(BigStock Photo)

The shift to distant studying through the COVID-19 pandemic brought on loads of technological complications for households and educators. But one massive firm and one small one present a glimpse into how some tech services and products had been supposed to ease the burden of on-line training and finally assist with the return to open faculties.

As faculties in Seattle ready to reopen earlier this spring, Qualtrics, the expertise administration software program firm with a big presence within the metropolis, was behind tech used to survey households about studying preferences.

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Meanwhile, Screencast-O-Matic, a small Seattle firm that gives a display screen seize and video enhancing platform, noticed demand for its merchandise skyrocket because it provided an alternative choice to Zoom requires classes, shows and extra.

The pandemic’s training disruption proved to be significantly profitable for training expertise firms in 2020, in line with EdSurge.

When Seattle Public Schools despatched an “Intent to Return to In-Person” survey to households in April, the tech was powered by Qualtrics. SPS was searching for details about scholar enrollment plans for the rest of the varsity yr and sought to study why some households selected 100% distant or hybrid (part-time in individual and part-time distant) instruction. The intent was to assist plan for onsite assets throughout the district.

Founded in 2002 in Provo, Utah, Qualtrics was acquired by SAP in 2018 after which spun out as a public firm earlier this yr, elevating $1.55 billion in an preliminary public providing. The firm is co-headquartered in Seattle, the place it has about 800 of its 3,300 workers, and had income of $763 million in 2020.

Businesses use Qualtrics’ platform to gather information on how clients, workers and others expertise their services and products, taking motion based mostly on the outcomes.

Qualtrics has powered surveys for faculties through the pandemic, for things like symptom checking and speak to tracing. (Qualtrics Image)

Working with educators is a vital a part of the $16 billion firm’s enterprise. It now works with over 600 college districts in North America and greater than 25 in Washington state.

“Our mission on the Qualtrics education team is to help school and district leaders deliver the best experiences for students, families, faculty, and staff,” Omar Garriott, world business chief for training at Qualtrics, advised GeekWire.

That’s been particularly related through the pandemic for things like symptom checking, contact tracing, and scholar/workers/resident well-being. Qualtrics created a “Return to Learn Hub” with assets to assist directors make data-driven choices to create a safer studying setting.

“We saw schools use these check-ins to quickly understand issues with virtual learning, in addition to gauging how they felt about physically returning to school,” Garriott mentioned.

Beyond Seattle, different Washington districts utilizing Qualtrics embrace:

  • Vancouver Public Schools: to assist navigate funds cuts and suggestions from dad and mom through the pandemic.
  • Bellingham Public Schools: for highschool seniors and alumni engagement, and likewise digitizing and automating workflows throughout departments as workers labored remotely throughout COVID.
  • Mead School District: to stop publicity and transmission utilizing each day symptom examine evaluation.
  • Edmonds School District: to assemble data and suggestions from college students and households going into the varsity yr. Additionally, Qualtrics’ translation capabilities have considerably improved the flexibility to interact with the non-English-speaking households within the district.

Garriott mentioned many faculties hear about Qualtrics by way of phrase of mouth, usually from neighboring faculties or districts, or particular leaders which have used Qualtrics in earlier roles. The firm additionally reached out to colleges when it launched the Return to Learn Hub.

(Screencast-O-Matic Image)

Founded in 2006, Screencast-O-Matic’s mantra is that video simplifies communication, and it simplifies how movies get created.

The firm has at all times counted faculties amongst its main clients, so academics and college students might create movies and have a extra productive studying expertise. The pandemic simply accelerated utilization throughout all the training ecosystem.

Screencast-O-Matic, which employs fewer than 50 folks, noticed an 825% progress in site visitors on the top of the pandemic and has reached greater than 11 million customers in 190 international locations.

“When the pandemic hit, we experienced a very large increase in demand globally, starting with Italy and spreading rapidly,” founder and CEO Matt Champagne mentioned. “We are a small company and, although used by millions globally, we were not at all prepared for the type of increased usage and emergency deployments needed by teachers, schools, districts, and universities.”

To tackle this distinctive setting, Screencast-O-Matic fully shifted its focus to operations and serving the market want, together with:

  • Increased information heart and companion api capability
  • Increased help staff capability
  • Put non-essential hiring on maintain to concentrate on operations
  • Put a lot of its product improvement roadmap on maintain to concentrate on operations
  • Changed its help mannequin to supply extra direct help and onboarding
  • A free model of its merchandise was already accessible, and through the disaster, when requested, offered paid plans without spending a dime. Many faculties weren’t capable of get approval for brand spanking new purchases through the emergency.

“It was an incredibly intense time for the team, but we also felt like we needed to shift our growth plans to help customers deal with the new remote environment with easy-to-use and easy-to-access tools,” Champagne added.

Some of the colleges utilizing Screencast-O-Matic tech embrace Seattle Public Schools, University of Washington Law School, UW iSchool, Washington State University, Bellingham Public Schools, Renton Technical College and extra.