5 things to know about new ed-tech collaboration tools
With online and hybrid learning set to outlast COVID, students (and teachers) will be looking for smoother user experiences as they work with new digital learning tools.
This requires adding platforms from which learners and educators can access learning management systems as well as other collaboration tools such as Google Classroom, learning apps and videos.
Here a few things to keep in mind:
1. New options: A new breed of “ed-tech-as-a-service” tools can make it easier for teachers to manage student engagement in online and in-person classrooms, says Maggie Hallbach, vice president for public sector business development and strategic sales at Verizon. “Juggling technology and students and pedagogy is really hard,” Hallbach says. “We hear loud and clear from students, administrators and faculty that there needs to be a much more simplified way of bringing technology components together.”
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2. Pilot programs: Verizon, the communications giant, is piloting its BlueJeans collaboration platform with two universities to test its ed-tech capabilities in the more demanding higher ed environment. The goal, however, is for K-12 districts to adopt the tool to give teachers and students secure access to content and all approved ed-tech apps, Hallbach says.
3. Not an LMS: BlueJeans is not a learning management system, but it can integrate with an LMS and its features extend beyond more common video-conferencing platforms such as Zoom. Teachers, for example, can connect with students and manage remote classes while also presenting polls or videos, Hallbach says.
4. Professional development: Teachers can also find professional development on collaboration tools through the Verizon Innovative Learning program, she adds.
5. What’s next? Looking ahead, Verizon is developing the technology and pedagogy to integrate virtual reality into BlueJeans to create immersive classroom experiences.
“It’s all about simplification,” Hallbach says. “We know school districts want to allow these students to work remotely and in hybrid models where the technology is serving both the student and the teacher.”
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