When the Covid-19 pandemic began, nearly every industry was forced to quickly adopt new technologies and devices into their work to keep running throughout the quarantine, and the education industry was no exception.
Online learning emerged as a safe and viable option for education continuity during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today, 65 percent of teachers reported using digital learning tools in their classroom every day; 87 percent said they used them at least a few days a week, while only 7 percent said they did not use them at all. Schools K-12 and Universities, both undergrad and postgrad, are rapidly embracing technology of all kinds into their organizations for the benefit of both teachers and students alike.
"Many educational institutions now look at technology as an opportunity to build teaching methods and connect with students efficiently," said Sara Hughes (News - Alert), SVP, Enterprise Customer Experience & Channel Marketing from Kandy, a cloud-based, real-time communications platform. "This widespread adoption of technology, such as Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS), has changed the way students, teachers, and the schools themselves all interact with each other."
UCaaS lets organizations leverage a variety of communication and collaboration applications and services hosted by a provider, which usually provides higher levels of availability, flexibility, scalability, and greater cost savings.
The "as a service" model simply means that a particular technical need is met via a service that is accessed via the cloud.
"This is popular because the customer enjoys the benefits of a UC platform while the infrastructure is handled by the UCaaS provider," said Hughes. "Colleges and schools are investing in UCaaS tech, as it promotes advanced collaboration tools and provides schools and districts with advanced features and functionalities, application integrations and end-to-end solutions."
The predominant benefit to the use of this technology lies in the institution's ability to leverage mobile-accessible apps that can be easily updated when necessary. The amount of mobile education apps in use has nearly doubled since 2017, as they keep students, faculty, and parents, creating an almost "smart campus."
To start, UCaaS enabled mobile apps to allow for real-time messaging, whether through text, audio, or video. This offers students a way to effortlessly collaborate while outside the classroom, to make group work, or simply helping a classmate with a topic easier and smoother, enriching the learning experience.
On top of this, educational institutions of all ages are embracing initiatives focused on securing campuses from terrorism and other violent acts and ensuring student's and faculty's safety through mobile applications that keep the community connected and alerted in times of distress. UCaaS allows for real-time, campus-wide alerts in the scenario of an active shooter, letting faculty and students be aware of the danger immediately.
"With a UCaaS platform, educational institutions can alert students, parents, and staff of real-time changes to school or district operating information like closures, health alerts, emergency alerts, and more," said Hughes. "There are even UCaaS enabled mobile apps that offer both students and faculty the ability to instantly communicate emergencies to 9-1-1, on-site personnel and first responders with the push of a button, for an integrated and immediate response."
Finally, another major benefit of UCaaS enabled mobile apps is how easily they can be upgraded and changed by developers based on what is necessary for the app. Such technology allows developers to integrate live support and video support and add interactive widgets to the apps to benefit the learning experience.
"Simple, no-code voice solutions that can be embedded across many applications can help schools and universities leverage all the benefits mobile apps can offer to the learning process," said Hughes. "With this tech, schools can customize the learning experience and drive student engagement, while also upgrading physical security benefits through minor, but crucial additions, such as making sure the closest emergency service is always connected first when needed."
With technological innovation only set to continue, and new uses for technology in education sure to be found as well. Schools would be hard-pressed not to start investing in the right technology to create a "smart campus" to keep students, staff, and parents connected, informed, and safe at all times.
"The impact that technology has had on today's schools has been quite significant, as schools are now giving teachers, students, and the parents creative and efficient solutions and services to keep them connected in real-time," said Hughes. "While in-classroom technology blossomed during the quarantine, it's time educational institutions looked to UCaaS technology to improve the learning experience outside of the classroom as well."
Edited by Luke Bellos