Posts tagged with "E-Learning"

Virtual Meeting illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Zoom Hits A Record High

Zoom Hit a Record High Quarterly Revenue of $882.5 Million, Almost a 370% Increase YoY

Zoom’s revenues skyrocketed last year as global demand for online meeting solutions soared amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Although the popular video conferencing platform generated impressive revenue through its fiscal year 2021, the year’s final quarter set a new record.

According to data presented by BuyShares, Zoom hit a record high quarterly revenue of $882.5 million in Q4 FY 2021, almost a 370% increase year-over-year.

Annual Revenue Soared by 700% in Two Years

Unlike many other sectors, the video conferencing platforms witnessed explosive growth amid the COVID-19 crisis, as millions of people started working from home. However, Zoom emerged as the most preferred platform for holding virtual meetings. As countries across the globe-imposed lockdowns, family members also turned to Zoom as a way of keeping in touch with each other. Museums, theatres, and schools chose the platform to maintain normal operations.

With the ban on social gatherings, Zoom also became a cultural phenomenon through hosting parties, concerts, church services, and art shows. The surge in the number of users led to a 700% revenue growth in two years.

In the fiscal year 2019, Zoom generated $330.5 million in revenue, revealed the company’s earnings report. Over the next twelve months, this figure jumped by more than 88% to $626.6 million. The two-digit increase was driven by a strong Q4 FY 2020, matching the period between January and March 2020, when the pandemic already struck. Zoom’s quarterly revenue jumped by 78% YoY in this three-month period and hit $188 million.

The strong increasing trend continued in the following months, with revenue rising to $328.1 million in the second quarter of the calendar year 2020. Statistics show this figure more than doubled in the next three-month period and hit $663.5 million.

However, the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2021, matching the period between January and March 2021, delivered the highest quarterly revenue in Zoom`s history, causing annual revenues to rise above the expectations to $2.65bn.

Almost 70% of that value, or $1.83bn, was generated in the Americas as the largest Zoom market. Users from the EMEA region, as the second-largest market, generated $486 million in revenue. Asia followed with $332.8 million, respectively.

Market Cap Soared by 357% Year-Over-Year

While the Zoom stock price has increased steadily throughout 2020, a positive announcement regarding the efficiency of a COVID-19 vaccine in November last year resulted in the price falling by more than 30% by the end of the year.

Since then, the share price has been fluctuating and in recent months saw even more of a downturn, reaching $328.95 last week.

In December 2020, the combined value of Zoom shares stood at $115.5bn, revealed the MacroTrends data. Over the last four months, this figure dropped to $96.6bn, still a 357% increase year-over-year.

The full story can be read here

Book illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Education Tips For Children

7 Ways to Ensure Your Child Gets a Good Education

The Oxford Method, a tutoring community, offers tips to help your child be successful in school

Over the last year, during the pandemic, there have been many kids who have struggled academically. This is in part due to the millions who have had to do online learning and find the setup difficult. Whether children are learning online, in person, via classroom, or through a combination of the three, there are things that parents can do to help them be more successful. Knowing what to do can help make a world a difference and reduce the struggling.

“Many parents are aware of the way their kids are struggling with school over this school year,” explains David Florence, professor and founder of The Oxford Method, a community that offers tutoring services around the country. “Rather than let them fall behind, it’s a good idea to take action and do what you can to help them keep up and even pull ahead.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 93% of households with school-age children report that their kids have engaged in some sort of distance learning during the pandemic. They also report that the vast shift in the way kids are learning has also caused digital inequality because some kids don’t have access to computers and/or the Internet. Whether students are learning online or in class, there are things parents can do to help them get a good education.

Here 7 ways to help ensure your child gets a good education:

  1. Sleep. It’s crucial for a child to get enough sleep each night, which will help them to be more focused, as well as improve their behavior, quality of life, and mental and physical health. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children ages 6-12 should get 9-12 hours of sleep per night, and teens ages 13-18 should get 8-10 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Teach value. It usually starts at home whether or not a child values an education. Parents who want their kids to get a good education should instill a love of learning in their children and teach them to value the education they are getting.
  3. Get them help. If your child is struggling, you may be able to help them, but there also comes a time when kids need a tutor to step in. A good tutor can make a world of difference in ensuring that a child gets a good education. They can help ensure that students will not fall behind and that they will get the foundation they need to move on in a subject.
  4. Show them how. Oftentimes, kids don’t know how to effectively study for a test or to take notes when they are in class. Take the time to show them how to do it effectively, as well as how to stay organized with their schooling. When students are organized, they are more likely to succeed.
  5. Ask them questions. Be sure to ask your kids how it is going, if they got their homework done, if they need any help, or if there’s anything they need to be more successful. They like to know that you are interested in how they are doing, so it’s good to show an active interest.
  6. Get involved. It’s always a good idea if you can get involved with the school and have good communication with the teacher. That way you will be aware of what is going on and know how to help your child more. Teachers love it when parents take an active interest in their child’s education.
  7. Praise your kids. Help kids to know what they are doing is right or what they are doing is wrong. Praising and encouraging the kids builds their confidence and helps them to succeed as they grow.

