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.