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by Nadav Avni
More schools are adopting distance learning, remote learning, and blended classrooms as we head into the next school year. It was happening already before the COVID-19 outbreak and the trend has now accelerated. With this comes a great need for effective educational technology.
For superintendents, headteachers, teachers, CFOs and IT teams, it has created an additional burden on the curriculum, the workload and the budget.
Students are at risk for significant learning loss if they don’t have the right tools and right remote learning resources. McKinsey estimates that low-quality remote instruction or tools can cost students 7-11 months of learning.
In its report, McKinsey concludes it is essential to provide the resources to allow students and teachers to create virtual engagement and instruction on remote-learning best practices. They warn, however, if there is a delay or a lack of commitment, this educational divide will only get worse.
As a baseline, for students to access a tech-based, interactive curriculum you’ll need Chromebooks, iPads, laptops, tablets, interactive touchscreens and possibly VR devices.
With all these moving parts, you’ll need to ensure they are up to date, being used and ultimately returned to the school.
You may need to provide hot spots or other ways for public access to the internet. According to the latest Census numbers, more than 12 million students lack computers or broadband at home.
You also need to find an efficient way to manage the assets throughout the school year to minimise the amount of time teachers have to spend on tech support for students instead of teaching.
It’s more than just deploying the hardware. You have to create systems to manage them remotely.
Managing remote learning programs and remote classrooms takes special attention. You need to be able to:
Depending on your situation, you may also need the ability to create geo-fences and parameters for device location. Finding the right educational technology for your school’s needs is paramount.
The ideal solution will provide this unique set of tools to all stakeholders in the school ecosystem from administrators to IT staff to teachers. One of the solutions available today in the market is VISO MDM for Education doing exactly that.
VISO MDM for Education can help you scale this by integrating seamless device management across your entire school ecosystem. VISO MDM is a comprehensive device management solution built for modern teaching and learning needs, from early years to higher education. It flexibly supports every device and OS from one easy-to-use platform.
This allows IT admins to centrally manage, monitor and secure the entire device fleet. For teachers, they can spend more time managing the learning and less time focused on the tech. Headteachers and administrators can analyse and optimise device usage across the organisation.
COVID-19 means we need to be prepared to be adaptable as the educational environment evolves. We need to provide the same quality instruction whether it’s providing an interactive experience in the classroom or through distance or remote learning.
Students won’t learn as well just from videos and assignments given by teachers. Younger students especially need more interaction than listening to a lecture or video lesson.
Video conferencing tools, such as Zoom, Hangouts or Team, work well for one-on-one interactions, but don’t have the robust toolset teachers really need. They simply can’t replace the classroom experience that teachers and students need to create an engaged learning environment.
As schools were forced to adapt quickly to the new challenges of providing remote learning programs and remote classrooms without much time to plan, educational tech solutions were thrown together. It wasn’t uncommon to find different teachers using different tools and mass confusion among students and parents.
Schools need a platform that everyone uses and can be managed consistently. Teachers need a platform that’s built for teaching and not one they’re trying to adapt.
The ideal situation allows for a hybrid solution to combine classroom management and enhanced video conferencing and collaboration tools.
One of the solutions available today in the market is VISO TeacherView doing just that.
VISO TeacherView is a state-of-the-art cloud-based classroom management solution. It provides educators with the tools to facilitate efficient collaborative distance learning in or outside the classroom. It marries education tech with the tools that teachers need to provide the seamless experience of a traditional physical classroom in a virtual setting.
With this educational technology, teachers can share their screen, video camera and whiteboard to teach lessons or collaborate with groups. Educators will be able to view both student screens and their faces in real-time, allowing them to read non-verbal signals while monitoring the work students are doing.
Surveys, quizzes and other interactive tools will keep students engaged. When it’s time to focus, teachers can even lock screens to minimise distractions. Lesson plans can include whitelisting and blacklisting of websites and apps to make sure students use only the resources teachers want them to use.
California schools will be required to offer daily live instruction or risk losing state funding for the upcoming school year. Other states in the United States are considering similar legislation. Whether it’s in-classroom, remote classrooms, or a hybrid blended learning situation, school districts need to take action now to prepare for the changing environment.
Without the right distance-learning resources and consistent oversight, things can get messy quickly. We saw that firsthand when the coronavirus pandemic hit and schools that weren’t prepared to provide remote learning had to cobble something together.
A mix of educational technology, software and tools led to chaos and confusion (and frustration) for teachers, students and parents. Many parents and students just tuned out completely.
It often turned teachers towards spending more time providing tech support than teaching. It overwhelmed IT teams and left many students behind. It left administrators struggling to find solutions that could work.
With some hindsight, it’s clear that most school districts weren’t prepared to deal with the situation. That’s not surprising since we’ve never faced a situation like this before.
Now, with the passing of time, there’s no excuse for not having a plan and providing a robust learning environment for our students. Their future – and ours – depends on it.
Nadav Avni is Marketing Director at Radix Technologies. To learn more about VISO TeacherView and how it can help you manage remote classrooms click here.