Educators and Students Increasingly Turning to Virtual Environments for Learning During Today’s Global Health Crisis

As coronavirus continues its rapid spread globally, people across the world are adjusting to life under lockdown and isolation. This unprecedented health crisis has called for academic institutions to drastically change the way they operate—overnight—with many shutting down classes altogether.

 

Unfortunately, this type of recourse, while necessary, can have adverse effects on students and teachers alike. So what happens when schools are forced to close for prolonged periods of time when students would usually be at school?

Schools worldwide are in the midst of developing complete virtual learning environments. Institutions that have never before been tasked with providing online classrooms must suddenly host and broadcast remote lessons. This is an area where technology can help, and we’ve put some programs in place to reduce the barriers to implementation.

With communications technology built using Vonage’s open APIs, academic institutions can create custom solutions that enable them to deliver a flexible learning experience in real-time. One such technology is live video, through which teachers can connect with their students using real-time video chat. Vonage has taken the Video APIs that power some of the largest embedded video applications in the world, along with its own Vonage Meetings solution, to build a complimentary standalone video solution that educators can use as an online learning environment throughout the COVID-19 health crisis.

The use of distance learning for organizations including Minerva, PresenceLearning and Chegg Tutors is increasing rapidly and enabling educators to continue the learning experience, while containing the spread of coronavirus in schools and universities. It’s vital for teachers to be able to deliver a continuous education when the unexpected happens, and adopting video communications means that students can continue to access education at a distance from their teachers and peers, an important step to protecting other students and professionals.

In a global crisis such as this, organizations are transitioning from a historically face-to-face environment into a virtual one. For younger children especially, experiencing that lack of familiarity within a learning environment may be a challenging change to make. Educators and parents alike must do what they can to create a virtual environment that feels familiar and dedicated to learning.

Read our article around best practices educators should consider to keep students engaged in virtual environments.

This isn't to say that digital transformation initiatives aren't worth that risk to benefit, both in the current situation and long-term. The benefits outweigh any difficulties, and technological initiatives are a key part of personalized learning, according to research curated by the U.S. Department of Education, giving students with different learning styles an opportunity to flourish. The same research suggests technology can enable collaboration between educators and open doors to subject matters that may be otherwise difficult, or even impossible, to teach. It’s fair to say that when institutions can provide effortless communication via voice, text, or video without worrying about upkeep for on-premises hardware, everyone benefits.

As Campus Technology reports, 85 percent of students believe online learning is as good as or better than attending courses on campus. Furthermore, results have shown that learning outcomes for online learners are comparable to traditional students at both the high school and university level. In fact, many top universities now offer online courses.

Cambly, an on-demand language marketplace, is using Vonage’s API solutions to help people worldwide learn English. The Cambly app connects students with native speakers where they can practice English together via live video chat from their mobile phone, tablet, or computer. Live video recreates the natural face-to-face experience of engaging with someone in their native country—all from a few taps on a device. When conversing in any language, body language and nonverbal cues add a deeper level of understanding, and live video brings this richness to learning English on the Cambly platform.

Vonage is releasing several new free promotions for solutions for educational institutions that don’t currently have the ability to operate in remote environments in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. Find out more about Vonage’s current free and discounted offers and how our technology can help you transition to a virtual learning environment.

 

Omar Javaid
Omar Javaid President, API Platform Group

Omar Javaid joined Vonage in July 2015 as Chief Product Officer, responsible for the Company's overall product strategy. In 2019, he was named President of the API Platform Group. Omar oversees all aspects of the Company’s product strategy in addition to the sales, operations and developer relations functions of the API Platform. Omar has more than 20 years of experience creating award-winning products in the technology industry with a focus on telecommunications, media and web product development. Prior to joining Vonage, he was Senior Vice President and General Manager of Discovery and Cloud Platforms for Rovi Corporation, a cloud-based entertainment discovery company. Prior to Rovi, Omar held positions as Vice President and General Manager of Commercial Mobility, and Vice President of Product Management and Marketing for Hewlett-Packard. He has also held executive positions at Motorola Mobility and Qualcomm, Inc. An entrepreneur, Omar founded and led two successful technology startups. He earned a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan.

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