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Blackboard Learn and Webex join forces to expand the reach of education
Blackboard Learn and Webex join forces to expand the reach of education

Webex Education Connector expanding the reach of the classroom

Collaboration in schools just got easier with Blackboard Learn + Webex Education Connector! For education institutes who have Blackboard Learn as their learning management system (LMS), they can now integrate Webex into Blackboard Learn via the Webex Education Connector. This allows the instructors and students to leverage Webex features and capabilities without downloading the Webex app. Instructors can schedule and start meetings within the Blackboard learn interface, while students can join meetings and view previously recorded sessions.  

The full set of capabilities includes:  

  • Schedule Meetings  
  • Start and Join Meetings 
  • View Recordings for past meetings 
  • Schedule Office Hours  
  • Create Teams and spaces 
  • Collaborate (Message, Call and File sharing) with students  

Blackboard Learn and Webex join forces to expand the reach of education

But wait…. there is more!  

In addition to Blackboard Learn, we now also have an in-depth Recording Library. In education, recordings have many valuable uses. Recordings of existing sessions can be re-used in future semesters, they can be used as supplemental material in other class offerings, or as guest lecturer content worldwide Additionally, with the advancement of flipped learning (pedagogical approach to learning where students learn materials before class), recordings enable class time to be used in a different way, focusing on deeper understanding of materials and problem-solving activities.  

The Recording library allows an instructor to create a recording and publish it to their students in other classes with the following capabilities 

  • Allows an instructor to rename, view and delete their own recordings  
  • Ability to host a Webex meeting within a course for the purpose of capturing a Webex recording, without making the meeting it visible to the students immediately  
  • Ability to record a private Webex Meeting recording and share with students in single or multiple classes  
  • Ability for a student to view recorded Webex Meetings that the instructor has shared  

Ability for a student to view recorded Webex Meetings.

What’s coming next 

Since not every educational institute operates via the same methods, upcoming features will include more administration for LMS and granular control over classroom groupings. Administrators using the Admin Panel will be able to control what users have visibility to, whether it includes all the features within the Webex Education Connector or just a subset. This helps ensure compliance with educational regulations as well as simplifies the experience by removing unused features 

For schools using the ‘sections in classroom’ collaboration feature in Canvas (creating virtual teams), admins will now be able to apply divisions so that students in one section will not be able to see the spaces created by other sections. This helps keep student work only in their group, keeping groups focused.

For schools using the ‘sections in classroom’ collaboration feature in Canvas (creating virtual teams), admins will now be able to apply divisions so that students in one section will not be able to see the spaces created by other sections. This helps keep student work only in their group, keeping groups focused. 

Bring the classroom together with collaboration

By partnering with educational platforms like Blackboard, we are always looking to see how we can use collaboration to make the lives of students, teachers and parents simpler, easier and more accessible globally. From the classroom to graduation, Webex has you covered.

To keep up with the latest advancements in collaboration education check out Webex Education Connector site.

For more information, on Webex Education Connector see the following:

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Building the foundation for the future of education - Video Conferencing -1
Building the foundation for the future of education

I’ve been a teacher for twenty-seven years, covering everything from common and higher education, to courses for faculty members and corporate trainers. I live and work out of the small town of Howe, OK and love the ability to bring new opportunities to my students. Right now, I’m teaching online classes our regional college throughout the year as well as music classes at the local high school. With the help of Cisco Webex video conferencing, I’ve been able to expand on-going learning opportunities for my local and online students, as well as other teachers across the world. Webex is an amazing conduit for learning that isn’t limited to any specific grade, age or station in life. Here’s how it works…

Setting the stage

Learning happens ‘round the clock, but it’s often hard to schedule opportunities to work with individuals outside of the set class time. It is quite honestly one of the most difficult tasks in my teaching. Available times vary wildly from week to week, and between my schedule and those of my students (both online and in the classroom), their parents, and open facility availability, “get-togethers” are difficult to coordinate. Gone are the days of putting up a piece of paper sign-up sheet outside my office door.

