BigBlueButton World 2024  |  June 25th – 27th

How K12 is different from Higher Education

In Canada, we sometimes dare to claim that our education system is one of the best in the world. But is that really true? The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) investigated the fact and found that Canada has indeed risen significantly in this area in recent years. In the international PISA tests, Canada is in the top 10 for no less than three subjects: math, science and reading. Our children can thus effortlessly compete with our neighboring country, the United States, and with Central European countries.

Let Us Continue Along the Path We’ve Taken

We learn from the OECD study that we have a good education system, but that does not mean we should rest on our laurels. On the contrary, we must continue our efforts so that Canada can maintain that top position and employ well-educated young people who can hope for a promising future. More than that, this is imperative now that the COVID-19 crisis has rocked the education system. Those who still doubted in recent years whether it made sense to introduce online education as an alternative to physical schools and classrooms were forced to make the switch. Skeptics were confronted with the inevitable truth: if you use online education well, it’s just as effective as the traditional classroom system.

We can answer the question of whether online education is a valid option with a resounding, yes. But are all online classroom software packages equally effective? Some of our potential customers ask us if our solution is good for K12. It absolutely is! About as many of our prospects want to know if BigBlueButton is a smart choice for Higher Education. No doubt about it!

BigBlueButton Functions to Effectively and Efficiently Deliver Online Courses for Level K12

  • First and foremost, the teacher must easily design responsive online lessons and courses for multiple students with varying levels of knowledge
  • The teacher must track results and smoothly enter them in their report to school administrators. The latter must access them, evaluate the students’ performances, and finally archive the documents easily.
  • A teacher needs templates to design their lessons quickly.
  • Because children in K12 go through different age stages, the solution  must offer the possibility to customize the online lessons. It is a plus if these can also be adapted to a school’s needs.
  • The online classroom software must be sufficiently accessible and easy to use. 
  • Students from kindergarten level to the age of 17 to 18 need interactive elements such as assessments and quizzes. They must have the opportunity to work individually, in a plenary setting with all their classmates and in small groups using the breakout room function.
  • The various functions must be intuitive and present in the relevant environments so that the teacher can address them swiftly.
  • An online tool for courses should allow the uploading of presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint or at least in an equivalent free software such as LibreOffice (BigBluButton supports PDF format too).
  • Linkage to an LMS system should be possible, as well as integrations such as Docebo for experiential learning, IServ, the Moodle activity module, Schoology, Canvas and WordPress.

BigBlueButton Offers the Functionalities Required to deliver Online Courses at the Higher Education Level

A powerful and versatile system, such as BigBLueButton meets all the above-mentioned requirements for online courses at the K12 level.

Certainly, the very youngest students who are just learning to read, write and count have different needs than students who have chosen a well-considered field of study and want to be prepared for their future profession. However, most preschoolers are finding their way around electronic devices just as well as older kids, and they’re tapping away on their tablets or portables as if they’ve never done anything else. It is no exception that they are outpacing older students as well as their parents in this area. This trend was predicted in the 1980s with the emergence of the first personal computers. Indeed, it was noticed from the beginning of this millennium.

The surprising finding

The BigBlueButton online classroom is an excellent system for teaching online courses for both K12 and Higher Education. With features such as smart slides, screen sharing, multi-user whiteboard, chat, quick poll and more, K12 teachers as well as university professors have everything they need to convey their lessons. The main difference is that teachers are likely to use different software features for different age groups.Sometimes, a particular function may not be covered as often in a specific age stage but may come back later. BigBlueButton can be used for students of all ages and as a WCAG accessibility product, offers a functional, inclusive  platform. 

The only exceptions to this may be the gymnasium and the chemistry room – but we have solutions for these classes as well:

  • To ensure that children and students get the exercise they need, apps can track sports performance via GPS.
  • As for the chemistry classroom, we honestly doubt that we will ever convert a Bunsen burner and a series of Erlenmeyer flasks into binary code. However, nothing needs to keep a teacher from strategically placing their webcam in the school’s laboratory to give their lesson and document it by live experiments. Moreover, YouTube demonstrations and 3D animations already exist to further provide an immersive experience for the children. They will be able to follow how an experiment in a laboratory proceeds, what elements it requires and what the results are.