Thursday, August 23, 2012

Virtual Classrooms Get a Technological Makeover

Virtual Classrooms Get a Technological Makeover:
Today we have a Q&A with Roopam Jain. Roopam is Industry Director of the Conferencing and Collaboration practice at Frost & Sullivan. She is a leading expert in conferencing, unified communications and collaboration technologies. Ms. Jain has 14 years of market analysis and strategic consulting expertise. She has received acclaim for her industry knowledge through quotes in leading publications such as Business Week, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal.
The world of education is changing at a fast pace. Technologies like video, mobile devices and social media will continue to reshape the learning environment by providing easier access to information and lowering the cost of education. For this post, Citrix posed questions about online education market trends and technologies to Frost & Sullivan’s industry director of research, Roopam Jain.
Which technologies are newest to the classroom and what’s been the trend that brought them there?
Online learning 2.0 is seeing tremendous adoption, which means learning is becoming more mobile, social and accessible. Educators today are increasingly using the latest communication and collaboration technologies, like video, mobile devices and social networks. Consumerization trends are largely driving this adoption of new technologies; students want their choice of communication device in the learning environment and they want the software applications they use in their personal lives to be available for their education experience. Also, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is driving mobile learning – where students are increasingly asking for rich content that they can access anytime, anywhere and changing the way teaching and learning is taking place today.
How is video being used in learning, and how is its use reshaping the learning environment?
Video is becoming highly important in learning today, creating a flexible and more engaging environment for students. This is done primarily by adding the visual element otherwise missing from the online learning experience.
Students are using video today in a variety of different ways, ranging from taking classes remotely, connecting with fellow students and learning from teachers and other educational resources virtually.
Online video content is also being used in hybrid learning environments where students have the flexibility to view content – video or otherwise – online at their own pace and complement that with in-person or online interactions with peers and instructors. In fact, hybrid learning is preferred by a majority of students today compared to pure eLearning situations.
Another interesting trend taking off in recent years is the concept of a flipped classroom where the instruction is delivered through on-demand video and online content at home, and the scheduled classroom time is reserved for activity-based “homework” and hands-on projects. One of the greatest perceived benefits from this model is that it allows teachers to use classroom time for more interactive engagements with their students, elevating the personal attention and level of learning across the board. As educators have been striving for ways to accomplish these exact goals for many years, these are obviously being viewed as notable improvements.
How are collaborative technologies and practices being used in the learning environment?
Collaboration is a huge part of learning today. In the past, education was more about teacher-to-student communication in a one-to-many setting and structure. Today learning is all about distributed collaboration, whether it is ad hoc or structured, online or in person.
The latest collaboration technologies – such as instant messaging, presence, web and video conferencing and social media – are all supporting this evolution and trend. Students today are learning from each other at their own pace and using social networks to find and share information. Everyone learns differently, so providing students this flexibility to learn at their own pace using these collaboration tools is a tremendous development.
Download the white paper

For a full review of current trends in online learning, read the Frost & Sullivan white paper “Online Learning 2.0: The Technologies and Trends Revolutionizing the Classroom.
Photo credit: Stanford Ed Tech

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