At last – a built for education, safeguarding-friendly, easy-to-use, integrated live video solution for the online classroom.
Video has proven a useful tool for teachers during the last few weeks; however, built for business video has created some frustrating, some concerning (and, let's face it, some hilarious) situations for teachers.
It's also fallen short on key functionality around classroom management and tools to facilitate teachers with engaging students and checking progress. Sparkjar SchoolSafe video is set to change all of that this summer term.
Over recent years, businesses have recognised the power of online conference and meeting technology. Software such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom and Gotowebinar have all played a part – each providing their unique set of features, suited to business needs.
But as we know, schools are fundamentally different to businesses: the relationship between business colleagues is worlds apart from the teacher-student relationship in terms of motivations, needs and engagement.
That's why it's no surprise that – while it has played its part in supporting on-going teaching and learning during lock-down – 'adapted for education' video conferencing isn't a long term solution for schools.
Now that teachers are more familiar with video conferencing and now that a blend of onsite and remote teaching is becoming 'normal', schools have become very clear about what they require from video software. Not just about what they want it to do but also what they don't want it to do.
To be able to run classes either entirely online or with a blend of onsite and remote students, teachers need 'at-a-glance' visibility of what's happening. They need simple controls to aid teaching and learning and support good classroom management. Most businesses would roll their eyes at managing a meeting of 20-30 colleagues online, let alone 20-30 excitable and energetic students – that's what Sparkjar SchoolSafe video is specifically designed to do.
Sparkjar SchoolSafe video delivers a safe, easy-to-use and extremely powerful environment for schools, teachers and students. Those familiar with using video to run remote classes will appreciate its education-friendly features.
Here's a handful of the highlights:-
- Teachers can instantly create a call with an entire class, teacher defined sub-group or an individual student. There's no need to send individual invites via email or other apps - calls are launched from within Sparkjar. Sparkjar is linked to your school MIS.
- Calls only start when the teacher is present and end as soon as the teacher leaves the call. There's no scope for idle chat in 'waiting rooms' before or after calls. Students can't rejoin meetings after the call has finished to use the space to chat. The teacher retains control.
- Teachers have simple visibility of who's attending the call and who's absent. They can see who's putting their hand up, who's not focussing (zzz) and who agrees or likes something (thumbs up).
- Controls are super-simple and optimised for schools. For instance, teachers can invite an individual student to talk, avoiding cross-talk and background noise.
- Teacher's control who's heard using the push-to-talk feature.
- Schools control the use of cameras based on their school policy.
- Performance is optimised for schools using busy WiFi networks.
- Safeguarding is covered with solid security and encryption. Every call is retrievable in the event of a safeguarding investigation – just the same as Sparkjar Chat.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of the new video feature in Sparkjar is the fact that it's integrated within the Sparkjar core teaching environment. This means teachers can open a video at any point in a lesson, at the touch of the screen, without having to ask students to take action, switch software or otherwise needlessly disrupt the flow of a lesson.
SchoolSafe video is launching over this summer for selected existing customer schools and will be available to all new schools from September. More details will be released shortly.
For a demonstration of Sparkjar or for more details of Sparkjar's new SchoolSafe video features, call us or book online.