Remote(ly) — Buzzword of the year
Due to a recent coronavirus pandemic, the world has changed. Streets, parks, shopping malls, company offices are empty because everybody’s at home, waiting for the air to clear, literally. As a consequence, schools are empty too.
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” — Remote learning
For all the uncertainties during the last few weeks, I feel good again because the #STAYATHOME situation didn’t stop students from meeting their teachers and listening to their classes. How was that even possible? Easily! They were doing it remotely. Not only in the US but all over the world, by using video-conferencing apps, teachers have offered one-on-one appointments to their students to connect, get lectures (learn) and provide feedback.
In addition, teachers were working “tirelessly” to help families troubleshoot a variety of issues — whether it was signing in or getting familiar with the online learning platform. As many families had never used video-conferencing services before, youngest students, such as kindergartners, used help from their parents’ to access the program. That was something really nice to see — using the cliche, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,”
Hands-free communication tool
For a start, to do a video-conferencing call, you need a smart device with a camera. Usually, that would be your mobile or a desktop device. The great thing about cameras in those devices is that they are capable of providing excellent video quality while being able to work with a variety of video-streaming services. Still, using those cameras could be a problem. Those cameras are fixed and built to capture your face, but if you need a camera that can show things from your point-of-view, to show others what you’re seeing and the things you’re doing with your hands, you’ll need a hands-free and a POV (point-of-view) camera in one.
Now imagine if you were a math teacher and remotely, by using a video-conferencing call, you want to show your students how to solve a math problem while drawing it on a blackboard. How could you do that with a mobile or a desktop device? Not so easily.
Wearable technology or wearables are smart electronic devices (electronic devices with micro-controllers) that are worn close to or on the surface of your skin. Sometimes those devices can be mounted to your body or your clothes, but either way, you won’t need to hold them in your hands to operate them. Believe it or not, there are only a few wearable devices with a built-in camera that can connect to the Internet and work with video-conferencing services. More interestingly, except one, all of those devices are called smart glasses.
Unlike smart glasses, Vyoocam is the only wearable device that is actually a POV camera capable of running not only the video-conferencing apps but any app available on Google Play store. Yes, you heard it right. Vyoocam is the only wearable device that can run any Android app the same way Android smartphone does. More interestingly, Vyoocam doesn’t have a head-up display which many users find very unattractive and difficult to use. The advantages of not having a head-up display are numerous; the device is small and robust so it can be easily held in a pocket, it can easily clip-on to any eyewear or a head-mount, because there’s no need to power a display, the device has a long battery life and most importantly, it is very easy to use.
Educational applications, platforms and resources listed below aim to help parents, teachers, schools and school administrators facilitate student learning and provide social care and interaction during periods of school closure. Most of the services listed are free, and many cater to multiple languages, tend to have a broad reach, strong user-base, or evidence of impact. They are categorized based on distance learning needs, but most of them offer functionalities across multiple categories. Lastly, most of the services listed have an Android mobile app, and therefore, unlike with smart glasses, they can work with Vyoocam.
To learn more about Vyoocam visit https://vyoocam.com
Digital learning management systems
- Blackboard(link is external) — Resources and tools to transition and deliver quality teaching and learning online.
- CenturyTech(link is external) — Personal learning pathways with micro-lessons to address gaps in knowledge, challenge students, and promote long-term memory retention.
- ClassDojo(link is external) — Connects teachers with students and parents to build classroom communities.
- Edmodo(link is external) — Tools and resources to manage classrooms and engage students remotely.
- Edraak(link is external) — Arabic language online education with resources for school learners and teachers.
- EkStep(link is external) — Open learning platform with a collection of learning resources to support literacy and numeracy.
- Google Classroom(link is external) — Helps classes connect remotely, communicate and stay organized.
- Moodle(link is external) — Community-driven and globally-supported open learning platform.
- Nafham(link is external) — Arabic language online learning platform hosting educational video lessons that correspond with Egyptian and Syrian curricula.
- Schoology(link is external) — Tools to support instruction, learning, grading, collaboration, and assessment.
- Seesaw(link is external) — Enables the creation of collaborative and sharable digital learning portfolios and learning resources.
- Skooler(link is external) — Tools to turn Microsoft Office software into an education platform.
- Study Sapuri(link is external) — Japanese language online learning platform for middle school students.
