Embracing the demands of the 21st Century classroom means crafting a well-defined and well-articulated vision. And whatever strategies you devise to improve student learning outcomes in the coming years, delivering an environment that supports problem solving, critical analysis and student engagement will likely be included. Bringing that to life means finding a way of freeing the teacher to be among, rather than just in front of students.
For that, you’ll need an enabler; technology.
The classroom dilemma
Teachers have been front and centre in the classroom environment for as long as anyone can remember and, as such, the technology hub has grown around them. There’s a universal acceptance that technology has a significant role to play in educating and engaging today—and tomorrow’s—students, so the amount of technology is likely to increase further in the coming years. Naturally, as new devices and the access points they require are added to the classroom, they are usually installed with the teacher’s location in mind.
Unfortunately, that’s at odds with the modern view of teaching. There is a body of evidence to show that engagement directly impacts students’ academic achievement, and it is widely accepted that the way to achieve this is for teachers to be in and amongst their students; helping and supporting. Having a teacher locked in position at the front of the class by technology, is not exactly bringing them closer to their students.
Not all education solutions are the same
The arrival of wireless tools in schools has, to some extent, addressed this problem. Indeed, there are many tools designed for use in the home that have made their way into the learning environment, like Apple TV and Chromecast, for example. On the face of it, each delivers the ability to connect to a central point from anywhere in a classroom, but each comes with the same challenge: because these devices are designed for use on home networks, they lack the permissions, control and flexibility required to work effectively in a school environment. They also come up short when it comes to compatibility—something essential, particularly as BYOD policies, like those in many schools in Australia, become more prevalent.
To really free a teacher and give them the confidence to allow students to take control of what is displayed to the rest of the class, only a tool designed specifically for use in education can do the job; one that recognises the challenges and opportunities that the classroom presents. Education software developed with student engagement in mind. Vivi.
What is Vivi?
Quite simply, Vivi is a platform purpose built to create an engaged, collaborative environment for students, wherever they are sitting—and regardless of what device they are using. It’s the heartbeat of the classroom, the enabler that helps schools achieve their vision for learning.
Vivi comes with plenty of benefits too:
Sharing content is commonplace in the workforce, and one of the aims of education is to prepare students for their life after school. The ways in which Vivi encourages students to share their work is critical to their future success. What Vivi does well, is expose students to a digital learning environment. It takes paper out of the classroom by allowing students to screenshot, annotate and save content that’s being displayed, which creates the perfect foundation on which to build learning.
Most schools are already sold on the benefits of student engagement; it’s the making it happen that is the sticking point. But not with Vivi. It’s simple to use and flexible, and encourages student participation. By giving them the ability to share their thoughts, ideas and work with the rest of the class, it brings them metaphorically—rather than physically¬—to the front of the class. All the teacher has to do is give them permission to share—through a handy and intuitive app—and, within seconds, they are presenting.
When it comes to technology, whether it’s having the wrong equipment or connectors, teachers often end up wasting time trying to get videos or other media to play. And when it’s working, there’s a good chance they are presenting everything that’s on their laptop screen. The drawback being they can’t work on anything else while the class is watching.
With Vivi, sharing media with the class is a breeze. There are no wires, no connectors and no fuss. It’ll even remove the ads and sidebars in YouTube videos and enable subtitles if required. What’s more, because more often than not it’s the Vivi that streams and plays the media—rather than the laptop—it means the teacher is free to do other work, if they need to.
The link between formative assessment and student achievement is well known. As we all know, some students are hesitant to say they don’t understand or are struggling with a concept. Vivi gives teachers the ability to regularly assess their students. Its feedback tool allows teachers to poll their class to instantly check for understanding, and therefore tailor the pace and style of learning to suit each student. And as Vivi frees them from their desk at the front of the class, it means they can work through challenges side by side with a student, while still teaching the rest of the class.
The same function also brings benefits in emotional wellbeing. The teacher can push requests out to students to indicate their mood—using emojis—and can even track the results over time. Roll this functionality up to a whole-school and even a district level, which Vivi Central enables, and suddenly there’s a high-level real time view of how students are engaging with their schooling.
