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5 Ways to Collaborate in the Classroom

Today’s typical college student comes to class with more than just a notebook and pencil. They have smartphones, tablets, and laptops – all of which they use to access the internet, share information with their peers, research their assignments, and more. They’re accustomed to working in environments that allow them to easily utilize all of their personal technology, and the classroom is no exception.


Not only does today’s student crave classrooms with advanced technology, but educators are in need of these powerful tools, too. They need to be able to quickly share files like articles, videos, and take home tests to their students without resorting to printing hundreds of pages. Instructors also want to enable their students to work in small groups in order to simulate real world working environments. At the same time, they need to be able to bring these small groups together and easily moderate what the groups are sharing.


With demands from students and instructors for classroom collaboration, campus AV and IT managers have their hands full. It can be challenging to keep up with the latest mobile and computing devices as well as the many different presentation platforms, operating systems, and web browsers. The endless options of technological solutions leaves many campus AV and IT managers wondering which tools are best for their classrooms. Many of them are finding their answer in Kramer VIA solutions as they are simple yet powerful products for presenting and collaborating.


Here are a few ways that students and instructors are using VIA to collaborate in the classroom.


1. Present Wirelessly – Anyone who attended college even 3 or 5 years ago, remembers the struggle of giving a class presentation – and not just because they were falling asleep in an 8am class. They remember fumbling around with cables and flash drives trying to connect their computer to the main display. They remember their peers growing restless and losing interest while they wait for their PowerPoint to load on the screen. With VIA, students can wirelessly connect their PC or Apple computers and easily share their presentations to the main display. By streamlining this process, it gives the student presenter more confidence and the quick connection time will keep their audience truly engaged, enabling questions and discussion. Presenting wirelessly is as simple as pressing a button. Now, if only we had a cure to keep students awake at 8am…


2. Edit Simultaneously – One of VIA’s most useful features for collaboration is that it allows multiple participants to dynamically access and make changes to a single piece of content at the same time. This is the perfect tool for students working in small groups. In the past, students working on the same document might edit their own sections individually and then e−mail them to a group leader to compile. This was an inefficient process that left students twiddling their thumbs while they waited for files and for everyone to get on the same page. With VIA, students can literally get on the same page and edit that page together to create projects and documents in a way that is efficient and easy.


3. Poll Electronically – The latest VIA solution, VIA Campus, has an e−polling feature that allows instructors to quickly assess if material is understood, gauge existing knowledge, and more. Using VIA’s e−polling feature, instructors can ask a question with multiple choice options and immediately push it out to each student in the classroom that is connected to VIA. The students can submit their answers and the e−polling feature will show the percentage for each answer. Instructors can use this feature to make their lessons more interactive and productive. For instance, if they are teaching a lesson with multiple sections, they can conduct a poll at the end of each section to see if the class has retained the knowledge and is ready to move on or see if there is a need for further review.


4. Utilize 3rd Party Apps – VIA easily allows users to implement and use 3rd party applications like Skype, YouTube, Vimeo, web browsers, and more. This can be a great classroom asset – many students learn by watching videos, so being able to do so easily is essential. Instructors could also take advantage of apps like Skype to invite guest lecturers to speak to their class virtually. The possibilities are truly endless!


5. Annotate easily – VIA’s whiteboard feature allows instructors and students to easily annotate on photos, documents, and presentations. It’s a quick way for instructors to point out components that need to be fixed or for students to emphasize a key point of a presentation. This feature also works incredibly well with touch screen displays for the ultimate high tech classroom.