The ever-existing need in our system is to educate the entire population according to their dreams and aspirations. For this goal which involves billions of people, we should leverage any/every tool out there. While new technology takes time for people to accept and apply it, the need to survive speeds up this transition. One big example came through COVID. When the pandemic became our new norm we were compelled to adopt various digital tools to impart education. While the concept of Online Classrooms was frowned upon earlier, it became a widely adopted strategy for higher education during and after the pandemic

Corona and its resulting revolution on our education system

Immediately after the pandemic teachers were the first line of defence in our industry to mitigate and adapt to the changes presented by a National Lockdown. Before we were able to implement a real-time solution to the ‘new norm’ many educators and academicians continued their efforts in providing education by

  • Sharing videos on Whatsapp

  • Having Virtual Classes through Social Media Platforms like Facebook, Instagram Live etc

  • Sharing online resources through messaging platforms like WhatsApp, messenger etc

But later on, they figured out an easy way to conduct classes virtually through audio/video conferencing tools. The most preferred modes of virtual classrooms were Zoom Meetings and Google Meet. We didn’t give much thought to it then as we believed that such measures were temporary ones. In the longer run, we would always revert to the traditional modes of conducting education. But as time progressed it was evident that this new change was here to stay

After getting used to the digital way of education, major stakeholders in the industry started preferring blended learning over traditional education. The need for the latest digital tools became more evident and pronounced across all verticals of higher education. Temporary strategies like sharing resources and video files through social media platforms will not fit the bill for digital education or blended learning

As a result technologies like LMS, ERP, CMS, LXP and LRS bloomed. But when it comes to Online Classrooms institutions still prefer industry-grade audio/video conferencing tools for education over a dedicated tool created solely to conduct Virtual Classrooms

Reasons why Institutions prefer Zoom Meet and Google Meet for Online Classrooms

Way before the global pandemic, video conferencing tools like Zoom Meet and Google Meet were initially launched for the corporate people to connect with their teams and global clientele. However, the free versions promoted the widespread usage of these platforms even for personal and professional needs.

During the pandemic when education came to a standstill, major stakeholders of our industry were desperate for real-time measures to mitigate the challenges. Thus the entire education forum turned towards tools like Zoom meet, Google meet, Instagram Live, Facebook live etc to conduct classes and connect with their students. The main USPs of these audio/video conferencing tools which attracted the educational institutions were

  • Easy to install and use

  • Easy accessibility

  • Cost-effective tool

  • Amazing interoperability features

While initially, the industry-grade audio/video conferencing tools satisfied the immediate needs for connectivity and accessibility, from an educational perspective they lag in certain areas

Reasons why institutions need a dedicated educational audio/video conferencing tool for Online Classrooms

Let us imagine a real-time scenario wherein a teacher conducts his/her class and a student has certain doubts about the syllabus that is being imparted. In the traditional scenario, the student has the liberty to raise his/her query and get it sorted then and there. However, in a virtual classroom teachers don’t have the option of giving undivided attention to each student while the online classroom session is going on. In such a situation a tool that promotes ease-of-access tools like hand rise options can come in handy. However, the tools which provide such options are very few in the market

When it comes to virtual classrooms the requirements are specific and depends on each student, teacher and institution’s needs. Hence you should have a tool that is programmed according to the necessities of your end-users. While few tools give you much leeway to design it according to your unique requirements they straggle in numerous factors like

  • Cost-Effective-Zoom and Google-meet indeed have free versions but the free versions offer limited features which won’t work for an online classroom. For institutions to optimally use Zoom/Google Meet for virtual classrooms they need to invest in the paid version of the respective platforms

  • Ease of Access-As mentioned earlier the industry-grade audio/video conferencing tools were created keeping in mind the requirements of industry professionals. Hence the free version which is easily accessible will work for the requirements of a professional or individual. For organisation and institutions, you need to opt for the paid version

  • Hosting concerns-For institutions to use Zoom Meet or Google Meet, they have to choose the paid plan for a student strength of about 200 users/session. And here is where it gets even more complicated. For proprietary platforms like Zoom, you need to have a dedicated domain through which you can host your online classrooms. Hence added to paid membership fee you should also invest in domain and hostings for colleges and institutions to use the existing audio/video conferencing tools

So to wrap it up,

Online classes have seamlessly ingrained into our system so much so that kids will be preferring blended learning culture over its traditional counterpart. Though it started as a means to survive the global pandemic, it charmed its way into our existing system through its numerous perks. Now the question is which form of Online classrooms should we use?

While the existing audio/video conferencing tools offer many advantages for educational institutions to use as a tool for Online Classrooms, the need for a dedicated educational audio/video conferencing tool cannot be overlooked. With a dedicated audio/video conferencing tool for virtual classrooms, you get

  • Classroom-based features like single-click invite to an entire class, automated students’ attendance marking, roll calling and data collection, lectures recording, storage and access via an eLibrary, group chat functionalities, file and screen sharing, Hand Raise function etc

  • A student-friendly audio/video conferencing tool with safe and secured data protection features that prevent third-party access

  • Easy to use online cloud-based solution that doesn’t require separate software to be downloaded and hosted through a dedicated domain

  • A seamless online audio/video conferencing tool that can host virtual classes even in a bad bandwidth and poor internet connections