Ask Hermie

Ask Hermie: Long Distance Love Affair (with Learning)

Hermie is the consummate AV Professional, having lurked behind the scenes at Herman Pro AV and Herman Integration Services for years. When it comes to the professional audiovisual business, Hermie walks the walk and talks the talk. In fact, he doesn’t just talk about AV stuff until he’s blue in the face, he’s done it so much he’s blue all over! So, if you have a burning AV question, just “Ask Hermie!”

Dear Hermie,

I am a single mom with a 7-year-old son. I am very active in his school and the PTA. I never had much luck with long-distance relationships, and it seems that over the past year I was not much better at long-distance schooling and assisting my son with his remote classes. Don’t ask me about the time I emailed his teacher to say I couldn’t get my son’s USB headphones to work because the USB plug wouldn’t fit into the round “headphone” hole on his Chromebook. Now I know what a 3.5mm jack is, and I promise I won’t forget.

The good news is my son is back in school, however, he’s on the tall side for his age so he always ends up in the back of the classroom, and now between teachers and kids wearing masks, and the social distancing putting him even further to the back he complains that he has a hard time seeing and hearing the chalkboard and lessons.

Hermie we have a PTA meeting in a few days. Is there anything you can suggest to improve our classrooms considering the kids are spread out all over the place? I’d love to bring it up at our meeting!

Long Distance, Still Learning

Dear Long Distance,

Congrats on figuring out the headphone situation. At least now when someone asks you can say with confidence that you do know Jack – 3.5mm jack that is!

Given my own lonely heart history, I am relieved you’re asking me about distance learning and not long-distance love. Back in the day when phone calls were expensive, I’d talk to my amour until I was blue in the face, and I really felt blue when the phone bill arrived. And here I am, years later and I am still blue in the face.

Now, back to your question, which is a classy one -er, I mean a classroom one. There are several great AV solutions that will make it easier for everyone in the class to have an easy time seeing and hearing everything. Some of these suggestions can even help share the class with kids who may still be joining remotely along with the kids in the classroom.

• Installing bigger displays or projectors in the classroom will make it easier for all kids to see. Even a small classroom can handle 110″ or even larger displays.

• Adding professional microphones and better sound systems can help both the kids in the class as well as those joining remotely hear everything clearly.

• There are also many interactive screens and whiteboards that can make the classroom (and remote class) more engaging, and easy to share digitally.

Your school’s professional AV integrator should be able to help with all these options. And by the way, your school might even be eligible to get funding assistance for such improvements thanks to the CARES ACT.

I have a feeling you’ll be a hero at that PTA meeting, and that your son will soon have a better in-class experience! Thanks for asking Hermie!

Do you have a question for Hermie? Email and he may answer your question here in a future column.