The primitive interactive classroom focused on digitising a small part of what drives education in schools. Perhaps there would be an interactive white-board, with a digital marker used to move around a toolset reminiscent of a basic version of Microsoft Paint. Perhaps homework could be found online, or maybe it could be downloaded only from a school’s intranet system. It would be managed by an internal IT team whose familiarity with such products would be dictated by their own personal interests. It seems that as the interactive classroom model is more widely embraced, the better results come from outsourcing this side of the school experience.
On 18th September, Neebo, Inc. announced a partnership with Copia Interactive, LLC; these two companies coming together unites the vision of a clearly focused, interactive classroom. Neebo’s history is that of successfully adapting to a world of new media, operating as the owner of Nebraska Book Company, Inc., which currently possesses a healthy digital arm alongside its market-leading textbook division. Neebo is a prime example of a company changing their global vision to push their into the future. By partnering with Copia, who specialise in creating platforms which run a wide variety of digital, educational suites, Neebo are positioning themselves as the content curators for a closed ecosystem which becomes a lot easier for schools to manage.
A powerful ecosystem
The issue with having every piece of classroom technology independent from each other is that it doesn’t result in a better educational experience. It belies the usefulness of having such a system in place. What we should seek from technology is it being able to handle the daily tasks we need not do. If by making a whiteboard digital we still have to jot down on a pad of paper what we’ve previously drawn out, it negates any benefit the digital whiteboard brings.
If we can therefore imagine a school teacher inputting the classes’ homework on their computer, laptop, or mobile device, and immediately the essays are sent out to the students’ own devices, then this is something which would benefit the industry as a whole. To reach this position, there needs to be a “walled garden” approach to running the entire back-end system, which is something both Neebo and Copia together would be able to construct. Promethean, based in Lancashire in the UK, has taken on this role as a leading solutions provider for interactive classrooms, but it is one of many currently active in the sector. Whilst there is no industry standard set yet by any company for a digital strategy, the benefit of making the space a competitive one is something which will drive innovation for the coming years.
The classroom has been evolving for the past ten years under the watchful eyes of the technology sector. Whilst novelty and disparity between services has long taken root, it seems that private companies are ready to step in to fix the flaws that the schools’ open services have allowed. It will lead to a better path to education, reducing the need of self-maintenance for administrative tasks.