Embracing Virtual Learning Amid a Pandemic
With a commitment to strengthening religious faith, promoting academic excellence, and developing social responsibility and leadership in the young men and women throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and beyond, The Catholic Academy of Sussex County takes education seriously. However, on March 13, 2020, schools across the country were notified they would be closed to students until further notice because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as businesses and remote workers turned to video conferencing, teachers embraced video in order to engage directly with students and create a similar experience to what they are most used to. The teachers at The Catholic Academy of Sussex County quickly adapted to remote learning and opened their classrooms virtually just two days after in-person learning was suspended. As weeks turned into months, there was no end in sight as remote learning continued across the globe. With a commitment to academics, The Catholic Academy of Sussex County knew it was critical that their schools embrace the power of technology to provide an enhanced learning experience for students.
Delivering the Classroom Experience at Home
Following a decision by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy mandating that all students would be eligible to attend school remotely for the 2020-21 school year, the CASC adopted a hybrid learning model where some students could be present in class and others attend virtually from home. During the summer of 2020, they turned to HighPoint Solutions to determine what flexible technology would best enable teachers to meet the evolving needs of a hybrid learning experience. In order to deliver the classroom experience at home, The Catholic Academy of Sussex County worked with HighPoint Solutions to
install Jabra PanaCast cameras and Speak 750 speakerphones in over 85 classrooms across their campus to deliver a hybrid learning solution that positions both in-class and remote students for success. Jabra PanaCast is the world’s first Panoramic-4K plug-and-play video solution, designed to bring meetings to life with highdefinition video. Jabra PanaCast offers a full 180-degree view and its Intelligent Zoom function automatically includes everyone in the conversation – even if they are spread out in the room to maintain social distancing. With a view of the entire classroom, students at home can see the teacher’s instructional environment so they do not miss out on non-verbal cues and can feel like they
are a part of the class. Jabra‘s Speak 750 speakerphones offer superb audio quality and connect wirelessly via Bluetooth or USB allowing students to hear all that is going on in the classroom. Together, Jabra PanaCast and Speak 750 offer an unrivalled combination of crystal-clear audio and video to provide an immersive and engaging experience for both remote and in-person students. “When the Governor of New Jersey required schools to provide the option for students to be remote, we were committed to finding an easy-to-use technology that allowed teachers to focus on what they do best, instead of trying to solve issues with an IT team,” said Brian Vohden, Director of Curriculum at The Catholic Academy of Sussex County.
Finding the Right Technology
Keeping students engaged throughout the school day is no easy feat, and then having to adapt to a hybrid learning environment added another level of complexity to a teacher’s workday. The Catholic Academy of Sussex County knew they needed to provide technology that allowed teachers to spend more time teaching and less time solving IT challenges. By choosing Jabra’s intelligently designed audio and video solutions for classrooms across their campus, The Catholic Academy of Sussex County was able to provide a singular solution that met the needs of the teachers and students. The plug-and-play integration between the Jabra PanaCast and Speak 750 instantly connects with the video conferencing platform of a teacher’s choice, allowing them to utilize the platform that best fits the needs of their students and curriculum. Jabra’s flexibility and availability were key decision-making factors when deciding on a technology that was right for their campus. “Hybrid learning definitely changed the landscape for teachers and students. Our goal was to find a technology that creates an engaging experience for everyone. When we found Jabra’s solutions, and its easy plug-and-play camera and compatible speakerphone, it was a no brainer,” said Brian Vohden at The Catholic Academy of Sussex County. “We loved that we could mount the camera on the ceiling. We were also impressed with the portability of the speaker. The quality is far superior to what teachers had on their laptops.”
Supporting a Quick Rollout
The Catholic Academy of Sussex County had a goal to get their schools open again in the fall of 2020. That summer, the team was focused on buying shields for students’ desks, cleaning supplies and finding technology that would work properly for teachers without disruption. HighPoint Solutions guided the team through the process. After landing on Jabra as the right technology for their campus at the beginning of August, there was a short window to equip the classrooms before the start of the school year. Because of the plug-and-play nature of Jabra’s solutions, it made the rollout seamless, and the team was able to successfully implement the technology across their classrooms. The response to the Jabra PanaCast and the Speak 750s in the classrooms has been extremely positive. The Catholic Academy of Sussex County was on a tight timeline and the implementation was seamless. With extensive backend support, and an all-hands on deck approach, the Jabra support team was there every step of the way.
Providing a New Classroom Concept
The pandemic forced teachers to adapt to a new normal, and the ease of use and flexibility with Jabra’s solutions was critical to this new hybrid classroom. Teachers are praising the Jabra PanaCast cameras for having 180-degree panoramic view that allows students at home to view the entire classroom, including the white board, and the smart zoom tracking features to hone in on the teacher or student speaking. Students are reporting they can see what is happening in the classroom and how the teacher is interacting with the students in the room. With the Speak 750 speakerphones, teachers have the flexibility and portability to move the speakerphones around the classroom. “As the world adapts to hybrid learning, it becomes critical to have high quality audio and video solutions in order to keep the students active and engaged in the classroom,” said Aurangzeb Khan, Senior Vice President at Jabra. “At Jabra, we are focused on delivering an easy-to-use technology solution for schools that provide remote
students with an immersive experience while making it simple for the teachers to use.” In this new contactless and remote world, being able to provide students and teachers with a solution, like the Jabra PanaCast and Speak 750, allows for a more meaningful and engaging learning environment. Even after we emerge from the pandemic, The Catholic Academy of Sussex County plan to use the technology
for students who have medical or family emergencies and cannot attend in-person class.