“Just about every parent has the ability to help kids succeed with their academics, even if it’s ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed,” added Florence. “We help parents be successful, even those who don’t have the funds to pay for a tutor. Our mission is to help as many students to achieve as we can.”

The Oxford Method has over 100 tutors around the country, covering all subject areas. They offer online tutoring, as well as in-person and in-classroom options. Their tutoring services are available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Instructors have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with many of them having a master’s degree, Ph.D., and at least four years of teaching experience. The Oxford Method works with their nonprofit, Social Actualization, Inc., by giving them 10% of all profits. The funds are used to provide free computers, high-speed internet, and instruction to underprivileged families in urban and rural America. Plus, 40% of their instructors are PhDs, 40% have a master’s degree, and 20% have only a bachelor’s degree.

The Oxford Method believes that education is the great equalizer and the best gift you can give the next generation. Subject areas include science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as business, social studies, psychology, English, history, public speaking, study methods, test-taking, and more. To get more information about The Oxford Method, visit the website.

Digital Divide illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Digitally Disconnected

DIGITALLY DISCONNECTED

13 TIPS FOR HELPING BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR CHILDREN DURING COVID-19

While social, racial, and economic disparities have always existed within the educational system, the COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating these inequities and widening gaps between students at a drastic rate. For families who can’t afford home computers, laptops, or high-speed internet access, remote learning is nearly impossible, and for students who already found themselves struggling before the pandemic, the prospect of more than a year of lost classroom time is a devastating blow. However, there are steps parents can take to shrink this digital divide, and there are resources available via schools, non-profits, and government initiatives that can help children access the technological tools they need to succeed. Indeed, Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder of Children and Screens, notes that “the inclusion of 17.2 billion dollars for closing the ‘homework gap’ in the recently passed American Rescue Plan is a watershed moment for digital equity.”   
 
Several of the leading figures in the fields of public health, education, psychology, and parenting have weighed in with their suggestions on the best ways to combat the digital divide, and many will participate in an interdisciplinary conversation and Q&A hosted by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development on Wednesday, March 24, at 12pm ET via Zoom. Moderated by the Director of Internet and Technology Research at the Pew Research Center Lee Rainie, the panel will engage in an in-depth discussion about the digital divide and actionable steps we can all take to bridge the gap. RSVP here.
 
1. DON’T WAIT, ADVOCATE 

While schools across the country are doing everything they can to make sure that children have access to the technology and connectivity they need for remote learning, the unfortunate reality is that many families still lack adequate resources. If your family is among them, says author and MIT Assistant Professor of Digital Media Justin Reich, know that you’re not alone and that there are steps you can take to advocate for what your children need. “Start with your school staff,” Reich recommends. “They’re often overwhelmed during this challenging time but be polite and persistent. If you run into a dead-end with your school system, consider reaching out to school libraries and youth organizations like The Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA to see what kind of support they might be able to offer.”
 
2. SCALE DOWN 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Professor Dr. Wayne Journell agrees, pointing out that sometimes, despite their best efforts, teachers and administrators may not always know which students are struggling with connectivity issues. “Let teachers know if you have slow internet at home,” says Journell. “Sometimes detailed graphics and animations that look cute but have little relevance to the actual lessons being delivered can cause problems for students with unreliable internet. If teachers are aware, then they can scale down the ‘frilly’ stuff and still get the important content across.”
 
3. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF  

While it’s important for parents to speak up on behalf of their children, RAND Senior Policy Researcher Julia Kaufman, Ph.D., highlights the importance of encouraging children to express their needs, as well. “If your child does not have access to technology at home and is falling behind, make sure your child’s teacher knows the obstacles they’re facing and ask what accommodations will make it easier for your child to do assignments offline,” says Rand. “At the same time, help your child feel comfortable expressing any technology concerns or confusion to their teachers, including cases where they have the technology but cannot use it well.”
 
4. CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS 

One critical step that educators and policymakers can take in addressing the digital divide is to check their assumptions. They cannot – and should not – assume that students do or do not have access based solely on demographics such as family income level. “In addition, they cannot assume that providing access alone creates equity,” adds Dr. Beth Holland, a Partner at The Learning Accelerator (TLA) and Digital Equity Advisor to the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN). “This is a complex and nuanced challenge that needs both a technical and a human solution to ensure that students not only have access to sufficient high-speed internet and devices but also accessible systems and structures to support their learning.”

5. SURVEY AND MODIFY  

For teachers who are on the ground and in the classroom, checking your assumptions can be as simple as asking a few basic questions at the start of the term. “Survey students to determine the percentage of your population that doesn’t have home Internet access,” recommends former AAP President Dr. Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Once you know the divide, you can address it,” adding, “When planning 1:1 projects and choosing devices, for example, you can consider a device’s capacity for offline use. For those without Wi-Fi, a public library in the child’s neighborhood can also be an excellent resource.”

6. VOTE FOR CHANGE 

That parents and teachers need to worry about the digital divide at all is a failure on the part of our elected leaders, says Bates College Associate Professor of Education Mara Casey Tieken. “Contact your elected officials—local, state, and federal—and complain,” she suggests. “Write letters, call their offices, attend their legislative sessions, and make your voice heard. Join with other families whose children are impacted by this divide to amplify your message and use your vote to support lawmakers who understand the impacts of this divide, have a clear plan to address it and are willing to take action.”
 
7. MAKE BROADBAND A UTILITY  

Reich agrees, reminding those families who already have their needs met that they share in the responsibility to advocate for the less fortunate. “It’s our job as citizens to demand that we as a society give families and children the tools and resources that they need for remote learning now and in the future,” says Reich. “We need to advocate for a society where broadband is treated as a utility rather than a luxury good, and young people enrolled in schools and educational programs have access to computers for learning.”

8. CONCRETE INITIATIVES  

Angela Siefer, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, advocates four concrete initiatives. “Establish a permanent broadband benefit, increase access to affordable computers, digital literacy and technical support, improve broadband mapping (including residential cost data), and support local and state digital inclusion planning.” By implementing these changes, Siefer says, policymakers can start to mitigate the digital divide. 

9. USE TECH FOR GOOD 

There are many reasons to consider equitable solutions along a “digital continuum” rather than the “digital divide;” a binary description leaves less room for nuanced and customized interventions. It may be imperative to fortify existing institutions, implement new governance structures and promulgate policies to confront disparities regarding working families. Antwuan Wallace, Managing Director at National Innovation Service, suggests that legislators consider a Safety and Thriving framework to increase family efficacy to support children with protective factors against the “homework gap” by utilizing technology to train critical skills for executive functioning, including planning, working memory, and prioritization. 
 
10. LEVEL THE FIELD 

Emma Garcia of the Economic Policy Institute emphasizes that guided technology education will be of great value after the pandemic. She says, “it will need be instituted as part of a very broad agenda that uses well-designed diagnostic tests to know where children are and what they need (in terms of knowledge, socioemotional development, and wellbeing), ensures the right number of highly credentialed professionals to teach and support students, and offers an array of targeted investments that will address the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on children’s learning and development, especially for those who were most hit by the pandemic.”
 
11. APPLY FOR LIFELINE 

Research also shows that the digital divide disproportionately affects Latino, Black, and Native American students, with the expensive price of internet access serving as one of the main obstacles to families in these communities. “Eligible parents can apply for the Lifeline Program, which is a federal program that can reduce their monthly phone and internet cost,” suggests Greenlining Institute fellow Gissela Moya. “Parents can also ask their child’s school to support them by providing hotspots and computer devices to ensure their child has the tools they need to succeed.”
 
12. GET INVOLVED 

Learning remotely can be difficult for kids, even if they have access to all the technological tools they need. Research shows that parental encouragement is also an important aspect of learning for children, notes London School of Economics professor and author Sonia Livingstone. “Perhaps sit with them, and gently explain what’s required or work it out together.” She adds that working together is a great way that parents with fewer economic or digital resources can support their children. “And if you don’t know much about computers, your child can probably teach you something too!”
 
13. NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL 

When it comes to encouraging your children, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. “Reflect on the more nuanced ways your children learn and leverage accessible resources (digital and non-digital) to inspire their continued curiosity,” says University of Redlands Assistant Professor Nicol Howard. Leaning into your child’s strengths and interests will help them make the most of this challenging time.
 
While the move to remote learning may seem like an insurmountable obstacle for families that can’t afford reliable internet or dedicated devices for their kids, there are a variety of ways that parents can help connect their children with the tools they need. For those privileged enough to already have access to the necessary physical resources, it’s important to remember that emotional support is also an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to children’s educational success, especially during days as challenging as these. Lastly, it falls on all of us to use our time, energy, and voices to work towards a more just world where the educational playing field is level and all children have the same opportunity to thrive and succeed, regardless of their social, racial, or financial background.
 
About Children and Screens
Since its inception in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, has become one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, enhancing human capital in the field, informing and educating the public, and advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness. For more information, visit Children and Screens website or contact by email here.
 
The views and opinions that are expressed in this article belong to the experts to whom they are attributed, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, or its staff. 

E-Learning Illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Creative Ways of Learning

How the Pandemic Opened Doors for Creative New Ways of Learning

When the pandemic shut down schools in 2020, parents were forced to pay closer attention to what their children were – or were not – learning, and to take a more active role in their students’ education. It made for an unwelcome disruption in everyone’s lives. But within this homelife upheaval, the disruption of school also provided an opportunity to re-evaluate how learning takes place, and what families can do to make things better, says Emily Greene, the author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World.

We’ve gained a new perspective, and this is our chance to update our outdated education system for something better, to shift our mindsets, and to rekindle our children’s joy in learning from the inside out,” says Greene, who herself is a working mother of three children. “I think many of us are beginning to recognize and appreciate new ways of learning that do not necessarily conform to the traditional format of school. Outside of the school building, we’re seeing learning happen anytime, anywhere, with anyone, in formal and informal ways.”

But a question arises: If it’s time to rethink education in America, what is the way forward? For Greene, part of the answer involves simply setting aside outdated ideas about learning and embracing a new way of thinking about what school should be.

Parents don’t need to wait for the school board, teachers, or others to act. She says some steps they can take themselves include:

  • Unlearn outdated beliefs about school. The traditional model of education is over 100 years old, which means people need to unlearn it, Greene says. Among other things, school is viewed as a daytime activity in a brick-and-mortar building where children the same age learn the same things, and tests measure how well they’re doing. “Maybe we flip that,” Greene says, “so that we view learning as an anytime activity where kids of all ages have learning options, creative thinking is expected, and success is measured by curiosity rather than test scores,” Greene says unlearning has three steps. “First, we let go of status-quo beliefs that are no longer valid,” she says. “Second, we replace outdated thinking with a new mindset that could work better. Finally, we rebuild day-to-day life around a new way of thinking about school.”
  • Nurture curiosity. Children are naturally curious, but structured education doesn’t always allow them to follow their innate desires to know or learn something, Greene says. Parents can help nurture curiosity by asking children questions about what interests them, she says. Parents should also be sure to listen to their children and elicit questions from them rather than jump in with advice, opinions, and answers. “I remind parents that curiosity is innate. All children are naturally drawn to things they find interesting,” Greene says. “With practice, kids can learn to activate their curiosity to transform everyday learning into a more joyful experience.”
  • Encourage creativity. Schools don’t kill creativity, but the conformity required at school does smother it, “leaving it gasping for air,” Greene says. “Creativity is stifled by standardization, evaluation, and pressure to conform to the structure of the school system,” she says. Interestingly enough, the pandemic helped show children the importance of creativity and innovation, she says. “They saw stores and restaurants adapt to changing conditions by offering curbside pickup and social distancing,” Greene says. “Many kids watched their parents adapt to a new way of remote working. These things make an impression, showing children that creativity enables us to adapt and solve real problems.”

Through this pandemic, we have all suffered, but we also have learned so much,” Greene says. “The disruption of school gives us the perspective needed to make a lasting difference in the way our children learn. What a waste it would be to just settle back into our old ways.”

About Emily Greene

Emily Greene is the author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World in which she shares her experience educating her children inside and outside of traditional schools. She developed the Kiddovate program, working with hundreds of teachers and students. She also is co-founder of VIVA Creative, where she and her team create live and digital experiences. When the pandemic shut down the event industry, Greene co-led VIVA in rethinking how to bring people together in a global pandemic. In 2020, she received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year® award recognizing innovation during adversity.