What is the differentiating factor in online learning platforms?
Will the virtual classroom solution enable my students to learn effectively?
Will the platform simplify the teaching process and reduce workload for my teachers?
Will the platform be too intimidating for teachers and students?
With technology transforming the education landscape and schools moving to online classes – these are some of the questions schools ponder over while choosing the virtual classroom software.
Virtual classrooms have been a boon for the education sector as they enabled uninterrupted education for children, during the pandemic-imposed schools’ shutdown. Education once limited to physical classrooms has extended to new promising horizons – online education tools have played a huge role in making this feasible!
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that a virtual classroom software is much more than a video-conferencing solution. Schools should investigate a product’s characteristics to determine whether it has the functionality to create a productive learning environment. Through this blog, we highlight some of the essential features that schools must look for in an online education tool.
Live video conferencing and screen sharing : Live video streaming capabilities helps teachers and students communicate in real-time and let teachers demonstrate activities to the students.
Integrated LMS: Teachers can share information and session recordings with students through LMS. Students can also access all the learning materials organized at a single place.
Performance: The video or audio quality must be very high and reliable, even with low bandwidth.
Authorized access : There should be complete control of teachers over the dissemination and access of content, restricted to only authenticated users.
Collaboration & Communication
Whiteboards : It promotes collaboration as teachers can use it to explain concepts better and participants can draw, sketch, and write together for projects or to share thoughts, ideas and conclusions.
Breakout rooms: Teachers can split up students into smaller groups for group projects, discussions, or other learning activities and later reconvene the entire class for a larger discussion.
Chat: The students can ask doubts using this feature, instead of speaking abruptly in the class. They can respond to teachers’ questions through the chat window too.
Hand-raise: It lets students inform the teacher – that they wish to speak or have a question, enforcing a disciplined virtual classroom.
Accessible anytime, anywhere
Session recording: Students, including absentees, can revisit the lessons taught in class, through recordings saved in LMS.
Compatibility : The tool must be compatible across all devices, all mobile platforms and browsers. Browser-based connectivity let students get to their virtual class quickly without any hassle to download anything.
Offline Reading : Students should be able to download content and revise even if there’s no internet connectivity.
Easy to use
Consolidated student view : A snapshot for each student showcasing their work is helpful as a single page gives details of all assignments along with feedback.
Intuitive interface : The tool should be simple and easy to use with clear and legible icons and text and easy to navigate through.
Host control : Teachers should be able to restrict certain functionality like muting participants and disabling particular buttons for students.
Assessment Tools : The tool should facilitate creating, reviewing and administering different types of quizzes – to gauge student understanding.
Automated attendance : Attendance marked with student login and exit helps in tracking activities and getting meaningful insights from the auto-generated attendance report.
Analytics : Analytics capabilities capture a variety of student data and compile it into reports or dashboard (visualize consolidated progress) helping teachers personalize and improvise their teaching approach.
Seamless Integration with apps : Content in all the widely-used formats, such as PDF, Word, PowerPoint, audio, video, etc should be supported to create lesson plans seamlessly – incorporating resources from different apps.
Timed Testing : Evaluating and supervising your learners virtually is a challenge. Timed tests with auto time-outs, automated evaluation systems and feedback options is a good option to go for.
Interactive Features : Promoteactive learning through interactive elements like polls, surveys, simulations, as well as use of gamification apps.
The Bottom Line
Online education tools should offer opportunities for teachers to deliver impressive and engrossing online sessions.
Choose a tool that reduces your burden and enhances your productivity! A tool that prioritizes you and your requirements!
Based on the above-mentioned features, you should be able to select the one perfect for your learning needs. Take a demo – under different conditions, to compare the tool’s performance and scalability – before arriving at a conclusion.