Our partners at Cisco discuss the benefits of Cisco Webex in an academic environment. With the increased need for remote lectures and online classrooms, Webex is a helpful tool to keep students engaged and classes productive.

Classroom supplies and Webex

Every school year, teachers create a sacred list of school supplies they need for the year. Mine typically included tissues, hand sanitizer, sticky notes, whiteboard markers, and other standard supplies. As a former teacher—Mrs. Hamill—I always started my school year off telling parents to review “The List” and thanked them for their support. While I always appreciated any help I could get, I just recently realized what had been missing from my list: technology.

Webex collaboration tools

Ever seen Webex on a teacher’s wish list? I sure haven’t, but I wish someone would have shared the need to eliminate the endless bullets (or stars if you’re fancy) and replace them with one request: Cisco Webex Meetings and Teams. I wish I knew how much time, money, and valuable teaching time I could have saved by requesting Webex collaboration tools. I’ve saved you the time and written the list for you today—you’re welcome.

Fostering healthy, safe, and supportive learning

We’ve all seen a teacher’s wish list before: as a parent looking at a take-home folder, in the store shopping, or broadcast over TV and online advertisements. Educators prioritize keeping students healthy, safe, and cared for while teaching. The tissues, hand sanitizers, and markers are a good start, but they do run out, need resupplying (insert begging over many emails), and do not support significant classroom needs.

“How do I help the student who didn’t use the hand sanitizer and is out for the next week?”

“How can I revolutionize the use of sticky notes when we’re striving to be a green school?”

“How do I host an important study session when the state just closed down for a snow day?” 

Importance of technology in education

At all levels of education, technology is not only a wish but a necessity. Had I known this when I was teaching, I could have shortened my list and added Cisco Collaboration tools, Webex Meetings, and Teams to the top of my classroom and school’s priorities. Unfortunately (an understatement), I didn’t know the answer was Cisco Webex collaboration solutions. Before exiting education, I had the opportunity to adopt and deploy Webex in an education environment. This is where the list started to shrink. Sticky notes, whiteboards, and markers are built right into the product. Connecting with kids, parents, and colleagues remotely with just one button to push? Check! Where were these amazing tools when I was teaching only two years ago? It doesn’t matter, because what I didn’t know then, I do know now.

I wish I had Webex Meetings

Webex Meetings offers teachers a way to connect easily with students anywhere, anytime. Teachers never stop teaching. The bell may have rung, and the students have gone home, but there is still loads of work and planning that will go on into the night, bleeding right into the next day. Teaching remote is not an issue for an educator. I would have loved to host office hours or answer a student’s question in real-time from the comfort of my couch.

If the school called a snow day, I would have been able to keep the momentum going, not having to play catch up upon my return. Webex Meetings allows you to play video and enable audio, use chat, and share screens. It’s so simple and a great way to stay productive.

Parent or student can’t make it to a school conference to discuss academic progress? Say hello to Webex Meetings. It allows for more flexibility and personalized attention whenever needed.

Large scale? I know, first-hand, administrators, board office personnel, superintendents, content coaches, and more don’t have the bandwidth to attend every professional development session, curriculum gathering, or state-wide initiative meeting in person. With Webex, however, I can include all those parties. Everyone is where they need to be. You truly can be in two places at once.

And I’m just getting started.

Workflow, working in a group, and collaboration- peace of mind

Webex Teams is the epitome of collaboration. The integrations are endless, and there is no disruption or pause in the workflow when working on Teams.

One of education’s best practices is “group work,” as the facilitator roves the classroom to check in on table talk that nurtures productive discussion. Webex Teams allows leaders to use Team spaces as breakouts, which allows for even more focused, quiet conversations, and personal teacher attention. I would bop in and out of spaces to check in on my students and their shared efforts.

Gone are the days of leaving the classroom (a big no-no) and running down the hall (also a demerit) to quickly collaborate with a colleague. With Webex Teams, all of my peers are at-the-ready. I juggled being the basketball coach, literacy chair, social committee member, and bus duty scheduler, which meant I talked to a lot of people throughout the day. That’s a lot of emails and way too many forbidden hallway trips. Webex Teams was where my communication and collaboration should have (remember this is a wish list) lived.

Final thoughts

All in all, my wish list looks different these days, and that’s because I have been able to cross off the majority of the list items previously mentioned with one solution: Cisco Webex Teams and Meetings.

Today, I still teach and train others, but I do it remotely, from home. I connect with people across the world, and there is no time lost. I have only invested in one box of tissues in five months, and my germs are my own, so a travel-sized sanitizer fits the bill. I still utilize sticky notes, markers, and whiteboards as they’re available in-product.

Before, when I was confined to one room all day (except for those quick escapes), I never dreamed that teaching remote would be possible. Now, I know and believe anything is possible with Webex.

Consider adding Cisco Webex to your wish list, because the school year isn’t over yet! Who doesn’t love crossing off more than one list item at a time?

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