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Interactive Whiteboards and Flat Panel Display Growth in the School Classroom

Education AV Devices Market Insights, Analysis and Commentary

As AV device adoption in US schools reaches saturation point, uptake of interactive devices is primed to accelerate over the next two years, displacing projectors and front-of-room displays. That is according to a new research study from Futuresource Consulting, which polled IT decision makers across more than 400 US K-12 school districts and revealed a widespread trend towards interactive school classroom experiences.

“US schools are telling us there’s an abundance of display tech already installed in classrooms,” says Chris Pennell, Principal Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “On average, 87% of classrooms have at least one form of display installed. In some cases, schools reported coverage in excess of 100%, though this trend was more prevalent in smaller schools. However, there are still AV opportunities in education. Respondents told us they expect a 28% increase in the number of installed interactive flat panel displays over the next two years, with interactive whiteboards anticipated to grow by 7% over the same period. To some extent, this growth is at the expense of projectors, which will experience a decline of around 2%.”

COVID-19 Accelerating Technology Uptake, Not Altering Trends

The Futuresource research which underpins this new report was conducted as COVID-19 began to emerge. The outbreak has had an unprecedented impact on how schools deploy technology, yet tech was already reshaping the learning experience and redefining the ways that students and teachers interact. Rather than altering the path of technology in schools, social distancing measures have accelerated the trends that were already happening. Technology is now being adopted across a greater range of activities, and budgets are evolving to address these changes.

“Since 2017, IT budgets have increased by around 12%,” says Pennell. “However, as schools are using technology to support personalised learning, overall IT budgets are becoming increasingly fragmented. Computing devices, IT infrastructure and apps account for two in every three dollars of IT spend. On average, schools spend 9% of IT budgets on AV devices.”

Ease-of-use Fundamental to Interactive Display Adoption

When considering an interactive display purchase, ease-of-use was the top priority. User-friendly devices mean that different teachers can use the same equipment for different purposes, or students can make presentations with as little time as possible spent on the changeover. In second position was high-quality video, ahead of screen size, which was seen as a third priority.

More Vendor Support Needed for IT Decision Makers

“Schools are also focusing on the quality of AV devices and this is a key factor in their decision making,” says Pennell. “In many cases they are turning to vendors for advice but aren’t finding the answers that they need. To be able to make the business case for investment, IT decision makers in education need to demonstrate how the technology will benefit students and how well the tech will endure. At the moment, there seems to be a disconnect between the information that many vendors are offering and what schools require. When we asked schools about barriers to adoption, they told us they have difficulties finding solutions that perform to their expectation, which could also point towards this disconnect.”

Futuresource Consulting’s new EdTech AV report provides feedback on the current usage of AV devices in schools and planned investment, based on interviews with IT decision makers across more than 400 US K-12 school districts. For further information on this report, please contact Matthew Ledgerwood via

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Chris Pennell

About the author

Chris Pennell

Chris Pennell is a Principal Analyst for Futuresource Consulting, leading Futuresource’s research across the Connectivity and Services practice. His research focuses on emerging technologies transforming enterprises' use of AV solutions.

Chris's recent research covers areas such as the shift to IP-connected devices, the use of managed and cloud-based services, and the impact of Pro AV solutions on the Future of Work. Working with various vendors and end users has enabled Chris to explore and build knowledge of the innovative ways enterprises use AV technologies to address ongoing challenges. Outside work, Chris is happiest helping raise his young family and supporting his local Scout troop.

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