Systems purpose-built for mobile phones
- Cell-Ed(link is external) — Learner-centered, skills-based learning platform with offline options.
- Eneza Education(link is external) — Revision and learning materials for basic feature phones.
- Funzi(link is external) — Mobile learning service that supports teaching and training for large groups.
- KaiOS(link is external) — Software that gives smartphone capabilities to inexpensive mobile phones and helps open portals to learning opportunities.
- Ubongo(link is external) — Uses entertainment, mass media, and the connectivity of mobile devices to deliver localized learning to African families at low cost and scale.
- Ustad Mobile(link is external) — Access and share educational content offline.
Systems with strong offline functionality
- Can’t wait to Learn(link is external) — Gaming technology to deliver quality education to children, including those in conflict contexts.
- Kolibri(link is external) — Learning application to support universal education.
- Rumie(link is external) — Education tools and content to enable lifelong learning for underserved communities.
- Ustad Mobile(link is external) — Access and share educational content offline.
Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Platforms
- Alison(link is external) — Online courses from experts.
- Coursera(link is external) — Online courses taught by instructors from well-recognized universities and companies.
- EdX(link is external) — Online courses from leading educational institutions.
- University of the People(link is external) — Online university with open access to higher education.
- Icourses(link is external) — Chinese language courses for university students.
- Future Learn(link is external) — Online courses to help learners study, build professional skills and connect with experts.
- Canvas — Lifelong learning and professional development for educators.
Self-directed learning content
- Byju’s(link is external) — Learning application with large repositories of educational content tailored for different grades and learning levels.
- Discovery Education(link is external) — Free educational resources and lessons about viruses and outbreaks for different grade levels.
- Geekie(link is external) — Portuguese language web-based platform that provides personalized educational content using adaptive learning technology.
- Khan Academy(link is external) — Free online courses, lessons, and practice.
- KitKit School(link is external) — Tablet-based learning suite with a comprehensive curriculum spanning early childhood through early primary levels.
- LabXchange(link is external) — Curated and user-created digital learning content delivered on an online platform that enables educational and research experiences.
- Mindspark(link is external) — Adaptive online tutoring system that helps students practice and learn mathematics.
- Mosoteach(link is external) — Chinese language application hosting cloud classes.
- OneCourse(link is external) — Child-focused application to deliver reading, writing, and numeracy education.
- Quizlet(link is external) — Learning flashcards and games to support learning in multiple subjects.
- Siyavula(link is external) — Mathematics and physical sciences education aligned with the South African curriculum.
- YouTube(link is external) — Huge repository of educational videos and learning channels.
Mobile reading applications
- African Storybook(link is external) — Open access to picture storybooks in African languages.
- Global Digital Library(link is external) — Digital storybooks and other reading materials easily accessible from mobile phones or computers.
- Lezioni Sul sofà — A collection of Italian language books for children, complemented with read-aloud features as well as videos discussing books and art.
- StoryWeaver(link is external) — Digital repository of multilingual stories for children.
- Worldreader(link is external) — Digital books and stories accessible from mobile devices and functionality to support reading instruction.
Collaboration platforms that support live-video communication
- DingTalk(link is external) — Communication platform that supports video conferencing, task and calendar management, attendance tracking and instant messaging.
- Lark(link is external) — Collaboration suite of interconnected tools, including chat, calendar, creation, and cloud storage.
- Hangouts Meet(link is external) — Video calls integrated with other Google’s G-Suite tools.
- Teams(link is external) — Chat, meet, call and collaboration features integrated with Microsoft Office software.
- Skype(link is external) — Video and audio calls with talk, chat, and collaboration features.
- Zoom(link is external) — Cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars.
Tools to create digital learning content
- Thinglink(link is external) — Tools to create interactive images, videos, and other multimedia resources.
- Buncee(link is external) — Supports the creation and sharing of visual representations of learning content, including media-rich lessons, reports, newsletters, and presentations.
- EdPuzzle(link is external) — Video lesson creation software.
- Kaltura(link is external) — Video management and creation tools with integration options for various learning management systems.
- Nearpod(link is external) — Software to create lessons with informative and interactive assessment activities.
- Pear Deck(link is external) — Facilitates the design of engaging instructional content with various integration features.
- Squigl(link is external) — Content creation platform that transforms speech or text into animated videos.