crowdbeamer blog

Education during COVID-19

Covid-19

The existing measures to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV2 and the “social distancing” measure, in particular, make it nearly impossible to educate students in the traditional classroom. These classrooms simply aren’t adapted to this situation as students are still forced to sit side by side

Meanwhile, everyone is getting to know the alternatives. Working in a virtual classroom or keeping your knowledge up to date by studying from home offers a lot of advantages during this difficult time. But it also generates a lot of difficulties. On the other hand, now more than ever, everyone acknowledges the added value of going through a learning process as a group under the guidance of a teacher!

With crowdbeamer, we offer a solution for these restrictions and we can enable a teacher to teach a group of people.

Social Distancing

The instructions regarding “social distancing” read: always keep 1,5 to 2 meters distance between your students.

This rule implies the following:

  • In the same classrooms, only about 1/3 of the normal number of students will be able to have a seat.
  • As a consequence, bigger rooms will have to be used. This means that students will be seated further away from the blackboard, screen or projection. As a result, they might not be able to see the course content anymore.

Crowdbeamer can easily solve this problem because it allows each individual student to follow the course content directly and in real-time on their own device. Students can also zoom in on the course content and they can take snapshots to take home with them. Social distancing no longer affects the way you teach.

On top of that, Crowdbeamer is a mobile device with a built-in battery which allows you to quickly transfer it from one room to another.

This means that a school board can now decide which lessons are best suited for group education and which lessons are better left for other methods of education (e.g. virtual classrooms…)

With crowdbeamer, every student will be able to follow the course on their personal device and you will be able to keep the social distance between each student in your classroom. Because every student brings their own device, there is no need to worry about disinfecting and cleaning a large number of tablets, smartphones and laptops, each time a course ends or begins.

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Stephan RoosenEducation during COVID-19
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Crowdbeamer, an EdTech innovation that does what it promises

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At the Aeres University of Applied Sciences (Wageningen, the Netherlands), the presentations that lecturers use during class are made available through the university’s digital learning environment. Even though it’s easy for students to pick up these presentations, there is substantial added value in using crowdbeamer to share information with students during class. With the crowdbeamer app, the students get to see the information on the screen of their laptop or tablet at the very moment their lecturer shares it. In addition, they can add comments on the spot and save a summary of their lecturer’s explanations with the screenshots of the slides.

The Aeres Wageningen building

A forward-looking, innovative university.

The Aeres University of Applied Sciences Wageningen is a small-scale knowledge institution offering courses that focus on sustainable learning and development for vocational education and businesses. Counting more than 750 students, half of whom are full-time students, the university’s unique strength is its educational concept combining university lectures and workspace learning.

Aeres Wageningen provides Bachelor courses in both full-time and part-time arrangements. Students are trained to become teachers for pre-vocational and secondary vocational education, specialized in the transfer of skills and knowledge in the field of agriculture (agribusiness), horticulture (floral design and retail, landscaping and gardening), food technology, animal breeding and keeping, and consumptive technology (cooking, catering & hospitality).

In addition, Aeres Wageningen provides Associate Degree courses as well as a Professional Master course “Learning and Innovation” (an absolute winner among the Master programs in the field of educational innovation and management). This course is mainly oriented towards educational development and leadership, teaching students how to approach and manage innovation processes in education and learning processes in companies.

Always on the watch for EdTech innovations like crowdbeamer.

“At Aeres Wageningen, we have a strong focus on educational innovation,” according to one Aeres lecturer, “and we are very open to trying out new things so that we see how they work and understand what value they bring to lecturers and students. That’s why I used crowdbeamer with my students. I wanted to give them the opportunity to watch my presentation directly on the screen of their laptop or tablet, and let them discover all crowdbeamer functionalities: taking screenshots of the presentation I share with them, adding their notes to these screenshots and highlighting presentation headlines.

Using crowdbeamer is absolutely great. Connecting my presentation laptop to crowdbeamer is straightforward, while my students can download the app, connect to the crowdbeamer WiFi network and watch my presentation on their screen without any hassle. That’s great!”

Students get started with crowdbeamer in no time.

“Using crowdbeamer fits my way of teaching extremely well” this Aeres lecturer continues, “and that is something that I like a lot. There is quite some change involved for my students though, but they point out that it is nice to work with crowdbeamer while I am explaining a topic. They effectively use the crowdbeamer app, for example, to complete the screenshots of my slides with notes that summarize my explanations.

