West Philadelphia, PA (January 23, 2007)–Remember when your grade school’s idea of “multimedia” was a filmstrip projected on a pull-down screen above the blackboard? Those days are history–especially in learning facilties like the new Microsoft School Of The Future in West Philadelphia, PA. Inside it are a number of unique hybrid theater/Large Group Instruction (LGI) arenas, each sporting a Harman HiQnet integrated networked audio system that features components from AKG, BSS Audio, Crown International and JBL Professional.
The School of the Future, which opened its doors this past fall, results from a unique collaboration between the School District of Philadelphia, Microsoft Corp. and the community of West Philadelphia. The school delivers a new approach to curriculum and school design while infusing technology into the daily lives of educators and learners. The school features a progressive and research-based curriculum, integrated technology, and environmentally advanced architecture. The $50 million school is completely wireless, equipped with science labs, Internet access, full-service cyber-libraries and a multimedia theater that can be divided into several of the aforementioned LGI arenas.
Production Technology Consultants Group, Inc (PTC Group), of Collegeville, PA, and Philadelphia Sound (contractor), of Philadelphia, completed the theatrical sound system; The PTC Group was sub-contracted by Metropolitan Acoustics to complete the design and perform construction administration for the audio systems installed at the school.
The theater features a central cluster of JBL VerTec line array modules, JBL PD Series loudspeakers for the left/right positions, a combination of Crown I-Tech and CTS amplifiers, and AKG WMS 4000 wireless microphone systems. A BSS Audio London system controls the audio-zoning and mechanized walls and seating required to seamlessly transition the 800-person multimedia theatre into three Large Group Instruction arenas.
The Harman HiQnet network and communications protocol enables system control of the audio systems. With the adjustable walls, room profiles are pre-programmed and teachers, having signed into the system with a password, may select from a variety of usage types and content types; the system is optimized accordingly. When the system is required for performance mode, a professional engineer from Philadelphia Sound can log into the system and provide an appropriately sophisticated array of system choices.
“It’s as simple as a teacher logging in, electing to perform a lecture presentation, turning on the wireless AKG belt pack and, immediately the microphone and the system are optimized for the lecture to begin,” said Nathan Powell, president, PTC Group, Inc. “There is no time wasted with setup, testing and the typical array of problems. Neither is there a requirement that the teacher have a Ph.D. in microelectronics, which is important because great teachers shouldn’t have to be great technologists!”
Microsoft School of the Future
Production Technology Consultants Group
Harman Pro Group