio is managed through Sennheiser Speechline wireless microphones and Tannoy pendant speakers. Tripleplay IPTV and digital signage solutions can be seen in the open zones around reception displaying LSE communications and news on 55” portrait Philips screens.


Testimonials and references

Julian Robinson, Director of Estates at LSE, said: “This building delivers on the two key tenets of our estates strategy, creating a world class estate and a university quarter in this part of London. The Centre Building, with its emphasis on sustainability, community and collaboration, has created an inspiring academic environment within which to work and study that will enhance the campus experience for our students, staff, alumni and visitors.”

Tracy Meller, Partner and architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners said: “The Centre Building project presented us with a unique opportunity to work with the LSE to design a building which really reflects the values of the school, creating innovative and inspirational spaces for students and staff, in which to learn, socialise, study and collaborate. Our proposals went beyond the original brief aspirations placing a new public square at the heart of the campus to improve wayfinding and connectivity, and to give the LSE a much needed new focal point. Embracing sustainable design principles from the offset the BREEAM Outstanding building provides good daylighting and natural ventilation to over 70% of the accommodation, creating workspaces which enhance the wellbeing of its occupants, in addition it reduces embodied carbon by 30%, harvests rainwater and utilises a biomass boiler and PVs as part of its renewable energy strategy.”


Modernization and expansion of the exhibition of the Underground City “Osówka” 

Projekt Multimedia

Gloomy, cold, empty hallways got filled with multimedia stations that, like a time machine, take the visitors back to the days of World War II.

Old information boards, which at this point had their ink long melted, were replaced with stylish light boxes, a scale model with 3D mapping and beautifully illuminated display cabinets. The haphazardly piled artifacts were exhibited on modular podiums illuminated with spotlights. Instead of grotesque mannequins, the tourists visiting the tunnels of Osówka meet holograms of concentration camp inmates, forced laborers and German soldiers. That way they learn the struggle of hard, slave labor of building Hitler’s quarters, while also exploring the mysteries of the facility’s unclear purpose, which still hides a lot of secrets. All of that turns visiting the facility into a fascinating, reflection-provoking tale of the difficult topic of war and holocaust.


The investor demanded a 7-year warranty for the entire exhibition from the contractor. It was quite a challenge because the conditions in the facility aren’t conducive to electronics: high humidity constant at the level of 90% and a low temperature of approximately 8 degrees Celsius. The underground climate makes it necessary to protect each device against moisture. The brand that offered IP5X tightness, a 7-year warranty, and displaying of an amazing quality images with laser projectors in a humid and cold environment was Optoma. Two projector models were chosen during the implementation of this investment: Optoma ZU510Te and Optoma ZU500TST.  In total, 8 devices of this brand were used in the entire facility.


Holographic figures are the guides through the history of the creation of the Riese. We have created three such quarters in the Underground City “Osówka”. In the first one, visitors are greeted by a hologram of the famous Polish actor- Adam Ferency. The virtual figure of an actual size is displayed on a holographic fabric that is stretched over a 300 cm x 188 cm hand-made frame using the short focus Optoma ZU500TST projector with WUXGA resolution. Additionally, while the virtual figure of the actor tells tourists about the history, archival videos from World Wat II are being displayed on the 65’’ Iiyama LE6540 UHS monitor, with subtitles in two language versions.

The backlight connected to the control system is responsible for eliminating the effect of double image reflection. The light turns on in the moment when projection starts and turns off after it ends.

In the second quarter, the holograms of prisoners dressed in the striped uniforms present the tragic story of the concentration camp prisoners building the Riese complex. There is also a movie about the martyrdom of prisoners displayed on the holographic fabric. The scenography is complemented by a replica of the rock shelter- a metal trolley running on the rails used at the Riese complex. The backlight of the rock shelter turns on automatically when the hologram is being displayed and turns off automatically when the movie starts playing. The projection is displayed with a short focal Optoma ZU500TST projector with a WUXGA resolution on a holographic fabric that is stretched over a 300 cm x 188 cm frame of own production.

The third quarter imitates realistic workers working on a stage design scaffolding, which faithfully reproduces the original scaffolding from the period of World War II. An Optoma ZU500TST with a WUXGA resolution was used to display the image. The projection area of 300 cm x 188 cm without the fabric was projected directly on the rocks by means of mapping.

Each of the holographic positions is managed by an IntelNuc i5 computer with an original control system. A set of Work Pro Neo 5IP waterproof speakers and the SoundTube SA202 amplifier are responsible for the sound. All devices are in covers.


To show the scale of the Nazi’s venture, a model of the topography of the area was made, with additional space for displaying translations into foreign languages, on which historical maps are displayed by using mapping, including the locations of the particular objects and plans of underground corridors. It was projected by the Optoma ZU500TST show throw projector with WUXGA resolution. It is entirely managed by the IntelNuc i5 computer with an original control system. A set of the Work Pro Neo 5IP waterproof speakers and the SoundTube SA202 amplifier are responsible for the sound.


Three display cases finished with weathering steel (corten steel) panels were placed on the tour route. The air dehumidifier system is responsible for the right conditions for the exhibits. Cabinet humidity switch HYW 090 measures the air humidity inside the showcase. If the humidity exceeds the set value, the Dehumidifer for Enclosures PSE 30 L activates, draining the moisture outside of the showcase, leaving an inside atmosphere friendly for the exhibits. This system also eliminates the problem of evaporation inside the showcases.


Tourists can choose from several sightseeing routes. One of them is the water crossing. Visitors overcome this route on an old tin boat and sail on it into the ‘dry’ part of the corridors. On this route, we installed the PXM company’s underwater lightning based on a DMX controller which allows to turn on 7 different effects. Specially prepared, illuminated graphics with an imitation of a sunken truck and a sunken ship with boxes full of gold are additional attractions.

Testimonials and references

Agnieszka Dobkiewicz, a journalist at Gazeta Wyborcza, one of the leading daily papers in Poland, says in an article on the new route in the Underground Town of Osówka: “When you’re in a WW2-era underground location that was dug by concentration camp inmates, and there’s suddenly a hologram of a person emerging from darkness in front of you, it gives you goosebumps”. That’s the exact type of effect we aimed at when creating the exhibition.

The AV Integracje magazine, renowned in the A&V industry, has made our project their cover story. The exhibition at the Underground Town of “Osówka” was described in detail on nine pages of the magazine, presenting our installation as an example of proven solutions in extreme conditions.