Google and YouTube have launched new resource pages to help teachers and families continue to educate students while they’re home from school due to the novel coronavirus.
With schools, colleges, and many other learning establishments closing their doors for a long period of time to protect students, it could have had a disastrous impact on the quality of education. Although learning online via a remote basis wasn’t perfect, it ensured that minimal disruption occurred as possible. To suit this new way of learning, teachers and lecturers had to alter how they taught and the tools they used to conduct their lessons. Zoom was one of the main pieces of technology that facilitated these changes, but other companies quickly saw that there was a need for more remote learning-focused software, and as a result, both Google and YouTube released aids to help people learn from home.
Google’s page, called Teach From Home, offers recommendations on how teachers can teach remotely using Google products. Right now, the page features ideas like doing a video call with a class using Hangouts or creating an online quiz using Google Forms. The page will “continue to evolve,” according to Google. There’s also a “Teach from Home toolkit,” which has resources about how to teach remotely organized into a series of slides.
Teach from Home is currently only available in English, but the downloadable toolkits are available in Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Polish, and Google says more languages are “coming soon.”
YOUTUBE’S [email protected] HIGHLIGHTS EDUCATIONAL YOUTUBE CHANNELS
YouTube’s resource, [email protected], highlights educational YouTube channels that students can watch at home. The page categorizes the channels that are recommended for families with kids 13 and older, for families with kids five and older, and for families with preschoolers. YouTube is partnering with Khan Academy and other education-focused creators on the effort, and some channels highlighted include CrashCourse, Discovery Education, Cool School, PBS Kids, and Sesame Street. [email protected] is available now in English, and will be available in Italian, French, Korean, Spanish, Japanese, and more “in the coming days,” according to YouTube.
Google is also launching a $10 million Distance Learning Fund as part of the company’s $50 million contribution made through its philanthropic arm, Google.org, to COVID-19 response efforts. Google.org will first give a $1 million grant from the fund to Khan Academy to help it “provide remote learning opportunities to students affected by COVID-19 related school closures.”
Google and YouTube Alternatives
However, although these new resources are welcomed within the homeschooling environment, they’re not the only resources that can be used to help make teaching over video call easier. In fact, countless other alternatives can be used either alongside or instead of these new options. Here’s a look at some of the alternatives to Google’s and YouTube’s offerings that can help transform your online classroom.
At the start of the pandemic, many classes were held on standard, non-specific video conferencing software, such as Zoom, Skype, and later on, Microsoft Teams. These served a purpose and worked well as teachers and students transitioned to a way of learning that was very different from what they were used to.
However, after an extended period of time, it was clear that these platforms weren’t fit for purposed in regards to prolonged online learning. This was because these platforms lacked some vital features, limiting what teachers could do. Yes, they gave teachers and participants the option to share their screen, but this feature wasn’t very useful aside from sharing PowerPoint presentations.
That’s why various dedicated remote learning platforms came around, and none are quite as good as Kaltura. This software is purpose-built for this situation, using important features to make a teacher’s life easier as it gives them more options into how to deliver their lessons. Kaltura features a shared digital whiteboard to aid collaboration – something that was lacking due to remote work, cloud recording, a content management system to share presentations, real-time notetaking capabilities, as well as live quizzes.
These extra features allow a teacher to create more engaging lessons and add variety to how they deliver the curriculum, with benefits learning greatly. The platform is also entirely web-based, meaning that it requires no downloads or installation, making it an easy platform for all your students to adopt and use.
Big Blue Button
Online and remote learning isn’t something that came out of the blue due to the recent pandemic. In fact, it’s been a sector of education that’s been around for a while now, with Big Blue Button being one of the original pieces of software to break into the field back in 2007. Over the years, this resource has helped people learn better online and provides a similar service to Kaltura, apart from one crucial difference: Big Blue Button is free to use.
Offering similar features such as an interactive whiteboard, breakout rooms, and file sharing capabilities is a good option for teachers or tutors on a budget. It only allows for 15 webcams to be broadcast at once, however, which could be a bit of a negative for teachers of large classes, but it could be the perfect resource for private tutors who might have a smaller student base. Big Blue Button also integrates well with other major learning management systems, meaning that you likely don’t have to change much about how you already manage your teaching if you opt to use this service.
Cloud computing is essential when remote learning is involved. Without it, it will be very difficult for teachers to obtain and gain insight into the work that their students are producing at home, and it will be really hard to share resources, reading material, and more.
