Videochat Features to Help Teachers Manage Virtual Classrooms
With many K–12 schools moving to a hybrid learning model this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom is adding new features designed to help teachers manage virtual classrooms. The free Zoom for Education plan includes more control over virtual classroom views. Teachers will be able to customize their classroom’s gallery view to make it easier to find students and “go around the room” in order, or place a spotlight on a group of students who are presenting to the class. While Zoom typically gives control over muting or unmuting audio to participants, another new feature will let teachers selectively unmute student audio, as long as all parties opt in. This could be helpful for younger students who may not know how to use the microphone or during music lessons if students are holding instruments. To increase accessibility, teachers can “pin” up to nine students on screen in their custom personal view, so those who use sign language will still be visible even if they aren’t triggered in speaker view. And students who are deaf or hard of hearing can pin both their teacher and a translator on the screen simultaneously. For small-group work, students will be able to select a breakout room and move between rooms. And music teachers can go into Advanced Audio and select the option to enhance “original sound,” which will raise audio quality.
A group of artists has spent the past six years inviting other artists, teachers, and students to help add Wikipedia pages for Black artists and adjusting other pages as needed. Started by Jina Valentine and Heather Hart, the Wiki edit-a-thons have resulted in the addition of 1,200 artists and institutions to the Wikipedia website, as well as changes made to countless other pages.
During Hispanic Heritage Month, IBM is working with policymakers and education leaders to increase the number of Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools(P-TECH)in the United States. Currently, IBM hosts 220 P-TECH partners worldwide, and the company plans to expand the program to 150 schools in the US—half of the company’s total commitment of 300 by 2023.
Calcflow, powered by Matryx on STEAM, lets students explore mathematical theorems and scenarios in an interactive virtual reality environment. Essentially it allows them to visualize mathematical concepts in a completely new way.