Students should be encouraged to create and share content. When they do so, it adds an extra incentive for them to show their thought process and talk through their ideas. Of course, that’s something teachers haven’t always embraced, for fear of losing control. We’ve all heard stories of students broadcasting whatever they feel like over the classroom’s connection.
Because Vivi is a tool specifically designed for use in education, it comes with total control over who can share and when. It gives teachers the peace of mind that they are in control at all times, and, therefore, the confidence to create an environment ripe for collaborative/cooperative learning.
Constant software upgrades
Rather than an expensive piece of hardware that needs capital investment, Vivi is an education SaaS—Software as a Service. Vivi is simple and reliable, and new features—based on feedback from customers—are prioritised and regularly pushed out as updates. Often, the team can even work to develop requests that are linked specifically to the needs of a particular school.
As a result, Vivi is constantly evolving—something vital in any technology today, where standing still is, effectively, going backwards.
Return on investment
When you invest in education technology, you want to know that the hardware or software you’ve purchased is doing its job. Vivi mitigates the risk of your investment following the path that so many ed-tech investments have trodden previously. Put a device in a classroom and there’s a chance teachers will fail to embrace it. But make it the central delivery mechanism for every lesson and you can rest easy—safe in the knowledge that your investment is doing what you expected it to.
With Vivi, all usage metrics are captured and stored in the cloud. At any given moment, you’ll know which teachers are using the system and whether students are being encouraged to share. Vivi’s ‘top’ lists show the most regular users over time, and the data is kept for as long as you like; the results of polls, usage statistics, are all there. Access to such information means you can prioritise and target training to those who need it and make sure you unlock the benefits you wanted when you originally implemented the system.
Vivi also delivers a return on the investment in student devices. COVID-19 has hastened the adoption of 1:1 devices particularly in the US, with millions of dollars now tied up and waiting to be unleashed. If students end up just sitting on their own device and not interacting or sharing with their peers, that investment is ineffective. By allowing them to use their devices to collaborate, Vivi unlocks the return.
On top of that, Vivi helps in the delivery of a return on classroom construction and refurbishment costs. Where a school has designed innovative spaces to allow students to really collaborate, it is tools like Vivi that enable that to happen. Without the right technology, those spaces become just, well, spaces.
Vivi is simple and effective—easy to install and automatically updated. A little blue box called the Vivi unit is installed into each classroom, onto the classroom projector or display. After that, there is nothing more to do. It just doesn’t come with the usual fleet or asset management issues that plague so many of the devices in use in the classroom. So it saves you the time and cost of constant maintenance.
And because it’s simple to use, teachers don’t need endless and in-depth training. They’ll quickly incorporate Vivi into their classroom and will wonder how they ever taught without it.
When it comes to devices, there are big differences in approaches, depending on your school, district or even your country. But whether it’s Apple, Microsoft or Chromebook devices, Vivi will work with them. And if the school operates a BYOD policy, Vivi comes into its own even more. In fact, it’s so easy to connect to that it can even be run from an app on your smartphone.
That means you won’t end up with endless support tickets trying to solve problems for individual users. The simple and user-friendly app means teachers and students alike will have access to the system whenever they need it.
The risk with any technology is the speed at which it will go out of date. Opting for an interactive flat panel usually means an investment of several thousand dollars, which is typically written off over a period of five to seven years. At that point, a replacement needs to be purchased. That’s a large, and regular capital outlay and, at a district level, it means there’s a likelihood that the roll-out plan will merge into the replacement program. Vivi, on the other hand, works on an annual fee, most likely costing less over the entire period. The obvious difference is that when the program to replace all those flat panel screens begins, the Vivi software will still be evolving and bang up-to-date.
When you purchase Vivi, you don’t just buy a screen mirroring solution, you buy an ever-evolving student engagement platform. The benefits are compelling and the schools that use it are big advocates.
If you do find yourself asking whether you can afford to make the investment in Vivi, stop and think for a moment. Perhaps even read through the benefits again because you’ll feel the cost of not implementing a tool like Vivi in both time—which your teachers, your technicians and your administrators could be spending elsewhere—and student engagement.
The question you should actually be asking yourself is whether you can afford not to invest in Vivi.
To find out more about what Vivi can do for your school, or to arrange a demo, contact our team.