A shared cloud system will allow every student to access the same files, share work between themselves, and even send work to their teachers. One of the best and most trusted cloud storage systems is Microsoft Sharepoint.
When signed in, students can use the platform to access their work from any device, making it super convenient for them to work where to suit them. With the resource, students can send in the work that they’ve produced to be marked and assessed by their teacher, and they can also share important documents with their peers if they’re working on a collaborative project.
When using Sharepoint, however, it’s important that good discipline and file management is adopted so that everything is stored in the right place. This means it might be worth figuring out the best way to organize the class’s work and taking some time to teach them what is expected of them. Due to it being pretty easy for users to overwrite, delete, or edit other people’s documents and work, this solution might not be suitable for young students and instead could be an option for people in college or University.
Google Docs is another online cloud solution that students can use to share files across the web. It’s a lot more straightforward than other cloud solutions, and security levels can be customized so that only authorized people can see certain documents, which is good if you only want a certain number of students to be able to view and make changes to something.
Google Docs can also be very beneficial to students who might not already have a word processor on their devices. With this web-based resource, students can create and write articles, essays, and more straight into their browser, making digital learning more accessible.
However, perhaps the best benefit of Google Docs is that it allows for collaborative working, as multiple users and view and make changes to a single document simultaneously. Students can alter text, leave comments, and more, which can then facilitate more collaborative and group projects to be completed online.
Other Reasons To Learn Online
Learning online with Google and YouTube isn’t just reserved for completing school curriculums during the pandemic. In fact, there are other reasons to use the internet to help you learn more information and improve yourself as a person.
As students start going back to in-person establishments to pursue traditional learning, that won’t spell the end of online learning. The internet is a great resource; here are a few reasons to continue learning online if it’s no longer a requirement from your situation at school or college:
Obtain A Qualification
With the advent of the modern internet, it’s now possible to obtain legitimate qualifications entirely online. These qualifications can range from online BSN programs for non nurses to degrees in humanity subjects and anything else in between. Learning a qualification online allows for an extra level of freedom and flexibility that isn’t available if you learn it the traditional way at University.
By studying a qualification online, you can work around your commitments, accessing lessons and on-demand lectures at a time that suits you. It also means that you won’t need to relocate, which can be perfect for people with jobs or families that they cant abandon. Obtaining a qualification online can open up new career opportunities or just help you learn something new that you’re interested in
Learn A New Skill
Learning a new skill can be very beneficial and rewarding as a person, as it can make you a more well-rounded individual and help you get the most out of life. Most skills can be taught via books or a mentor, however in recent years, one of the best ways to learn how to do things is through YouTube or WikiHow tutorials.
These platforms are fantastic if you want to learn how to do more vocational skills such as basic DIY, and there are bound to articles, videos, and other resources on whatever you want to know.
For more specific and academically focused skills, there are other platforms that you can use to help you learn how to do new things. SkillShare is an excellent platform for this, as it connects experts in the niche with students and provides them with video lessons to guide them through this skill. There are also other dedicated apps and software that can be useful in helping you leaning something like a new language, such as Duolingo.
Further Your Career
It can be very easy to stagnate in your career progression if you’re not dedicating a bit of time learning more about your industry and using what you obtain to perform better at work. Thankfully, there are plenty of online and digital resources that can help you get more skilled at what you’re doing and boost your CV so that you can obtain promotions or better rewarding roles.
One of the best ways to learn more things to help you improve your career prospects is through LinkedIn Learning. On this platform, you can get access to various video lectures and lessons about almost any industry, be it digital marketing, business management, and more. Spending time working your way through these resources can help you learn something new, and once you complete a course, the qualification will appear on your profile, making you instantly look more attractive to potential employers.
Additionally, sometimes certain careers require you to obtain a qualification if you want to move up the career ladder. Most of these can now be obtained through an online course, which is good, as it gives you extra flexibility to learn when you’re not in the office. Learning new qualifications online to help you get a job makes it far more accessible, as before, people might have to have gone to night school or taken a week off to complete a course, which might not have suited everyone.
Google and Youtube’s new home learning resources are a welcome addition to what is already on offer, and their functions are going to supplement the way that people learn online. In conjunction with some of the other alternatives explored in this article, it makes for a diverse and well-optimized learning environment, regardless of if you’re studying for school, to learn a new skill, or to improve your job prospects.