Major changes normally come slowly in education, but the coronavirus pandemic has forced a rapid transition to distance learning and other edtech solutions. These solutions are aimed at everyone involved in the educational process, including students, teachers, administrators, parents and technology experts.
The sudden, overwhelming need for edtech solutions hasn’t been ignored, though, because new solutions are emerging, and existing solutions are being adapted for a new era of tech-fueled learning. Adaptable districts can find solutions that work for their students both now and in the future, no matter what the future of education looks like.
Which edtech solutions can help schools transition to distance learning?
Many universities and some K-12 schools already have some distance learning technology available, but nearly every institution is looking to scale up their distance learning capabilities. For these schools, the following technologies make sense:
All-in-one video and audio delivery
Before districts can address classroom management or collaboration tools, they need an AV solution that will allow for easy content delivery. Teachers are accustomed to delivering lessons via technology, but now they need to communicate these lessons to an audience that isn’t in the same room.
AV manufacturers are making the transition as simple as possible with all-in-one solutions that capture audio and video. Designed for scalability and ease of use, an all-in-one solution like AudioEnhancement’s VIEWpath allows teachers to record or stream their lessons.
The VIEWpath comes with a PTZ-enabled, 4-megapixel camera, a portable microphone to boost audio and a beamforming array that also acts as a receiver and amplifier. It’s everything educators need to produce lesson content right away, no matter where that content is hosted and delivered.
Classroom management technology
There are multiple cloud-based classroom management tools available, including the popular Google Classroom. Because they are cloud-based, there is generally no need for additional hardware or major software installations. The only issue is picking one out among the available options and ensuring everyone is using the same platform.
This is important to do because with classroom management solutions, educators can easily host discussions with students, deliver lessons with media and assign projects to students.
Educational institutions have recognized the power of collaboration for many years, but with no physical space to collaborate in, technology must fill the gap.
Fortunately, technology is up for the task, as there are numerous chat applications like Raftr, along with more robust tools like those provided by Microsoft Teams. Educators can also benefit from specialized collaboration hardware, like an interactive flat panel. The Clevertouch, for example, can be used by educators to start whiteboarding sessions, present media and annotate over student work while students are observing.
This technology can also be used by administrators to connect with teachers and other staff, ensuring everyone remains on the same page.
Why should districts consider edtech beyond the pandemic?
Although the immediate focus is getting students online, education technology is about the long-term advantage too. Some of those long-term advantages include:
As the coronavirus demonstrated, in-classroom learning can be brought to a halt by events that start on the other side of the globe. In a way, the coronavirus pandemic has shown that districts need a reliable distance learning option on the table. Educational technology, in all of its forms, can be leveraged for this task.
If those edtech solutions are always available, schools can bide their time in reintroducing students to a classroom environment, allowing for more flexible, safer planning.
It is no secret that the modern student has a lot of tech aptitude. Students respond well to tech, especially when students have some control over the tech they use. With distance learning, students can often access lessons from the device of their choice, whenever they wish. This self-driven form of learning engages students, as they become responsible for more of the process. Better engagement usually leads to better results.
Educational technology also keeps parents involved in their child’s learning, as much of it is done at home and under parent supervision. Parents that would have otherwise remained outside of the teacher-student loop are now a critical link in the chain, which fosters better outcomes for students.
Who can help with edtech solutions?
Districts are tasked with making their edtech decisions quickly and with a changing landscape around them. That’s why many schools are leveraging their existing technology partnerships or are establishing new ones quickly.
In either case, an AV integrator can provide a roadmap for bringing in new educational technologies. An integrator can also guarantee proper system installation and maintenance, which are especially important given the increased reliance on distance learning. Many AV integrators do a lot of their work in schools, so they are also familiar with the various management and collaboration platforms available to educators. An integrator can help their educational clients determine which of these tools work best and integrate them into classroom and administrative flow.
The coronavirus pandemic has been marked by uncertainty, but also opportunity, especially among educators. The educational technology industry is working nonstop to provide teachers, students and parents with better, more accessible learning tools. A trusted AV integrator can introduce these solutions to your district and ensure they are a worthwhile investment.
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