As more of our day-to-day activities, interests and job functions move online, educators at every level have started to leverage the power and potential of technology to increase educational opportunities for their students. In that spirit, connected classrooms have really started to catch on around the world.
What is a connected classroom?
In a connected classroom, teachers and students are able to make use of technology for a variety of learning opportunities, such as:
- collaborating with their peers from around the world
- taking virtual field trips to far-off museums, national monuments, zoos, aquariums and historical sites
- getting instant, face-to-face homework help through video collaboration
- connecting with leading educational organizations
- learning remotely through interactive online courses
Connected classrooms most often use a high-speed internet connection, professional AV equipment (such as a projector and screen), video collaboration technology, webcams and microphones to bring participants together.
Why should you offer connected classroom solutions?
There are several reasons why now is the time for value-added resellers to branch out into the connected classroom market:
- The chance to offer cost-savings. The connected classroom trend is catching on quickly, as school officials work keep their budgets in check. Although connected classrooms require an upfront investment in technology, in the long run it can save some schools money in travel expenses, facility fees and, in some cases, employee salaries.
- New revenue streams. Depending on the systems your customers choose, their connected classrooms may be an opportunity for recurring revenue from online voice, video and data collaboration services.
- Huge growth potential. Many industry experts agree that connected classroom technology is on the verge of truly taking off. As younger generations become increasingly familiar with and reliant on technology, it seems only inevitable that it should be incorporated into their educational experience. In fact, trend-setter Google recently became involved in the market with its Connected Classroom initiative, which uses Google+ to help teachers connect their students with nationwide field trips and other virtual learning opportunities.
- Upsell opportunities. Schools and institutions that are interested in creating a connected classroom network may also have a need for additional technology that improves collaboration, such as video equipment, video conferencing technology and even digital signage. By offering connected classroom solutions, you’re more likely to break into the education market and find long-term customers there.
- Referral business. The great thing about the education market is that, once you have your foot in the door, there is a lot of business to be had. School administrators and educators who are interested in connected classroom technology will likely have colleagues who are similarly tech-minded. After each installation, follow up with your customer to see if they would recommend your services to anyone they know.
With our incredible mobile and virtual communication and learning capabilities, connected classrooms are likely to become increasingly popular in the next few years. This exciting trend will not only benefit the next generations of students; it will also bolster the service offering of any VAR who is ready to get on board.
Have you considered getting into the connected classroom market? In your experience, do you think demand for the technology will continue to grow?