During classes that combine lectures with student assignments, it would even be better if students could simply switch between taking notes in the crowdbeamer app and searching information on the internet or in our digital learning environment. Crowdbeamer currently shares content through its private WiFi network. I think it’s great that the crowdbeamer team understands the need for this extended functionality, and is working already on an update that will offer internet access to anybody using the app.

Crowdbeamer offers significant added value because it does what it takes to share information during class in an easy way. Since it is so straightforward to connect to crowdbeamer, students get started in no time. And to be honest: I haven’t got many comments from my students related to the use of crowdbeamer. I find that quite revealing because it implies that crowdbeamer is a user-friendly solution. It should therefore be no surprise that students start using the crowdbeamer app right away, exploit all its possibilities and continue to do so during class.”

Luc MeulewaeterCrowdbeamer, an EdTech innovation that does what it promises
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Campfire sessions & crowdbeamer: a perfect fit to foster peer-to-peer learning.

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Campfire sessions are gaining popularity at many events and conferences as a format that provides better learning opportunities. If you haven’t been in a campfire session yet, the name pretty much gives it away. Campfire sessions are smaller and more intimate than typical conference presentations and focus on fostering interaction and peer-to-peer learning. During the campfire sessions at the seventh edition of the Media & Learning Conference (Leuven, Belgium), crowdbeamer was used to help with that.

No more limits on visibility.

The seventh edition of Media & Learning has been entirely dedicated to Video in Higher Education, highlighting the latest pedagogical and technical developments in this field through an interactive agenda packed with inspiring talks, demos, campfire sessions, best practice showcases and hands-on workshops.

The conference’s campfire sessions provided a mix of presentation and discussion opportunities for audiences of up to 40 participants. While a central setup of 4 flat panel displays enabled everybody to watch presentations and video, the visibility was somewhat limited due to the distance between the participants and this campfire display unit. But thanks to the crowdbeamer app installed on their laptop, tablet or smartphone, all participants were able to watch presentations and video directly on their device and take notes alongside.

All the information you need, in one place.

Alessia Evi-Colombo, a Researcher at SFIVET (the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training) and a Ph.D. Student at the University of Geneva, joined several campfire sessions. “Using crowdbeamer during these campfire sessions has been a great experience,” Alessia confirms. “Many presentations had a lot of information to share. But given the distance to the campfire display unit, it was hard to read some of the presentation slides. With crowdbeamer, however, I could view them directly on my tablet and zoom in to get an even better view.

What I loved most about crowdbeamer is that I could take notes precisely at the place where I needed these notes to be. The app gave me the flexibility to screenshot any presentation slides I wanted to take with me and to add notes to those screenshots. Taking notes during presentations can be a big challenge, at least if you want to have your notes next to the presentation slides. With the crowdbeamer app, it’s different as you get everything in one place without any effort.

We all know that advanced technology can sometimes be a bit hard to use in the beginning, but that’s not the case with crowdbeamer. In fact, I found the crowdbeamer app to be self-explaining and intuitive to use. Even if I had no prior experience with crowdbeamer, the app let me create a set of handouts in a very smooth way. I can now take these handouts back home with me, ready to use them at work.”

What I loved most about crowdbeamer is that I could take notes precisely at the place where I needed them to be: alongside the screenshots of the presentation slides.

Alessia Evi-Colombo Researcher at SFIVET and Ph.D. Student at the University of Geneva (Switzerland)

Using crowdbeamer during a campfire session

Write less and think more.

Rebekka Schmidt, an Art Didactics professor at the University of Paderborn, was impressed with crowdbeamer during the campfire sessions because “crowdbeamer makes it easy to listen to the presenter and interact with peers actively. Since you can decide for yourself when to capture presentation slides or video fragments, you don’t have to worry about missing important information. You can also add notes at the same time, without having to write down everything that is already being presented.

Honestly, I’ve come to realize during these campfire sessions that it would be perfect for my students to use crowdbeamer during my Art Didactics classes. Just like all of us write down far too much information whenever we join a presentation, students spend too much time scribbling details during classes. I’d rather have them write less and think more about what I’m teaching. That’s precisely what crowdbeamer makes possible.

Because mobile devices are a fast-growing part of our future, there is a strong need to integrate them tightly into how we work and teach. As a tool that enriches presentations and classes, crowdbeamer is an excellent example of how mobile devices can bring substantial benefits to our professional lives.”

I can certainly see the value of crowdbeamer at the type of conferences we organize as it really makes it easy for everyone, and not just speakers, to share interesting resources and materials without any fuss.

Sally Reynolds CEO of ATiT, host of the Media & Learning Association’s secretariat
Luc MeulewaeterCampfire sessions & crowdbeamer: a perfect fit to foster peer-to-peer learning.
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