Teachers have one of the most important jobs in our society. Tasked with educating the next generation of Americans and teaching them to be productive, knowledgeable innovators, the men and women in classrooms across the country are responsible for no less than the future.
Schools are all too often under-resourced and face funding shortages, and educators are commonly faced with an uphill battle when it comes to getting the education communications tools and time needed to deliver fully on an institution's promise. Fortunately, unified communications (UC) can help change that reality.
In an era where every student has a phone in their pocket and laptops rule the classroom, moving on from a communications strategy built on the telephone, email, and an intercom is a necessity. UC features like IM/chat, mobile clients, conferencing, and presence can be invaluable tools to bolster the learning environment.
Consider, for instance, the use of mobile UC for teachers and administrators to improve communication with colleagues, students and parents. Or, the ability to offer cloud-based access to curriculum enrichment resources, which can then be used by students in homework exercises that involve collaborating on group projects. Immersive learning experiences, distance learning for kids that are home sick and the ability to record live lectures to make them available on-demand online are but a few of the additional innovative game-changers that UC can bring to the classroom.
Presence can be a critical tool as well. Home-school communication has always been a challenge, with phone tag and unanswered emails hampering the efforts on both sides to be transparent about what's happening with any given student. With presence, teachers can let parents and students know when they have "office hours"—i.e. availability for an impromptu phone call, chat session, or web conference. Students can use presence within a mobile client to arrange on-the-fly study sessions with classmates.
In addition to the world of new learning and collaboration possibilities that UC opens up, it's also a way to streamline costs—always an important consideration in education. UC platforms like Star2Star's offers a full spectrum cloud-based approach that significantly reduces capital expenses and reduces the cost and complexity of delivering IP education communications. Institutions pay only for what they use, avoiding the common issue of contracting for more lines than necessary. Meanwhile, VoIP reduces calling costs; as a cloud-delivered, full managed service, Star2Star UC reduces IT support requirements and overhead, virtually eliminating maintenance costs.