Tag: Shannon Flynn

5 Interactive Online Whiteboards For Virtual Classrooms

Shannon Flynn

Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.

Some educators are returning to in-person teaching as the coronavirus recedes — or plan to do so during the 2021-2022 school year. However, hybrid and virtual learning isn’t going anywhere fast, and these education methods will likely become a mainstay among primary and secondary schools in the coming years.

This new normal has a majority of parents asking schools to prioritize providing access to consistent, high-quality remote learning. Luckily, the education system can do just that by implementing interactive online whiteboards in the virtual classroom.

Here are a few of the best options for teachers and students alike.

1. Limnu

While Limnu has been around for six years, this online whiteboard was revamped in 2018 when the online meeting app ZipSocket acquired it. This transition gave users more remote features like a canvas with no edges or boundaries. Team collaboration also allows teachers to create groups and share boards for real-time classroom discussions. A bulk editing tool and quick refresh button also add to Limnu’s impressive functionality.

Try Limnu free for 14 days or sign up for the premium plan for just $5 per month per person. Because this application can get a bit pricey, it often works best for one-on-one tutoring or smaller classrooms with fewer students.

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Tech Equity: What It Means For Education

Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.

Shannon Flynn

Though tech is a requirement for today’s students, it’s not a universal luxury. The recent spotlight on tech equity has brought the issue to the forefront of public discourse, opening up an important conversation about the need for new policies.

The pandemic has only brought more attention to the growing disparity among students. Though many had access to digital resources through their school’s library, these tools disappeared when they were asked to learn from home.

An EdWeek Research Center survey helped contextualize the issue. Only 62% of education leaders in districts with poverty rates below 25% said everyone who needed home internet access had it. In those where poverty rates exceeded 75%, the rate of access was 31%.

How can district and school leaders manage the digital divide, and how does tech equity reflect a larger systemic issue?

Understanding the Hurdles Ahead

It’s difficult to argue that technology has made a negative impact on education. However, its absence presents a clear issue — one that continues to increase in proportion to the country’s poverty levels.

Almost 30 million low-income students currently depend on their school for breakfast or lunch. These same children are expected to have digital resources that fall outside their family’s budget, already strained by a pandemic economy.

With these factors at play, tech equity may seem ambitious. Parents may be engaged with other problems, and students don’t have the means to amend their situation. Furthermore, districts are contending with internal challenges.

Educators are planning to build on hard lessons from full-time remote learning, and any gaps in that strategy will soon become clear. Is total online schooling an effective teaching strategy? Will the deficit in tech equity compound into something larger?

Fortunately, there are strategies that offer a potential solution.

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Cybersecurity Crisis: How Education Bore The Brunt of The Pandemic

Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.

Shannon Flynn

By now, it’s hard to imagine a part of everyday life that the COVID-19 pandemic has not upended and altered for the foreseeable future. Working from home, quarantines, and vaccinations — these factors have captured a lot of the public’s attention. However, education has been hit uniquely hard over the past year and deserves more focus.

From kindergarten to higher education, remote learning is now the norm. Though some schools are attempting in-person learning and others are integrating a hybrid model, technology is now a central element. It connects students, parents, teachers, and staff. Unfortunately, not all students have these same resources or access.

Around the world, students struggle with rural connections, low incomes, and humanitarian crises. War and digital illiteracy are still significant issues in many countries. Now that the pandemic has turned people to technology as a resource, the burden is clear. A lack of digital resources is an issue, and a lack of protection for all that data is the second obstacle.

Education faces unique challenges ahead. To solve them, one must first unpack each setback.

Inaccessibility of Virtual Education

As the pandemic reached each country at the end of 2019 and throughout 2020, many schools closed down and switched to virtual learning. Some schools had to shutter completely, with no virtual education resources available. Even with the schools that offer this learning dynamic, not all students have access.

In rural areas, and for students from low-income backgrounds, virtual education may not be a tangible resource. Of New York City’s roughly 114,000 students living in a shelter or with other families, access is not always possible. Slow or insufficient internet connectivity will cause the student to fall behind or not be able to participate at all. Finding a device to begin with may also be a challenge.

However, the pandemic worsens inaccessibility. Due to health precautions and the need for social distancing, shelters may have limited capacity. Additionally, if a student from a low-income background can’t afford health insurance, they may not feel comfortable learning in-person due to COVID-19 risks.

The pandemic heightens these existing cycles and creates a domino effect. One issue leads to another, and the lack of technology perpetuates each movement.

A Lack of Resources

Tech, health, and legal resources are the most important during this pandemic. Technology provides access to education, jobs, and family. Health care is essential for treating the virus if you contract it. Laws and regulations at local and nationwide levels are also necessary to ensure students and staff stay safe.

However, schools and students may be missing one or more of these resources. While learning from home, a student may not have cybersecurity systems in place to protect their information. Educational aid is another obstacle — bringing learning to the student is difficult when the virus is still affecting millions. Tutors and in-person guidance are necessary for some. Students with disabilities may have a harder time learning from home without proper accommodations.

Faculty and staff are under immense pressure as well. In the United States, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) helps eligible employees balance their work and personal life. Other countries may not have these resources, though, and instead, teachers may be out of a job if they don’t have the right technology.

In China, the total time of lost learning results in billions of added yuan in the country’s deficit. The same phenomenon is happening across other countries, too. Resources are going to waste, costing teachers, students, and nations dearly.

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