How Cisco Webex Education Connector Works

I need to use a tool where both I and my students already “live.”  The tool that all my classes have in common is the learning management system. This system is where my assignment due dates, grades and quizzes already live. And now, thanks to the Cisco Webex Education Connector,  it’s also how I schedule my office hours at the college, as well as my parent and teacher conferences at the high school. The Cisco Webex Education Connector plugs directly into my course and provides a straightforward way to choose a time, determine a window of “buffer” or “break” between meetings, and give each of my students a unique meeting location, whether on or off campus.

Office hours and parent/teacher conferences aren’t the only use cases. As an educator, I can customize the Webex Education Connector to operate based on my workflow and preferences. From group classroom collaboration, to video conferencing meetings, to office hours, it’s the same process.

Additionally, class rosters are synchronized with the Webex cloud. There’s no worry about who can access what, the connector takes care of all of that.  This means that I can communicate with my students or their parents, share files, and automatically distribute reminders to join classes. As a teacher, I can chat with individual learners or groups, and I can also start a live video call with them whenever they need help. It’s so easy! There’s no external place I need to go to. It’s all within the learning management system. The collaboration tool is organically tied to where the class materials exist.

In just a few clicks, I can schedule all my classes for the school year. I can even delete sessions if I know there are holidays or other events happening. Creating everythingonce, via a single interface, keeps it simple. I can choose to record any or all of my class meetings, and every recording is automatically linked inside the LMS with an encrypted password. As a teacher, I have unlimited recording storage. That means I’ll never run out of “space” in the middle of class. When scheduling a live class, I can set up multiple different hosts or team teachers so my they ca start the session for me.

If you’re considering this workflow, Cisco has created a thorough step-by-step guide that helps the adoption of Webex in your educational environment. It includes promotional tools, lesson plans, and specific tips for teachers, students, and admins! There is no cost for this guide and I encourage you to check it out here.

To join the conversation, check out our Webex Teams space to experience and participate in our live discussion from the webinar. While there, you can also connect with other educators and subject matter experts!

Next Steps

Re-watch our latest webinar session and see more pre-recorded quick classes below!

 

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Video conferencing in the classroom
Howe Public Schools uses video conferencing to create more opportunities for its students

Dr. Lance Ford and his wife, Carol Ann, live in the quaint town of Howe, OK, home to a dozen streets, 800 people, and zero stoplights. But what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in innovation, especially at Howe Public Schools.

Dr. and Mrs. Ford first met and fell in love while teaching together. Their shared passion for education and desire to walk alongside and push their students to their highest potential bonded them then and continues to bond them today. Now married for 26 years, Lance’s office and Carol Ann’s classroom share a door at Howe Schools. They even teach a music class together. But teaching at Howe is not Lance’s only job… he also works full time as a Cisco employee.

His journey to Cisco came from presenting on technologies in classrooms to writing a curriculum that trained teachers—the actual users of the technology—how to fully utilize the resources they had at their fingertips. In a single day, he can be on the phone with a school in Switzerland educating on the possibilities of collaboration technology, on a Webex Board, video conferencing with teachers in Hawaii, training them on how to use the technology, and between, walk into the room next door and use the technology to teach music theory to his students. Over the past five years, he has helped bring Cisco collaboration technology into the classrooms in Howe.

Bringing video conferencing into the classroom

 Howe Co schools serve 650 students and in the past five years, have invested in Cisco technology, including Cisco Webex Meetings, Webex Teams, IP phones and Webex Boards. So, why have they done this? Ford states, “the goal is to give students opportunities to learn that would otherwise not be available to them.”

This looks like:

  • Video conferencing with subject matter experts who give new and exciting lessons to students
  • Working on collaborative projects, using Webex Teams to meet, discuss, and whiteboard out solutions together
  • Virtual field trips: Howe, OK connected with people at the Great Barrier Reef and Columbus Zoo (trips the students would never have been able to take due to distance)
  • Enrollment in college classes: High school students use Webex Meetings to video conference into classes at the local college (last year’s valedictorian graduated high school one class shy of an Associate’s degree).

It doesn’t stop there—they continue to look for creative ways to reach learners into the future. They hope to start using technology to offer professional learning opportunities as well.

