We’ve come far beyond the days of a chalkboard being used as the primary teaching tool in a classroom. With a multitude of technologies in the higher education space, it’s important to find the right set of tools to integrate into classroom environments. Creating the right higher education technology ecosystem for your institution will support a flexible, seamless learning experience for both faculty and students.
In this guide, you will learn:
- The Higher Education Technology Ecosystem
- What is an LMS?
- What is a VMS?
- What is Video Conferencing?
- What In-Class Hardware Do You Need?
- Benefits of an Educational Technology Ecosystem
- How to Integrate Your Technologies
- How to Conduct An Educational Technology Needs Assessment in 5 Steps
- How to Encourage Faculty Buy-In
The Educational Technology Ecosystem
The educational technology ecosystem consists of separate, but equally important, learning solutions designed to be the building blocks for the virtual classroom. The edtech ecosystem isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach, but instead it is a concept that can look different for different institutions. For example, just having Zoom recordings of a class can be your entire ecosystem, where other institutions might have a true HyFlex set-up with state-of-the-art tech. Most institutions are probably somewhere in the middle – the important thing is to create the right edtech ecosystem for your institution’s needs.
For faculty, the integration of these technologies offer a flexible classroom environment designed to suit their teaching needs. These three technologies also work together to create a seamless learning experience for students, whether they are meeting in breakout rooms online, listening to a live lecture they missed, or watching a flipped video ahead of class.
Elements of the educational technology ecosystem can include:
- A learning management system (LMS)
- A video management system (VMS)
- A video conferencing solution (VC)
- In-class hardware
Did you know? Over three-quarters of educators agree that using technology makes it easier to engage students while improving their own performance.
What is an LMS?
As an education professional, there’s a good chance you are familiar with Learning Management Systems (LMS). Education LMS software enables organizations to manage the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of eLearning programs right from a desktop or laptop computer — transforming what had been an almost-exclusively manual, person-led process and creating new opportunities to enhance offerings and scale resources. Popular LMS solutions include Blackboard, Moodle, and Canvas.
What is a VMS?
A Video Management System (sometimes called video libraries, video platforms, video content management systems) is an asynchronous video technology for creating, hosting, searching, and streaming videos online. A VMS, such as Panopto, enables the easy capture, management, and viewing of video content for the purposes of communicating, educating, or entertaining. Different from synchronous real-time video conferencing technologies that support live, two-way video conversations, video platforms offer a range of solutions for on-demand video and, increasingly, live, one-to-many streaming video.
What is Video Conferencing?
Video conferencing is an online technology that allows users in different locations to hold face-to-face meetings. Video conferencing has radically improved the way higher education faculty and students communicate, putting faces to voices and creating a more personal connection during virtual learning sessions. Common VC communication tools include Zoom, WebEx, and Microsoft Teams.
What In-Class Hardware Do You Need?
In-class hardware are the physical pieces of technology used within a classroom setting which can include cameras, microphones, lighting, projectors, and a computer. Faculty have the ability to pick and choose the hardware that best suits their teaching needs. For some, a laptop computer with built-in camera and microphone offers a simple solution to creating and distributing information. For others, a more robust lecture capture studio with lights, multiple camera sources, and high-tech microphones offer a quality that is needed to accurately present information.
Benefits of a VMS in Your Educational Technology Ecosystem
While the majority of higher education institutions already have a VC and LMS in place, VMS systems like Panopto truly integrate all learning technologies and offer a true classroom technology ecosystem. Panopto is the central hub that connects the LMS and the VC and makes all video content easy to use.
- Streamlined workflows. Your VMS system should act as the central hub between any and every VC and LMS you might have. Through integrations, you can also add, create, and ingest video without any additional software, and without ever having to leave your LMS environment.
- Automatically captured live sessions. Panopto’s unique remote recording software enables you to fully automate lecture capture by scheduling recordings ahead of time. You can use a recording device on-premise or in the cloud from any web browser or smartphone, and your videos are automatically uploaded to Panopto and shared with users.
- Powerful search capabilities. If you are using Panopto as your VMS, searching through your entire video library is as easy as searching through your email. Panopto’s Smart Search feature uses Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to automatically index and time-stamp every word that’s spoken or displayed on-screen in 15 different languages. Additionally, video origin makes no difference – ASR and OCR are available for videos captured through Panopto’s recording software, Zoom, or any other recorder.
