Virtual Learning: Inherently Flawed or Room for Improvement?

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 Paula Antalffy
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The Age of Virtual Learning

During the past few months virtual learning has been at the forefront of everyone's minds. For many the conclusion has been that virtual learning is a less effective, inferior teaching method to face-to-face interactions.

This to some extent is true in the circumstances of a global pandemic which were thrust upon parents and teachers around the world. The unanticipated changes which occurred in the world since the closing of schools has left teaching juggling all aspects of virtual classrooms by themselves. Furthermore, keeping children at home has left them stir-crazy and their parents exhausted.

Nevertheless, virtual classrooms are not inherently flawed. In fact many tutoring firms have used online learning and CRM software for years without any issues. It is in fact the tools and platforms provided to educators, which are the core of the problem.

What is the problem with existing virtual learning solutions?

If one searches the internet for the most popular option for virtual classrooms (Zoom) it is clear the system is plagued with problems. From high profile hacking cases, to zoom bombing and unexplained technical difficulties, educators have not had an easy ride.

To put is simply, conferencing software like Zoom was never intended to be used by children and educators. While the company has made several improvements to help teachers have better control over their classroom (e.g.: more muting options, easier classroom overviews), for many this not enough.

Photo of zoom meeting by Charles Deluvio
Photo of zoom meeting by Charles Deluvio

What do teachers really want?

Business magazine Fast Company decided to take the dilemma of virtual learning software into their own hands. Going directly to the source, they interviewed a number of teachers on what they would do to make online learning tools better.

The result of the interviews were laughably simple. Here are a few of their ideas:

  • An intuitive mute button, even the youngest school children can understand.
  • Easier to use, better rooms to hold smaller group breakout sessions in.
  • Simple but more robust chat features, which are easier to follow.

Is there an existing solution out there?

While it is easy for anyone to sit back and fantasise about the ideal virtual learning environment, a quicker more effective solution is to find a workable, preexisting alternative. Ironically, as virtual learning became day-to-day for most, very few schools chose to explore virtual whiteboards and classrooms. Instead they opted for video conferencing software.

Online whiteboard and virtual classroom software, was created with a learning environment in mind. This means many of the daily struggles faced by teachers on Zoom have already been apprehended and fixed. Virtual learning tools not only offer a collaborative, intuitive and easy to use learning environment, they are also designed to make the lives of teachers easier.

Girl sitting in front of laptop smiling (Photo by Frank Romero)
Girl sitting in front of laptop smiling (Photo by Frank Romero)

What can online whiteboards offer educators?

Lessonspace, one of the most popular online whiteboard companies knows all about the struggles of teaching online. That is why they have spent years improving and perfecting their virtual classroom solution. The company has worked hard to give teachers control of their lessons is the most simple and manageable way.

Virtual classrooms offer a wide range of features which can help educators keep their students focused and engaged. Along with the video conferencing features offered by the likes of Zoom such as video, audio and written chat, online whiteboard software is fitted with dozens of teaching specific tools.

Here are just a few that Lessonspace offer:

  • Distinct learning tools: The collaborative space within the software can be customised to match the aims of each lesson. Teachers have the ability to switch between a collaborative whiteboard, maths workspace, document editing and even coding! These tools can help students stay focused and learn better.
  • Importing and annotation: Educators have the ability to import documents from their own computer and annotate them throughout the lesson. They can also give students the opportunity to add to the PDFs and documents creating more interactive lessons.
  • Easy to use dashboard: Lessonspace gives teachers an intuitive and easy to understand dashboard where they can get an overview of student profiles, insight and analytics. They can also view all of their lesson set-up options here.

These tools are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the capabilities of online whiteboards. For anyone looking to find better, more intuitive remote learning software, this is a good place to start.

You can learn more about online whiteboards here!

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