How Better Digital Collaboration Can Keep Students Learning When They Can’t Come to the Classroom
From elementary schools to colleges and universities, digital technology has already begun to transform the way students learn. The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating this transformation, as educational institutions are tasked with untethering teaching from the classroom so that students can learn from their homes.
Educational institutions have already been using an increasing amount of digital learning tools to facilitate classroom collaboration and enhance learning opportunities. Nearly nine in 10 students in a Gallup report say they use digital learning tools at least a few times a week, and 42% want to use them more often.1 Some 81% of teachers, 88% of principals, and 92% of administrators “strongly agree” they see great value in digital learning tools.2 In fact, three-fourths of teachers believe technology-based lessons are better than traditional lessons at helping students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills and apply learning to the real world.3
As a growing number of educational institutions begin to provide remote instruction, communication and collaboration among students, faculty, and administrators will be critical to making sure students are learning. Even institutions that already use digital learning solutions may find they lack certain capabilities for the simple, seamless, and more secure collaboration that will be so crucial in the coming months.
The Challenges of Digital Collaboration in the Learning Environment
Many existing digital in-classroom collaboration tools still require physically connecting devices, which can slow down teaching and cause interruptions that fragment student attention. As educators search for the right cable or dongle to connect displays and PCs, adjust settings, or call in IT support, precious instructional time is lost. All these delays frustrate students, who can quickly become distracted and lose focus. Remote instruction of students who possess widely varying levels of technology access and expertise, and who use a wide range of devices and platforms, presents even bigger challenges.
The many types of devices, operating systems, and peripherals that students and educators use further complicate matters. Participants may use iPads, Android tablets, PCs, Macs, and a variety of mobile phone platforms. Some schools and students have brand-new, school-issued computers, while others must rely on older devices. College students purchase their own devices and may even be completing lessons on their phone. Each device and platform may work differently with existing collaboration technologies, creating an inconsistent user experience.
For users who aren’t technologically savvy, non-intuitive collaboration technology can hinder learning rather than supporting it. Remote students who have technical difficulties may disengage from the lesson or miss key points, reducing the effectiveness of instruction.
When education moves off-site, it makes sense to provide the capability for faculty and staff meetings to go virtual as well. The combination of varied devices and the sudden move to 100% remote learning and meetings can also pose significant cybersecurity risks for educational institutions.
A New Approach to Education
Whether students and educators are sitting in class or connecting remotely from their homes, robust digital collaboration solutions can give educators the power to inspire and give students the tools to learn. Educational institutions that have already made significant investments in digital learning technology don’t have to start from scratch to enhance instructional effectiveness. A solution that builds on your institution’s current technologies can minimize the need for additional investments while multiplying the effectiveness of existing tools.
For example, the Intel Unite® solution for learning spaces is an open, extensible platform that works with the wide range of hardware and software that educational institutions already use and expands their capabilities, especially for real-time interaction. It allows IT teams to unify and leverage the diverse inventory of devices, operating systems, and applications used by educators, administrators, and students to create a seamless collaboration experience for all users, no matter where they are.
Easy setup, remote management, and built-in security features give IT professionals peace of mind. Schools can deploy the Intel Unite® solution on-premise or opt for Intel Unite® Cloud Service, which uses a cloud-hosted PIN service. The Intel vPro® platform provides hardware-level security features and encryption that safeguards data, content, and file sharing, as well as active Intel® Active Management Technology and Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel® EMA) that allow for remote management by IT services.
Instructors can wirelessly connect and share information with students, regardless of device or operating system, using multiple learning modalities to engage students in collaborative discovery. Intel Unite® works with a variety of classroom tools, such as touchscreen displays and digital cameras, without the need to manage multiple dongles, adaptors, or cables. Instructors and administrators can also use the Intel Unite® solution to facilitate more efficient meetings.
The peer-to-peer feature removes the need for a meeting room or dedicated PC, allowing anyone running the Intel vPro® platform on their device to host a virtual meeting. Peer-to-peer is great for one-to-one virtual meetings that don’t require a meeting space, such as a small group of students working on a project, a professor holding virtual office hours, or an intra-campus committee that meets online.
Whether conducting a virtual class, meeting with fellow staff members, or interacting one-to-one, participants will enjoy a consistent and easy-to-use experience, wherever they may be located.
Learning in Modern Times
As more schools move to remote learning, educational institutions need solutions that streamline sharing while enhancing security. Simple, cost-effective collaboration tools can help educators carry on the critical mission of education, no matter where instructors and students are located.
Contact an Intel Unite® solution sales lead for more information on how to set up remote meetings set up at your institution.4 5