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Systems Integrators’ Lesson Plan for the Virtual Classroom

Countries around the world want better education for their students—whether in primary, secondary, or higher education. But the lack of qualified teachers is a challenge. According to UNESCO, the world needs 69 million new teachers by 2030 to give all children access to basic education.

The deficit is even more severe for high-demand fields of study like computer science and nursing. Which is why universities need to deploy new infrastructure required to deliver courses online, and increasingly rely on systems integrators (SIs) to help them do so.

With skilled SIs as partners and the right technology, schools can bring high-quality instruction to more students, even when trained teachers are in short supply. 

Yet quality distance-learning materials (video lessons, study aids, etc.) are still elusive for many learning institutions. That’s because using classroom video as a static, one-way communication tool does nothing to increase student engagement. And when students are bored, they tune out and don’t learn.

To keep students engaged, educational institutions need the best in advanced learning systems—ones that will expand the reach of great teachers and experts, and create a dynamic, interactive learning experience. SIs who can deliver them can also expand their reach—creating new business opportunities in this space.

Lights, Cameras, Teach

Interactive learning systems aren’t just better for students. Using education technology to leverage the power of great teaching also brings down costs.

The J&W IPC iLearn Interactive Remote Class Solution addresses the challenges of delivering high-quality digital learning experiences. Powered by Intel®, the system delivers online education via an end-to-end interactive video solution—from edge to cloud.

“If you have an excellent teacher, their impact isn’t restricted to just one classroom. It can be spread out to many classrooms,” says Roy Ouyang, Sales Manager at J&W IPC.

The J&W IPC iLearn Interactive Remote Class Solution takes a scalable approach to EdTech. An institution can equip classrooms with fully interactive whiteboards. Using edge processing and cloud storage, the iLearn solution makes high-quality teaching accessible regardless of the physical location of a skilled and talented teacher.

If a remote school doesn't have enough teachers, children can still receive high-quality instruction via e-learning. They and their parents can also review lessons at home for better outcomes.

An implementation across a school district in Zhejiang, China showed that schools can expand the reach of their teaching staff to help lower-resourced schools—enabling an interactive, digital learning environment for a much larger pool of students while cutting operational costs.

“In the past, a government that needed a school had to build it,” says Ouyang. “Now a region can create a school online.” 

University professors can also use interactive video to live-stream guest lectures from all over the world. College students benefit from access to a more diverse curriculum and easy scheduling. What’s more, by offering classes and lectures from experts around the world, top universities can capitalize on a new source of revenue. (The same is true of SIs who help them do it.)

Create the Digital Classroom and Campus

The iLearn solution features classroom recording, live broadcasting, and real-time remote communication. Its components create an end-to-end video solution that records classroom content and supports interactive teaching through live broadcasts or on-demand streaming anywhere in the world—from remote classrooms to students’ homes.

For example, a teacher might deliver a lesson using the Interactive Whiteboard and Sensor Suite, a collection of four smart cameras and microphones that capture the teacher and a panoramic view of the classroom. The cameras automatically pan, tilt, and track, reducing staff requirements and saving money.

Substantial computational power enables the whiteboard’s touchscreen and interactive video features. It preprocesses data at the edge for low latency, and streams e-learning videos and programs into the classroom. Video analytics help administrators to better understand how the systems are being used and what further work might be necessary.

The iLearn Solution turns classrooms into virtual educational recording studios and theaters, so students can always access the best teaching—regardless of location.

Store and Distribute the Lessons

To maximize its usefulness, the Intelligent Campus Video Solution Server System connects the classroom system with the rest of the world, where students and teachers might be in different time zones. Or a school might want to upload a course for delivery in the future.

The system accommodates both situations by automatically uploading video to a public or private cloud whose web-based technologies allow for easy downloading (i.e., without special client software).

Low Administrative Burden

The combination of edge computing, cloud platform, and automation delivers important benefits to the school. The low-maintenance system reduces overhead cost, allows staff to maximize teaching time, and serves as an important tool for ongoing teacher training.

Moreover, educational institutions can make better use of existing personnel and capital resources rather than building more facilities and hiring additional teachers. And because the iLearn system uses an open platform, SIs can easily extend the system and customize it for specialized use cases. 

The bottom line? High-quality learning that’s accessible to all isn’t just preferable. It’s necessary—for schools, students, and parents. And as they rely on their systems integrators to boost the ed tech journey, SIs in turn can depend on aggregators. With at-the-ready solutions, tools, services, and more, solution aggregators can supplement an SI’s domain expertise—creating new opportunities all the way around.

About the Author

Erik Sherman is a journalist, analyst, and consultant with a background in engineering, technology, and business management. He's written about such topics as semiconductors, enterprise software, logistics, software development, advertising technology, scientific instruments, biotechnology, economics, finance, marketing, and public policy.

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