- Straightforward and secure permissioning. Protecting the intellectual property of your educational institution is paramount. Panopto’s video management system integrates with SSO ID management solutions as a number of LMS authentication systems for both desktop and mobile users to ensure all video content is secure and only available to those who have permissions.
📣 “Our Audio Video Technologies (AVT) team, in consultation with the TLT team, ND Learning, and IT architecture colleagues, responded to the urgent task of planning, designing, ordering and implementing AV systems to enable real-time participation between remote students and their instructors and classmates in the physical classroom. The Zoom + Panopto integration was a critical element that facilitated the real-time interaction and the asynchronous access to the instructional material in our LMS.”
Dan Skendzel, Executive Director, ND Studios and Teaching and Learning Technologies, University of Notre Dame
How to Integrate Your Technologies
When you integrate video conferencing and collaboration solutions, it’s easier for faculty and students to quickly find and securely share information captured in lecture recordings and other learning assets. You can automate typically time-consuming and complicated video workflows to ensure faculty and students are able to utilize both on-demand and live video for rapid information sharing.
Below is just one example of a basic workflow including multiple integrated technologies:
As you can see, in-class hardware, a VMS, and an LMS are all seamlessly working together in this workflow. It’s just as easy to have the “creation” portion of this workflow include a VC. There are multiple ways to integrate technologies, and it’s easy to find a solution that works for all types of learning environments.
How to Conduct An Educational Technology Needs Assessment in 5 Steps
Before choosing your technology ecosystem solutions, it’s vital to conduct an educational technology needs assessment. This analysis offers an opportunity to truly understand technology needs in the classroom and will help to choose the best solutions for your higher education institution.
There are 5 steps to conducting an educational technology needs assessment:
- Survey stakeholders. While the process may be time consuming, it is vital to discuss technology needs with faculty who will be using the systems on a daily basis. Collecting data to inform your future technology decisions can either be done through interviews or surveys with stakeholders, such as faculty. department heads, educational technologists, or even students.
- Prioritize needs and identify themes. After your data is collected, take time to sift through responses and identify any themes or similarities in responses. These needs will help identify gaps that currently exist, not necessarily inform you of the technology that is needed.
- Document functional needs. Once you have themes identified, now is the time to document the tasks that need to be supported by technology. For example, if you’ve identified the need to support faculty in remote learning, tasks that technology need to support can include creating digital lecture content or offering online quizzes and surveys.
- Identify desired technology features. Now that you have an understanding of the needs and functional tasks that your technologies should support, the next step is to identify the features and capabilities your technologies should have. You may not find all of the features your campus needs in one tool, but knowing what you need will certainly help you narrow down your options and minimize your costs.
- Cite technical requirements. Understanding non-negotiable features and specifications, such as security & privacy features or accessibility features, can help you eliminate tools early-on as you begin to evaluate technologies that align with your plan. A thorough needs assessment will inform a better technology plan for your school.
How to Encourage Faculty Buy-In
Once the technology is implemented, you may be asking yourself, “how do I encourage faculty to use these tools to the fullest?” Faculty adoption may seem like a hurdle – but it doesn’t have to be. When choosing tools in your education ecosystem, it should create opportunities for faculty to incorporate technology into their learning styles.
There are 4 steps to encouraging faculty buy-in when introducing new technologies:
- Demonstrate the benefits of learning technologies. While there may be hesitations to implement new technologies, start the process by focusing on the benefits these new technologies will bring. Benefits can include more flexible learning, higher student outcomes, personalized learning opportunities, and increased student engagement insights.
- Share examples of other organizations successfully completing integrations of technologies in the classroom. Drawing inspiration from other higher education institutions who have successfully implemented an ecosystem of learning technologies can help put worried minds at ease. Find case studies and testimonials of institutions who have found benefits to using these technologies.
- Highlight features and opportunities the technology brings. For some faculty, the idea of using new technologies can feel overwhelming and cloud their minds of the possibilities it can bring. Highlight unique and helpful features of different technologies within the ecosystem and showcase how the tools can fit into their specific learning style.
- Gain trust through an early adoption program. Invite members of leadership, such as department heads, to begin utilizing the new technology. Peer-to-peer learning can be helpful when implementing new technologies to help showcase benefits and use cases from trusted colleagues.