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September 24, 2020

Early Adopters Shape Out-of-Class Learning with Tech That Rivals Real Classrooms

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As schools strategize to maintain educational continuity during Covid-19, technology fills the gaps. For many, a quick pivot to video conferencing offers a bridge, even if the experience isn’t the same as a classroom. But digital learning is here to stay, so it’s time to press for better technology.

Pushing for innovation can feel like a big ask, especially during a time of economic uncertainty. In this instance, an upgrade is vital. Education leaders owe it to their students to lean into the edges of technology and find new ways of enhancing classroom value. 

Virtual Classes

With VirBELA’s virtual world campuses, students enter a classroom as avatars—similar to gaming. Teachers can lecture, give presentations, pull up web browsers, share links, create notes or documents, and make room for breakout groups. 

Most students today are digital natives, so they’re already comfortable with first-person interaction on virtual platforms. Even older students are likely to onboard quickly and easily, as long as they have internet access.

Teachers don’t have to be gamers to get it right away: class is in session. Lessons take shape via lectures, rich content, and genuine student engagement.

A thought occurs, and a student raises their hand to engage.

Just like in a regular classroom, it’s easy to go back and review.

The quality of interactions clarifies the value of early adoption. Advancing knowledge is the whole point of education. Integrating new technology is no different. With both, schools champion new ways of thinking and doing, while positioning students at the forefront of technology.

Julien Depauw, Head of Academic Innovation at EGADE Business School concurs, “We needed an improved experience, where instead of being passive listeners, students took an active role in classes. When they obtain advanced jobs as a result of their MBAs, they’ll be expected to be proactive, engaged, and familiar with the newest technology, the same way they are in VirBELA.”

As Depauw notes, early adoption can be the difference between success or mediocrity. Losing ground now on lessons, group projects, and social interaction will be challenging, if not impossible, to make up later. 

By going virtual, students have space to participate in the same or higher levels of academic rigor as before, with an additional emphasis on physical safety and technological proficiency.

Online Evolution

There was a time when the classroom was considered an essential platform. Online learning was a diplomatic way to let older students knock out a few credits while working. Some for-profit schools used it to line pockets. Now, Columbia University offers an entire Master of Social Work degree online.

Online classes transformed educational access in deeply meaningful ways. A new generation of students has been able to learn and land rewarding jobs because of them. 

The intersectionality of online classes is impressive, too. Workers, parents, residents of rural communities, and other groups that may have had a hard time getting to class can now attend from anywhere—all because early adopters legitimized the platform.

To learn more about how technology and innovation can lead the way in education, download the e-book, Meeting Students Where They Are: Replacing Classrooms and Campuses with Virtual World Technology.

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