While governments are taking a very tough stand to control the COVID-19 pandemic, industries are coming up with innovative ways to run the essential services. The pandemic has forced schools in the USA and around the world to take their classrooms online. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) says that schools in 39 countries including the USA have been affected. As social distancing continues, teachers and students around the globe are adapting to the virtual tools as the alternative way of learning. This resulted in the largest online movement in the history of education; whether it is a video conferencing tool, e-learning apps, virtual tutoring, or online learning software, there has been significant growth in the usage since COVID-19.
Tools and platforms used for remote education
1. Video conferencing tools
A video conferencing system as an ideal solution for distant learning, it was mostly used by the businesses for meetings with their team members, but it is now being used a lot by most of the educationists to host interactive virtual classes. It provides an option for the learners to interact with the teachers during the lecture. The challenge is to find the best video conferencing system for your e-learning needs especially when there are many options available. One of the most used tools is Zoom, coming together face to face in a single touch has never been easier, with the highest video and audio quality Zoom provides the best conferencing experience for all the participants. There are other video conferencing tools available such as Google hangout, ClickMeeting, Citrix GoToMeeting, Skype premium, Adobe Connect, and more.
2. Virtual Classroom
A virtual classroom is a shared online space where learners and teachers work together simultaneously, providing an experience similar to the physical one. The best example of a virtual classroom is Google Classroom; it facilitates paperless communication between teachers and learners. It allows teachers to create classes, post assignments, organize folders, and view work in real-time, it provides one of the best virtual classroom experiences to the teachers and learners. Another example is Vedamo, it is a fully web-based platform for distance learning, it was built in close collaboration with teachers, students, and parents to create flexible solutions for needs of K-12 education. Vedado virtual classroom combines video conferencing connectivity and an interactive whiteboard with document sharing and more. It provides many features that enhance teaching and learning. There are many virtual classrooms providing tools available and these should be part of every principal’s entry plan available.
3. Video platforms
Video streaming is a very useful technology for distant learning, live videos allow for real-time interaction and classroom-like experience. Recording lectures also gives teachers an option to save lectures for students to playback if they missed the session or need to go back and watch the part of the lesson. Many teachers are incorporating live video streaming apps into their curriculum. The best platforms hosting and streaming live classes are Diecast, IBM Cloud Video, Kaltura, Vimeo Live, Panpoto, and more.
4. Mobile apps
Mobile technology has been used for educational purposes for a significant time; it is one of the most revolutionary productive tools of all time. Some educational apps and Software are used by many institutions to facilitate students and teachers. The global lockdown has an impact on the use of educational apps and software; many educational apps have recorded a massive growth in the number of new users since COVID-19. You can always find the best e-learning mobile apps according to your need.
What some of the platforms are offering during Covid-19
- In response to huge demand, many learning platforms are offering free access to their services. BYJU’s is an e-learning platform founded in 2011, it has now become the world’s highly valued edtech company. BYJU’s announced free live classes on its think and learn app, after the announcement the number of new users increased by 200%.
- Many companies are focusing to strengthen the capability of providing a one-stop-shop for students and teachers. For example, Lark, a collaboration suite, began offering teachers and students unlimited video conferencing time, auto-translation capabilities, real-time co-editing of project work, and smart calendar scheduling in addition to their features. Lark has ramped up its global server infrastructure and its engineering capabilities to improve connectivity.
- BiteSize Daily launched on 20th April is offering 14 days of curriculum-based learning for kids with celebrities teaching some of the content.
- DingTalk tapped Alibaba’s cloud to deploy more than 100’000 new cloud servers in just 2 hours in March, setting a new record in rapid capacity expansion.
With the advancement of e-learning platforms, a new hybrid model of education is emerging. What e-commerce has done in the retail industry, e-learning is doing to the education industry. The rapid adoption of e-learning after the COVID-19 outbreak is providing the required impetus for the tools. It is expected that, after the pandemic is over, people will become used to the e-learning platforms. Many expert opinions suggest that traditional offline learning and e-learning must go hand by hand post-COVID-19 for the world to explore its full potential.
Piyush Jain is the founder and CEO of Simpalm, a mobile app development company in DC. Piyush founded Simpalm in 2009 and has grown it to be a leading mobile and web Development Company in the DMV area. With a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins and a strong background in technology and entrepreneurship, he understands how to solve problems using technology. Under his leadership, Simpalm has delivered 300+ mobile apps and web solutions to clients in startups, enterprises and the federal sector.