When faced with the possibility of a school shutdown, schools are forced to assess their contingency plans in delivering education to their students. But how can you maintain the relationships created in the physical classroom into a 100% online setting?
Don’t worry, Schoolbox can help! To provide support to our schools, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about the capabilities of Schoolbox to assist in the event of a shutdown and ensure learning is not disrupted for this generation of learners.
What are the preconditions to prepare Schoolbox in case of shutdown?
So that your school can leverage all of the capabilities of Schoolbox in case of a shutdown, ensure you meet the following preconditions:
- All email addresses for parents are up to date and accurate.
- There is a policy on how your school will continue to provide course materials, assessments and ongoing work via Schoolbox during a shutdown.
- Your school’s hardware monitoring can provide alerts remotely and there is a plan to resolve in the event of hardware failure.
- There are alternative methods to access your systems remotely if the internet is down.
- All course and class pages are adequately organised so that students can easily access and find the materials required to continue their learning.
- Create a community page with all the current information, policies and links collated together. So if something does occur, you can then link this page from the dashboard.
What are the key components to engage students in a purely online setting?
From a teaching and learning perspective, your school community will probably already utilise a lot of the Schoolbox features. So, when faced with a shutdown, don’t forget that the features in Schoolbox are designed to work in a purely remote environment enabling learning to take place anywhere and anytime.
In particular, the following features will be of great benefit for your students in the event of a shutdown:
- Information components: these include your News and Calendar components that can be very useful in keeping your students and broader school community notified of ‘online’ class times and what needs to be completed.
- Collaborative components: success of online learning will be largely attributed to being able to maintain a relationship with your students so components like social stream, forums and polls are going to be instrumental.
- Learning components: elements like course and unit pages are something that teachers are heavily invested in day to day, and with a shutdown, these pages will be highly critical to maintaining engagement for your students.
- Multimedia components: further your engagement for your students by embedding learning tools within Schoolbox like Khan, Youtube, Vimeo and provide support for their learning in situations where you are not available to answer questions immediately.
- Resource components: continue the learning of your students by giving them easy access to links and resources that they need at any point of their learning journey.
Will Schoolbox be able to handle the load in the event of a shutdown?
Schoolbox is designed to handle your entire school using the platform during the day, so having everyone remote should not be an issue. Schoolbox can handle multiple simultaneous connections to a server.
However, if your instance is hosted onsite, you may experience an increased stress on the outbound internet connection. Schoolbox is designed to be lightweight, so something like video and audio streaming can cause high usage. So, in the event of a shutdown, we would recommend additional internet upload capacity to ensure all remote users can continue to access resources hosted onsite during the shutdown.
What web conferencing software is compatible with Schoolbox?
Schoolbox has limited functionality for real time interactions via the chat and collaborative docs features. However, to provide the full video streaming experience, you can configure web conferencing software for Schoolbox.
ZOOM LTI Pro is one such provider that can be added into Schoolbox classrooms via the LTI feature. With ZOOM, you can schedule and share meetings within Schoolbox.
For ease of use, we recommend that teachers utilise the calendar feature on the class page to schedule upcoming sessions. Teachers can then provide links to the conferences via the calendar.
You can find detailed step by step instructions in our guide: ZOOM LTI Pro on Schoolbox.
Schoolbox is also LTI compatible with CirQlive , if you want to check that out as an alternative.
How can chat systems be integrated with Schoolbox?
There is a basic chat client built into Schoolbox that can be used for simple purposes. However, modern chat clients allow file sharing, threaded discussions and bots. We recommend either Microsoft Teams or Slack as the two leading products. At present, there are no LTI integrations with these products. However, the good news is they can be manually linked together.
To integrate the chat system into Schoolbox, you will first need to create a room for your class in the chat system. Then you can post the link to your chat room on your class page. With the appropriate permissions, your students will be able to follow the link and join the class chat room.
It is important you still post important information like assessments to the class page, as things can get lost in the history of the chat room.
If you would like to discuss any other aspects of Schoolbox to assist your school to prepare for a shutdown, contact us today and speak to a friendly Schoolbox team member.
You can also visit our quick guide for step by step assistance with key Schoolbox components in the event of a shutdown.