Outside the classroom: Breaking communication barriers through team collaboration 

It’s not just the teachers and students using this technology. It’s in the hands of the building principals, counselors, security officers, and maintenance. Outside of the classroom, the technology is being fully utilized to enhance communication between everyone in the community. Buses have routers for GPS positioning and access to Teams. The school always knows where the bus is, who is on the bus, and can even notify parents when buses are getting close. In addition, security officers can send emergency notifications to administration, enhancing the safety at the school. Technology has the ability to change the culture of a school and the way it does business.

But regardless of the vertical, every person and company has a chance to teach and to learn. That’s essentially the core of collaboration.

How will you choose to teach and learn today?


Dr. Lance Ford will be joining our webinar on May 30th, discussing the rise of collaboration tools and how to augment them for parent-teacher conferences and office hours for students. The focus will be on how teachers and administrators can transparently open lines of communication between the school and parents/students through collaboration technology. AND use the technology as a conduit to identify and overcome challenges so students have the best opportunity to learn inside the education environment. You won’t want to miss it. Register here.

For more information about Howe Public Schools, visit: https://www.howeschools.org

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Bringing tech to the classroom – 3 strategies for 2017

Back to school doesn’t have to mean back to the same old classroom experience. The start of each school year means one more year of innovation has passed and our classrooms should evolve with our digital world. The days of all learning happening within the bubble of one room with just one teacher are gone; our connected world gives students access to learn beyond traditional boundaries.

Overcoming Concentration Hurdles

Distraction can feel like a losing game in the classroom (or in any interaction with students), but even more so in the screen-laden world of our children. That’s why teachers should meet students where they already are – 70% of children under 12 are using tablets and almost 40% start using mobile tech before kindergarten.

When kids walk into a classroom to see mobile devices, they are not only comfortable with the tech, but excited by the innovation. Any teacher knows when children are excited and comfortable, they are engaged in learning. It’s a “hands on” learning environment with a touchscreen twist, making abstract ideas tangible and within reach.

Visually Engaging with Video

We’ve all heard the term “visual learner,” but did you know all students retain visual information more easily than auditory info? Studies show students recall 65% of what they see but only 10% of what they hear. In a learning environment where 100% of the curriculum matters to make the most of a child’s education, teachers should take this research into the classroom.

Video conferencing and access to online videos can greatly enhance even the most established lesson plans. Through video, students from anywhere in the world can take a visual tour of the Great Wall of China or see inside the machines that make the Hoover Dam so powerful. Video conferencing opens the door to invite students from around the world into the classroom. Imagine students learning about a culture from students their own age living it every day. By tapping into our students’ visual learning skills, we can step outside the classroom and enhance learning.

Collaboration Beyond Boundaries

As our world evolves, so too does the profession of teaching and its importance. A Texas study showed that an effective teacher is 20 times more likely to boost student performance than any other factor. It’s essential, for students and teachers, that we give these teachers the tools to seek out the most current information for their students and connect them with leaders in the fields they teach.  Tapping digital collaboration tools is one way teachers can seek expertise beyond their own knowledge.

I saw the power of collaboration outside the classroom in my own son’s excitement. As a fourth-grader, he was tasked to build a sandcastle – and not just any sandcastle. With the help of experts and engineers in San Francisco, he designed a sand-constructed roller coaster. Of course the project was fun – his teachers knew these beach-loving children would jump at the chance to work in sand, one of their favorite mediums – but the value added by the experts will last much longer than their sandy creations.

As I send my son on to his last year of elementary school, I’m hopeful that the passion of the teachers he’s had so far and the exciting tech innovations will make this 5th grade a year of engagement, excitement and, most of all, learning.

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Cisco WebEx Highest in Execution and Furthest in Vision

In business, the brands that exist and evolve to meet customer needs are the ones that remain market leaders. Recently recognized as such a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing, Cisco’s WebEx product continues to impress.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing recognized Cisco and its WebEx product as “a leader” within the marketplace, naming its “Completeness of Vision” and “Ability to Execute” as defining factors. In a crowded and competitive field, more than 71 million people attended a WebEx meeting in the last month, using them to connect with clients, prospects, remote team members and mobile workers, creating the face-to-face “feel” that moves businesses forward, while transcending borders, language barriers and time zones that can serve as obstacles.

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