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How Can Schools Move In-Person Classes Online Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic


Scott Ready, Senior Customer Success & Accessibility Strategist at Verbit shares insights with our editorial team on how can schools move online amid the coronavirus situation.

1. How do edtech tools enhance an online learning environment?

Technology affords all disciplines the ability to deliver and learn through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous engagements. Starting with a Learning Management System (LMS) as the core educational technology, other tools provide the ability for instructors and students to achieve their learning objectives. The technology often provides enhanced learning experiences well above the traditional face-to-face delivery model by enabling review and engagement with the course content multiple times and in multiple ways.

2. How can schools use these tools to move in-person classes online amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

Schools can move content from offline to an online course setting with technology that provides students with access to learning without the need for a physical classroom. In the online environment, there are various tools that enable student-to-student, as well as student-to-instructor interactions. As a stop-gap measure amid the pandemic, this is a viable approach. As a longer-term solution, schools will want to consider a design stage where pedagogical practices for successful online delivery are applied. Some instructors are using web conferencing tools and holding meetings at the same time they were meeting in their classrooms. These web conferencing tools provide opportunities for lecture material and student interaction to take place in a live setting, while still meeting the need to be remote. As more planning takes place in light of this transition, one of the top considerations is how to ensure the learning environment is still accessible for students with disabilities. This consideration is often an afterthought, but it needs to be part of the initial plan. For example, providing transcripts of online lectures can make all the difference for students who are hard of hearing or deaf and must now learn remotely.

3. How do these e-learning tools help schools support students of all learning abilities?

Since students learn in various ways, digital tools can provide a variety of ways to engage with content. For example, some students prefer to read content, while others learn better if they are able to watch a video. Most students learn best when viewing video and reading are combined, allowing them to have a multimodal learning engagement. Digital learning tools also provide access for those with varying abilities. Captioning is an excellent example. Captioning not only meets the needs of students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, but it also meets the needs of a commuter who cannot play audio out loud and needs to read what is being said. It also helps the student having a difficult time understanding the accent of an instructor, as well as the international student who is learning in a language which is not native to them. These tools increase all students’ abilities to succeed academically.

4. How is Verbit working with these schools to provide live captioning (CART services) that integrates with their preferred web conferencing platforms?

Verbit has developed a live CART integration with Zoom, one of the leading web conferencing platforms in education. This integration provides students with the ability to have captions and a live transcript of everything that is said during a live lecture session or a meeting with a professor, providing greater access for all students. In instances when schools use another web conferencing platform, Verbit can still provide a live CART experience for the student. The only difference is that the captions or transcription will appear in a separate window opened on their computer.

Read the article on EdTechReview here.

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The gig economy is alive and well — here’s how to make money now

In mid-March, I spotted a poster slapped onto the pole of a Park Avenue traffic light advertising $200 virtual therapy services for coronavirus-related anxiety. A week later, my Upper East Side neighborhood was plastered with ads. It got me thinking: Surely there are creative ways to make extra green from home. It turns out that there are many paths to boost your bank account in life under lockdown.

Start a YouTube channel
You don’t need to be a Kardashian to turn the video platform into a money-maker. Consider any fields where you have some expertise — vegan cooking, bartending, coding, whatever — and get filming. Lifestyle and dating advice YouTuber Shallon Lester says she’s seen traffic go way up in recent weeks, and is on track for her first million-view video.

“I used to gain about 700 subscribers a day,” she says. “Now I’m getting about 1,300. If you’re looking for views, positivity is the name of the game.”

Matthew Ross, a co-founder of mattress review site The Slumber Yard — born out of his YouTube channel, concurs. “The nice thing about creating a YouTube channel is that it takes more effort than capital,” says Ross. “It takes time to come up with ideas, film videos and then edit them; however, the cost shouldn’t be more than $250 to $750 upfront.

All you need is a decent camera (iPhones work fine to start) and some video-editing software.” Success is measured in cost per mille (CPM), the average gross revenue per thousand playbacks. Ross says CPM rates can vary by content type and advertisers, but they typically range from $3 to $15 per thousand views.

