Today’s classrooms typically include television screens and projector imaging but little consideration is often given to whether students can clearly see the material being presented to them.

In many classrooms the presented image is either too low so those students not in the front row struggle to see the lower third of the content. Or the image itself is too small for a good proportion of the students to read clearly.

Recent research in the United States conducted by Radius Research shows 58% of students in an average classroom cannot fully read content on a 70” flat panel television.

Purchasing decisions for school use are often based on personal television viewing experiences at home – a common mistake.

Content being viewed at home is video based with minimal text to read; this is considered passive viewing. By contrast, in the classroom the bulk of the content presented is text based, meaning a bigger image is required for all students to see the content clearly.

The 4/6/8 rule

The 4/6/8 rule is used by audio-visual professionals to determine the correct size display for the intended space. How the rule works is:

  • For analytical viewing the farthest viewing distance should be no more than 4x the height of the image
  • For basic viewing (this covers the typical content shown in a classroom) the farthest viewing distance should be no more than 6x the height of the image
  • For passive viewing (video content) the farthest viewing distance should be no more than 8x the height of the image

Schools need to take this into consideration when choosing the screen size for various learning environments. With technology an important part of teaching in today’s classrooms, it’s a decision schools need to get right.


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