Education Opinion

Ed-Tech Products Should Make Educators More Efficient

By Matthew Lynch — September 21, 2017 6 min read
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The past twenty years has seen a remarkable increase in the sheer volume of digital learning resources now employed in today’s classrooms. That rise has introduced new levels of complexity to the classroom, from how teachers organize resources to how students access and use them with fidelity. With that in mind, it’s now more important than ever for education technology stakeholders to ensure that the classroom workflow is actually working. In this piece, we will discuss how one forward-thinking company has created a single sign-on solution that is helping schools optimize digital learning so that all of us can spend more time learning, less time logging in.

Who is leading the way?

While K-12 and higher education leaders have integrated digital learning into their mission for serving students, barriers to access are inhibiting their ability to fulfill that vision. From ensuring fast, secure access at the classroom level to managing the roles and permissions at an organizational level, edtech administrators at every level have recognized the need for streamlining access...but they’ve struggled to find a solution provider that can help them bring everything together. One company, in particular, ClassLink, has done an excellent job of creating a teacher and student productivity suite that is not only streamlining access to digital learning, but it’s also helping schools meet their mission.

ClassLink is a one-click single sign-on (SSO) solution that provides students with access to everything they require to learn, anywhere, with just one password. Students no longer have to rack their brains trying to remember a dozen passwords. Teachers no longer have to squander class time by waiting for everyone to log into what seems like an infinite number of web apps. With ClassLink, users log in once to access all of their apps on any device. Simple, but absolutely brilliant. The ClassLink library supports over 5,000 single sign-on apps. It is the largest library of SSOs in education and is bigger than the sum of all the libraries of all other education SSO providers combined.

How to Make Access Easy

To address the differing needs of school teachers and learners, they offer multiple login methods: QuickCard, facial recognition, and remote login.

QuickCard: This login option is ideal for younger students who have trouble remembering their passwords or using a keyboard. With this easy method, each student uses a QuickCard (similar to an ID card) with a Quick Response (QR) code embossed on it, to login. Students just wave the QuickCard in front of their device’s camera and ClassLink logs them in. The QuickCard creation process is simple, as students simply need to click a couple of buttons to print their own.

Facial Recognition: To login using the facial recognition feature, all students have to do is use their device to take a selfie. Initial setup is easy and requires a few test pictures to ‘train’ the system to identify the user. The simplicity of this feature is suitable for some users, and for others, it may be appropriate to use it in concert with two-factor authentication to increase security.

Remote Login: By using the ClassLink Remote Login mobile app, students can sit down at any computer and by clicking a button on the mobile app direct the computer to login, without pushing a key on the keyboard. This login technique gives users an additional layer of security. By using the ClassLink Remote Login mobile app, a student does not need to enter their username and password on a computer that they are not comfortable with.

By taking an inclusive approach to login methods, ClassLink gives schools the ability to meet the individual needs of teachers and students. They can empower young students to engage quickly, enable students with special needs to simplify access and make sure that everyone can access what they need on the device they prefer.

Once they’re logged into ClassLink, teachers and students have OneClick® access to a library of applications personalized for everyone. Imagine having the ability to personalize unlimited resources on one screen. And now imagine logging in just one time but accessing all of them. That’s the power of ClassLink.

Offering innovative login solutions is not the only thing that this app does to make educators more efficient. Three additional features are worth mentioning; ClassLink Analytics, ClassLink MyFiles, and ClassLink Roster Server.

ClassLink MyFiles: Students and teachers keep their files in a lot of places. Some save their assignments and files on the school network. Others may choose to store them in the cloud. ClassLink MyFiles provides students and faculty with real-time access to all of their files, regardless of where they are stored...all from one screen. Also, they can share and edit them from the device of their choice, drag and drop from one location to the next. That’s right, you simply drag a file from Google Drive to Dropbox to a school network. Can’t remember where that file is? Just use the search field to look in every location at once.

ClassLink Analytics: For district leaders that are keen on seeing their edtech investments pay off, the analytics tool from ClassLink provides educators with classroom resource utilization data. With this information, educators can make predictions and recognize patterns, as ClassLink Analytics allows them to do a deeper dive into the data, making connections that would be impossible for the average human brain to make. It helps schools understand which resources are receiving the most usage, and which ones are barely being used. Since schools sometimes spend millions of dollars on these resources, ClassLink Analytics can help them decide which ones are worth the continued financial investment.

ClassLink Roster Server: As our dependence on digital materials grows, possessing valid login accounts clustered by class rosters becomes essential for teachers to teach and students to learn. ClassLink Roster Server allows for the smooth delivery of class rosters to all of your digital resources for free. By using a standardized format, the need for time-consuming data entry fades away, and schools and online learning companies save time and money. Imagine being asked to teach to an empty classroom. Without accurate rosters inside your web apps, you’re doing essentially the same thing. ClassLink Roster Server is invisible to teachers and students, but it’s the engine that makes sure their names appear in the apps they’re supposed to. I’d say that’s pretty important.

Final Thoughts

Although we all have all have twenty-four hours in a day, teachers could always use a couple more. And sometimes it feels like these hours have less than sixty minutes in them, especially when you spend 15% of your time just accessing the resources you need. With so much on every teacher’s plate and so many resources at the fingertips of students, efficiency and productivity are the keys to getting unlocking the full potential of digital learning resources in education. By using technologies like ClassLink, schools are not only taking a big step in the right direction, they’re doing it in record time.

What apps or tools do you use to maximize your efficiency and productivity?

The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.