The Powerful Impact of Virtual Classroom Software

The following is a guest post by Kamy Anderson, an expert in learning management system & eLearning authoring tools. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Information technology has revolutionized the learning environment. With the use of virtual classroom software or LMS software, education and training has become easier to use and more accessible.

Virtual classroom software is being incorporated into various organizations and learning institutions, and the worldwide e-learning market is expected to grow to $325 billion by 2025.

This is a trend that comes without an expiration date. Virtual classrooms have a lot to offer, and they’re reshaping the way we approach teaching and learning.

But what exactly is a virtual classroom? What are its benefits? Let’s find out.

What Is a Virtual Classroom?

In simple terms, a virtual classroom is an online learning environment. Through the use of specialized software, such as virtual classroom software or LMS software, teachers and learners can communicate, share ideas, collaborate, and more without ever being in the same room.

Of course, it’s necessary for both the learners and the educators to have a stable internet connection, and the virtual classroom software handles everything else.

This software provides:

  • Video conferencing
  • Audio conferencing
  • Online whiteboard
  • Learning materials
  • Live chat
  • Teaching tools and controls

With the use of virtual classroom software, the online learning environment is made to be very similar to the physical classrooms that we’re all accustomed to already.

The Many Benefits of Using Virtual Classroom Software

Seeing how virtual classrooms tend to mirror the physical classrooms that you can find in schools or even some companies, it’s easy to imagine that the two are not so different.

Instructors and learners can still interact. They can use various learning materials, take advantage of the whiteboard, and more.

Having said that, even the simplest virtual classroom software has more to offer, and teachers and learners can achieve much more than they ever could in a traditional classroom.

Virtual classroom software and LMS software facilitate:

  • Enhanced collaboration
  • Improved learning processes
  • Better accessibility
  • Better scalability
  • Affordability
  • Effectiveness

Let’s take a closer look.

Enhanced Collaboration

If two schools or companies wanted to collaborate, they would traditionally have to spend a lot of time on logistics.

Which teachers and staff will be sent to which school? How will they get there? When is the best time for both parties to organize the visit?

Collaboration required a lot of time and effort, not to mention a lot of money.

With the use of virtual classroom software, educators and staff can now easily collaborate wherever they are located.

One of the main features of virtual classroom software is video conferencing, which enables uninterrupted communication and interaction between instructors and learners.

Improved Learning Processes

Without the use of LMS software, corporate trainers, teachers, and online instructors have access to limited resources to enhance the learning experience of their learners.

Many schools in rural areas, for example, don’t have adequate infrastructure to provide quality education.

New technology is here to change this! Virtual classroom software empowers learners to travel around the world without ever leaving their actual classroom.

They can communicate with experts from various fields in real-time and learn from them. They can participate in seminars and classes happening on the other side of the world.

This all allows them to learn and retain more information than they normally could in a traditional classroom.

Virtual classroom software also offers room for personalization. The teaching materials can be customized to suit the learning needs of different learners.

Fast learners can easily skip ahead, while those who are falling behind can go through the materials as many times as they need and learn at their own convenient pace.

Accessibility

Any learner who has an internet connection and a computer, tablet, or smartphone can access the virtual classroom. 67% of U.S. companies, for example, offer learning opportunities via smartphones.

This means that any learner who isn’t able to go to classes can still learn. Those living in rural areas, or those who are bed-ridden and unable to leave their homes can still receive a high-quality education.

No matter where the learners and instructors are located, they can communicate and learn when they choose to do so. This enables you to create a global classroom where all learners enjoy equal opportunities for learning.

Scalability

LMS software enables you to customize every aspect of learning and teaching. Depending on the size of your classroom and the skill level of your learners, you can easily scale your teaching offerings up or down.

This is especially useful to companies as the employees can focus on improving the right skills at the right time, allowing learning to become more flexible. For example, any business or educational institution will keep adding human resources or learners to it. In a regular classroom model, it can create infrastructural issues or a company will have to expand the training material to accommodate the new requirements while managing the learners and meeting compliances can become tough.

Now contrast this with a scenario where a virtual classroom software provides almost endless possibilities of learning anytime, anywhere. Teachers can take on larger groups of students and businesses can easily track the training process of bigger teams with diverse skill sets.

An LMS which is designed to be scalable enough to grow as per the increasing needs can provide the right environment while cutting down the infrastructural and manpower costs that are otherwise associated with traditional modes of learning.

Affordability

Whether we’re talking about schools or companies, using virtual classroom software has proven time and time again to be more affordable than traditional classrooms.

All the tools, equipment, and materials are digital and can be accessed wherever and whenever they’re needed.

