Martin, Stewart and I discussed some of the technical requirements for the new space:
Good/easy audio video projection needs to accommodate end users such that DVDs, audio CDs and personal laptops need to "just work".
To address these req's we talked about
1) a simple 4 channel stereo mixer (passive) that would allow 4 channels of audio simultaneously - no active switching. While this would mean that users might have a mish-mash of sound at first, adjusting it would *only* require turning up/down volume knobs/sliders. This should be a fairly intuitive concept. The unit we found was a Rolls MX41b, approx. $50 online.
2) An extension of this would be the use of self-powered speakers, bypassing the need for expensive (and hot) power amp hardware. Something like Yorkville's NX88s would be suitable. Powered monitors would provide the option to add something more (such as a subwoofer) if required, and also provide the option to plug in external equipment such as a recording device, through their passthrough sockets.
3) Overhead projector capable of at least 3 different inputs (DVI/HDMI, VGA and component/S-Video). This would allow for a teacher station to be plugged in at all times (to DVI), a DVD/CD player plugged in at all times, and a third connection (VGA?) connected to a port embedded in the wall for plugging in a personal machine (the fourth audio plug in the passive mixer would be connected to an auxiliary plug in the desk for "drop-in" audio connections). The projector would be switchable via remote control - no video box needs to be used. I believe that all of the incoming digital projectors being placed in classrooms in the Clearihue building will meet this requirement.
4) Physical layout of the room - Stewart did a number of possible layouts up in a graphics editor - was discussed, with the general concensus being that a U-shaped amphitheatre-like setup would work best, given the physical constraints of the space (assuming that we are taking over both of the rooms). No point in doing ASCII art or trying to describe it - look at Stews drawing - except to say that we identified a few "must haves" for the space.
a) Short line of sight between teacher and student. This effectively means a wide room as opposed to a long one, with the teacher placed against the long wall.
b) Three rows of workstations with the middle row able to accommodate reversing of the workspace - convenient for computer-based exams like TOEFL that require a measure of secrecy. As long as the furniture is chosen carefully this would be easy to do.
c) Projector screen shall be beside the whiteboard so both can be viewed simultaneously.
d) Breakout space requirement means we'll need a few tables that will accommodate up to 20 people.