Teach a yoga or fitness class
Consider streaming classes, but adjust your strategy to cater to customer demand.

“People’s schedules have gone out the window, so that’s something to keep in mind,” says Rebecca Weible, founder of NYC’s Yo Yoga! “Poll your audience and see what works best. For instance, 8 a.m. class times have never been very successful in our studio, but it has become one of the busiest weekday classes [online].”

Another tip: Bundle to increase your margins. “Offering class packages that bring the cost down from your per-class price will encourage people to continue,” says Weible, who charges $35 for five virtual classes.

Think about establishing a niche. “Family or kids’ yoga classes are a great way to engage a larger audience. Parents are especially appreciative of having ways to entertain their kids.”

For those who teach other types of fitness classes — Pilates, boot camps, Zumba — the same guidelines apply. Worth noting: You may want to start by making some of your classes donation-based to hook clients.

Join Rise
If you’re a woman with an entrepreneurial spirit and at least seven years of work experience, join Rise, where consultants make an average of $5,000 per project.

“As a flexible work platform that connects high-skilled, high-performing women to flexible, freelance and remote job opportunities, we’ve seen an unprecedented increase in our membership since COVID-19,” comments Vivian Chen, the company’s founder and CEO. “Our Web site updates daily with new work-from-home job opportunities in marketing, sales, strategy, product, engineering and more.”

Bonus: It’s completely free to join.

Peddle creative or technical services
Writer? SEO specialist? Designer? Identify your skill (language translation, medical writing, social media, logo illustration) and sell yourself on online freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork. Also browse sites like LinkedInMediabistro and JournalismJobs.

Train dogs
If you’re a dog whisperer, now’s your time to shine — from afar. Using FaceTime or Zoom, offer your skills to pet owners in need of puppy training. Send an e-mail blast announcing your services or post on neighborhood forums. Meg Marrs, founder of dog care website K9 of Mine, has seen phone or online dog behaviorist consultations run in the $30- to $50-per-hour range, with 30-minute consultations netting $15 to $25. Marrs is even hiring YouTube creators and writers on a project basis to meet the demand.

Play some e-Sports
If you’re a gamer, try the Play One Up app, which matches amateur gamers to paid competitions in Madden NFL, NBA 2K and FIFA. Rates are decided by the players and are typically around $10 to $50 a game.

Tutor academics
Teleconferencing makes virtual tutoring a breeze, and Sally Ann’s parents aren’t about to let the coronavirus destroy their precious daughter’s shot at Yale.
Jason Patel, founder of college and career prep company Transizion (which is currently seeking additional high school advisors) stresses the importance of keeping references on-hand for clients. “You can be an SAT, elementary English, high school math or college physics tutor, as long as you have the experience,” says Patel.

See if previous students you’ve worked with would be willing to write short testimonials so you can use them on a personal Web site or an e-Tutor service like wyzantOutschool or TutorMe. Patel says rates can start from $50 an hour — and you don’t need us to tell you that NYC parents may shell out more than that.

Tutor the fun stuff
Harried moms and dads are desperate to keep their kids and teens entertained in ways that don’t rot their brains and may bolster college applications. Hone in on skill sets outside of traditional academics, like chess, photography, music or robotics. On TakeLessons, which offers tutoring in 300 subjects, one violin instructor earned $88,000 in 2018 — from her living room.

Give psychic readings
Believe it (ahem) or not, the demand for online mediums is skyrocketing. Advertise on social media, build your own Web site, or register on sites like Kasamba, a psychic chat line. Expect to make upwards of $2 a minute.

Become a transcriber
If you’re detail-oriented and have superb language skills, Verbit, an AI-based transcription company in NYC, wants to hire you. The company relies on a network of 15,000 stenographers, who edit and review transcripts that are generated by Verbit’s AI technology.

Take the counsel of Ande Frazier, CFP and CEO of financial wellness site myWorth, and “consider offering your skills voluntarily to get a little good karma in the bank.”

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