Companies don’t have to build an actual classroom, and schools and students who don’t have the means don’t have to invest in textbooks or expensive school supplies.

Effectiveness

There’s no denying the effectiveness of virtual classroom software. In face-to-face education, students typically have a learning retention rate of 8% to 10%.

When it comes to e-learning, on the other hand, the learning retention rate is between 25% and 60%, which proves the effectiveness of virtual classroom software.

This is mainly due to the personalization of teaching materials. All learners can learn at their own pace, go through the different lectures as many times as they need to, and gain instant feedback on their progress.

The Bottom Line

Using virtual classroom software and LMS software can bring many benefits to learners and educators alike.

This technology has revolutionized education and made it accessible to all learners around the world.

This isn’t a technology that will replace teachers or educators, but rather a technology that helps them improve all teaching and learning processes and assist students in reaching their maximum potential!

Author’s Bio: Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management system & eLearning authoring tools – currently associated with ProProfs Training Maker.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

5 Key Software Development Technologies You Can Learn Online

The following is a guest post by Hardik Shah, a Tech Consultant at Simform, a leading custom software development company. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

In this digital world, there is no skill more valuable than programming and software development. Every year, thousands of software, apps and web apps are developed, catering to the growing need for enterprise and retail applications.

As the demand for exciting features, intuitive UI/UX and responsive solutions is increasing, the software development field is evolving with new technologies, frameworks, and languages. Also, the existing programming landscape is maturing with dynamic job roles designed for a modern software developer.

In this rapidly changing landscape, learning software development technologies and improving one’s skills is extremely essential. Not only does it boost employment prospects but it also increases the chances of grabbing a lucrative job offer from top industry names.

Also, if you are smitten by the entrepreneurial bug, then learning a thing or two about software development would make you better equipped to launch your own technology startup.

In this post, we’ll highlight five relevant software development technologies that you should master. You can learn these technologies online using online courses and open learning resources easily.

Once you learn any technology, you can search for jobs by googling “custom software development company near me”. You find that there are lot of software development companies that are looking for talented developers.

1. JavaScript

JavaScript is one of the most critical programming technologies on the planet. Not only does JavaScript make it easier to offer enhanced user experiences but it is easy-to-learn and master. JavaScript allows developers to create a full application suite without using any other technology. While JavaScript can support a client-side solution, it can also be used to develop a server-side application using the Node.js framework.

In fact, JavaScript is the base for several programming frameworks, making it a wise decision to learn JavaScript if you want to excel at software development and programming.

There are many paid and free courses on JavaScript that you can start with if you are planning to learn JavaScript online. You can start with this course on Udemy if you are looking to start from scratch and hone your software development skills.

2. Java

Java is one of the most popular programming languages which is used for iOS & Android app development along with other use cases. It was one of the first object-oriented programming languages that are still widely used in web development, software development, and mobile app development. Several Fortune 500 companies harness the Java technology for server-side application development, making it one of the most lucrative technologies to learn at present.

You can use Java to create highly scalable and robust software and apps for a large number of users, easily. Java can also teach you the basics of programming and can help you set a strong foundation for your learning and programming endeavors in the future.

This specialization by Duke University on Coursera can take you through the fundamentals as well as some advanced programming concepts.

3. Python

Python has a long history of supporting large-scale software development projects. Touted as one of the easiest programming languages, Python is known for its extensive support libraries, open-source background, and easy-to-learn syntax. Several large organizations, including NASA and Google, have used Python on several projects. In fact, many modern web development frameworks, including Flask & Django, are also based on Python. This means that Python still has a lot of scope in the programming industry.

So, you should think of learning Python for all its benefits and modern applications that are increasing day by day. This Coursera specialization by the University of Michigan is a great way to get started on your journey to learn Python programming language.

4. Blockchain

Blockchain is a relatively new technology that has already revolutionized many sectors and industries. The growing demand for Blockchain-based solutions makes it a lucrative technology to learn in the modern era.

Blockchain is all about using a decentralized consensus-based system for processing transactions between two parties without an intermediary. In recent times, many financial institutions have explored the scope of Blockchain for digitizing their processes. Also, the cryptocurrency hype associated with Bitcoin has made Blockchain a promising technology to learn and master. In the future, as the use cases evolve and more industries start adopting blockchain-based solutions, the possibilities for a developer would be limitless.

You can enroll in ‘Blockchain Revolution for Enterprise Specialization’ course available on Coursera to learn more about Blockchain and how you can master blockchain development skills for the future.

5. Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails technology is in high demand owing to the benefits it offers for employers as well as developers. Programmers can use the web app development framework for quickly developing, testing and deploying prototypes without much fuss. Several tech mammoths, including Airbnb, Twitter, and Shopify, have used the technology to create intuitive web apps.

Also, the open-source nature of the framework and easy syntax makes it a great option to get started for anyone looking to improve their programming skills online.

This course on Ruby on Rails can be a good start for you if you want to understand the framework and want to start building web apps, soon.

Final Words

Learning a programming language, framework or technology can be a gamechanger in your career. If you are already in the IT industry or are planning to kickstart your career, learning more about software development technologies is an easy and cost-efficient way. By completing the above-mentioned courses, you can definitely improve your programming skills and gain the agility and robustness modern companies require.

Author’s Bio: Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform, a leading custom software development company. Hardik leads large scale mobility programs covering platforms, solutions, governance, standardization and best practices.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

6 VR Apps That Transform Education

To be transported half-way across the globe in seconds, travel back in time to visit ancient civilizations, or shrunk down to microscopic size and placed within the nucleus of a human cell all sound like things out of a science fiction movie. With Virtual Reality (VR), you can do all this (and more) out of the comfort of your desk chair. VR, one of the top EdTech trends of 2018, breathes new life into the sometimes monotonous classroom experience by revolutionizing the way we learn.

 

So sit down, goggle up, and get ready to take learning to a whole new level with these 6 VR apps:

 

1. Unimersiv

Unimersiv’s VR app is the largest platform for VR educational content. Explore the interior and exterior of the International Space Station, take a tour of the Titanic, or transverse the Acropolis of Athens as it was thousands of years ago. Go beyond the confines of a classroom and expand your horizons. With new material published every month, this VR app will surely create an engaging learning experience.

2. VirtualSpeech

Have a fear of public speaking, or just want to hone your speech deliverance skills? VirtualSpeech is a speech learning app that offers many courses and public speaking training simulations including speeches, boardroom presentations, job interviews, press conferences, and more. VirtualSpeech also offers feedback by evaluating and reporting your speech scenarios. The app can track the number of filler/hesitation words, the volume and pace of the user’s voice, and eye contact performance. You can also record your training sessions for future review and analysis.

3. Eon Creator AVR

EON Creator AVR (Augmented Virtual Reality) is an app that allows users to create, collaborate and share VR content. The app helps users design incredible learning content without the need for advanced programming skills. Browse the EON experience VR library containing 3D objects and 3D scenes. You can scale the size of the objects, build, configure, combine, lay them out, and add information to them (like names, descriptions, videos, slideshows, and more). Users can take apart aerospace machinery, build an engine, practice a delicate medical procedure, and more with this hands on app.

4. ImmerseMe

One of the best ways to learn and become fluent in a new language is to immerse yourself in that culture, practice conversation and surround yourself with the local sights and people. ImmerseMe is about virtually stepping into a beautiful and authentic location to learn a language, so that when you travel to these wonderful places in real-life, you’ll be prepared! Choose from over 500 scenarios across 9 languages. Order coffee in a cafe in Germany, buy a loaf of bread in Paris, or ask for tapas at a Spanish restaurant with this innovative language learning app.

5. TheBodyVR

TheBodyVR creates an immersive teaching environment allowing students and healthcare professionals to interact with the human anatomy and physiology in a whole new way. The app simulates real-world healthcare scenarios to teach and train more effectively and efficiently. It provides real-time, anatomically accurate, patient specific, VR simulations to visualize medical diagnoses, illustrate the impact of procedures and treatments, and create more educated decision-making. You can also travel through the bloodstream and discover how blood cells work to spread oxygen throughout the body, or enter one of the billions of living human cells and learn how the organelles work together to fight deadly viruses.

6. Anatomyou

Anatomyou VR presents human anatomy to the user from a different perspective. Become a part of the anatomy in an immersive way. You can navigate along anatomical structures and travel through the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and female reproductive systems. This app is great for biology students or anyone with interest in the inner workings of the body. Topics that were once limited to the pages of a text book are now captivating experiences.

 

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Virtual Reality- The New e-Learning Reality

virtual-reality-sepiaWith the introduction and growth of social media in the past decade or so, technology has often been blamed for a decrease in social skills and interactions. Although apps such as Facebook and twitter allow for a broader sense of connection and communication across the globe, many educators argue that technology is not just changing but eroding the way people interact with one another.  However, a form of technology first introduced in the 1930’s has since made a comeback and is slowly working its way into both personal and professional environments to change this view of computers and other artificial intelligence.

Virtual Reality (VR), which refers to the emulation of real world phenomenon through hardware and software, allows users to physically engage in a 3-D generated virtual environment in order to experience events, places, and people using more than just the five basic senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. By placing a user into a high tech, fabricated environment, VR can be used to truly enhance the way subject matters are given over to students, both in and out of the classroom.

Virtual reality can be implemented in one of two ways- either using a traditional desktop and virtual reality software, or using a fully immersive virtual environment (one that requires the student to use a head mounted display- HMD) and data glove for physical interaction and engagement. And, for those truly dedicated to the enrichment of a classroom using technology, lessons can be brought to life using a differentiable form of VR called Augmented Reality (AR).

Augmented reality, an enhanced form of virtual reality, is a means of making learning, which is usually 2-Dimensional, 3-Dimensional. Described simply as the digital display of information on the things that surround us, AR blends technology with real life by allowing developers and users to create an overlay of digital information onto a material thing. By superimposing a digital image onto a physical surface, this form of technology can enrich the way students view subjects such as biology and physiology, and can allow for a more realistic understanding of subjects through visual representation.

So what is so great about virtual reality, and what can it bring to a distance learning environment that traditional learning software cannot? The following are 6 ways in which virtual reality could be indispensable in the online classroom:

  1. Expand the roles of the classroom– Whereas a traditional classroom is stationary and doesn’t allow for the hands-on exploration of many topics taught, a virtual environment allows students to physically engage in their learning. Using virtual reality software, the typical classroom could be converted from a lecture hall into a vehicle for travel, allowing students to walk through a historic city or building in history class, or grab and manipulating objects, graphs, or data for a math lesson. With virtual reality, a classroom is no longer simply the place where a teacher talks and attempts to show students how things look outside the walls of the school (or in this case, wherever students may be sitting at their computers), but a medium through which students can interact with and learn from the material of a lesson.
  2. Enhance methods of collaboration– Although there are numerous apps and other software that can be used to allow students to interact and collaborate on assignments, none of them live up to the high standards that virtual reality has set for social integration of learners in an online learning environment. VR technology supports the learning styles of all students, incorporating the auditory, visual, tactile learning preferences of different students into a combined learning environment.
  3. Add a social-emotional element to learning – Before the times when every adult and child walked around with a smartphone or tablet, and before the internet made video conferencing a possibility, in order to truly communicate, people were required to meet and speak face to face. Now, however, we live in a digital age in which it is almost inconceivable that a person should not have access constant access to social media or email. And, more often than not, meetings and interactions, both in schools and the workplace, are taking place via the internet in 2-Dimensional form, lacking the more concrete feel of a 3-Dimensional environment. However, the use of virtual reality could revive the methods of old, allowing users in a shared virtual environment to communicate and interact more thoroughly. This technology could allow people to make true human connections, regardless of where they are in the world. And, by being able to share virtual realities, students can include others in their experiences, allowing individuals to connect and relate to others in a way never done before. It can change how people perceive one another, working as the ultimate tool for emotional connectivity across the globe.
  4. Inspire creativity– The greatest teachers are always looking for new ways to touch and inspire their students. Most are hesitant to tap into the endless world of technology, because the countless gadgets can be overwhelming or distracting. But, when used correctly, Virtual Reality can be an avenue for inspiration, pushing students to explore the limits of their imaginations and see how far their creativity can take them.
  5. Add relatable rewards and incentives for students– Because of the myriad of apps that allow players to work towards incentives and prizes, the younger generation has adapted a unique attitude towards virtual reality and technological interaction. So, instead of simply having students explore concepts and places using VR, add an element of reward to the interactive teaching method. By building teams or achieving specific goals or tasks, students could earn collective bonuses based on academic goals achieved, pushing them to achieve more and reach higher in their learning.
  6. Virtual Reality can make possible the realistically impossible– This last one speaks for itself. Although technology as a whole has changed the way both students and teachers view education and the classroom, there is no other means by which learners could truly become a part of their lessons and interact with the world on such a physical and realistic level. And, as 20th Century science fiction writer Douglas Adams stated in an interview with The Guardian, “What the computer in virtual reality enables us to do is to recalibrate ourselves so that we can start seeing those pieces of information that are invisible to us but have become important for us to understand.”

For more information about Virtual Reality and its potential in the online classroom, take a look at some of these great links:

 

Sources:

Virtual Reality in the Classroom Infographic

Immerse Yourself in Virtual and Augmented Reality Infographic

Virtual Reality in the Classroom, by The Virtual Reality Society

5 Ways Virtual Reality will Change Education, by Kate Abrosimova

5 Tools to Leverage Augmented Reality, by Laura Devaney

The Augmented Future of eLearning: Augmented Reality in eLearning, by Nicholas Filler

Great Voices of Science Fiction, The Guardian Newspaper

The Ultimate Guide to Snapchatting in the Classroom

snapchat in the classroom

https://www.snapchat.com/
https://www.snapchat.com/

You’ve heard of Snapchat as a social-media app for personal use, but what about using Snapchat for education?

Snapchat, the free mobile messaging app that emerged in September of 2011, is one of the foremost social media apps used, not only by millennials but also those born before the digital age, to share pictures, videos, texts, and more.  However, to date Snapchat has been used primarily for social media and friendly interaction. So, how exactly could teachers and students make use of Snapchat in their daily lessons or homework assignments?

 

Snapchat can be used for:

  1. COMMUNICATING– Dr. Jon Ernstberger of LaGrange College in LaGrange, GA, explains how most, if not all, students are already carrying smartphones, and as of April 2016, more than 77% of college students were using Snapchat on a daily basis. Using Snapchat, teachers can reach and communicate with their students using the technology and tools that are already a daily part of their lives.
  2. DISTANCE TEACHING– Teachers can use Snapchat as a means of coaching students through an assignment or task, sharing pictures or videos of each step in a process instead of having to write or verbalize what may be more complicated instructions.
  3. STORYTELLING– As part of the age of technology, educators are trying to encourage their students to get physically involved in their education. Using Snapchat, students can create and share videos that depict the stages of an assignment, such as a science experiment or the acting out of a book or play being read in class.
  4. LANGUAGE LEARNING– Snapchat can be used like a set of flashcards, with a teacher sending a word to his students and requesting a response in the form of a video or picture that best defines that word (or vice versa). This can be used for advanced vocabulary or foreign language lessons.
  5. COUNTING DOWN THE MINUTES– Another use for Snapchat in the classroom can be for teachers to publicize the amount of time until an exam or due date, visually depicting to students how much time they have to prepare for the upcoming event.

For more information on Snapchatting in the Classroom, see Can Snapchat Bridge the Communication Chasm in Online Courses?, by Jon Ernstberger & Melissa A. Venable. 

 

Sources:

80 Amazing Snapchat Statistics, by Craig Smith

Can Snapchat Bridge the Communication Chasm in Online Courses?, by Jon Ernstberger & Melissa A. Venable.

Why Millennials Use Snapchat, by Maya Kosoff

 

Transcribe and Add Captions to Video Lectures with 3PlayMedia

3playmedia

3PlayMedia offers online services that provide captions, interactive transcriptions, and multi-lingual translations of videos for higher ed.

Videos can be imported directly from popular lecture-capture systems or simply uploaded from a computer or website.

Why transcribe video lectures into text format?

Transcribing online lecture videos into text format makes the text searchable and allows students to easily add bookmarks for later reference. Students can follow along with the lecture at their own pace, instead of having to rewind and fast forward the video when they mis-heard something in the video.

Furthermore, adding captions and transcriptions to videos makes videos accessible and helps universities comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 requirements.

Many higher ed institutions have made use of 3Play Media, including Harvard, Yale, MIT, Georgia Tech, Penn State University, University of Florida, University of Wisconsin, and Colorado State University.

Learn more about how 3Play Media can be used for education or e-learning.

* The 3PlayMedia logo is the sole and exclusive property of 3PlayMedia.

Camtasia: Screen-Recording Software for Producing Engaging Interactive Video Lessons

CS8_EN_zoom-pan-CROPPED-glow

Record your own video lectures using Camtasia software (created by TechSmith).

Camtasia Studio and Camtasia Relay are screen-recording software products that allow professors to easily create clean, interactive, and professional-looking video presentations for their courses.

These video presentations can include a wide variety of content including Powerpoint or Keynote presentations, websites, images, music, and interactive content.

To save even more time and efficiency, professors can edit and enhance their videos right inside the program, using Camtasia’s built-in video-editing tools.

Furthermore, with Camtasia’s Remove A Color effect, professors can even record videos of themselves speaking in front of green screens, and then superimpose themselves on top of their presentations.

While professors of online courses can use Camtasia to present full weekly lectures, professors of blended courses can use Camtasia to prepare materials for students to watch at home, thereby maximizing the time spent in the classroom. In keeping with the flipped classroom model, students can watch pre-recorded lectures on their own time before attending class. Classroom time can then be used for processing the material through discussions, quizzes, and activities.

Notably, Mike Garver, professor of Marketing Research at Central Michigan University, has used Camtasia to record lectures for students to watch at home, which “freed up more time for class discussion and critical thinking.”

Techsmith offers discounted education pricing for their products and provides tutorials to help educators get started.