Sanako is a Finnish Educational Tech company helping schools and language teachers to improve language teaching efficiency and results.
Although in Michael Morpungo’s famous quote “It's the teacher that makes the difference, not the classroom”, every classroom environment undoubtedly has a significant impact on the teaching and learning that occurs within it. At their core, each classroom is a mini-communications system, facilitating a conversation between educators and students.
As the world of education (and language teaching) moves increasingly towards online delivery, educators and institutions are increasingly aware that physical and virtual classrooms enable and deliver such dialogue in very different ways. This blog post, therefore, aims to explain the concept behind the virtual classroom, the benefits it can deliver and highlights why Sanako’s virtual classroom software can be considered the ultimate virtual classroom for language teachers.
What is a virtual classroom?
The term ‘virtual classroom’ commonly refers to an online learning environment that connects teachers and students in real-time from any location. It allows teachers and students to communicate and collaborate and aims to replicate the experience of a physical classroom in an online environment.
Virtual classrooms are typically cloud-based solutions (see Sanako’s blog post on the benefits of cloud-based learning solutions) which can be accessed by all participants/users wherever and whenever they need. Such virtual classroom environments facilitate student workgroups, enhance interaction between students and their educators and allow the online delivery of the widest range of lessons/teaching materials.
6 key benefits of using a virtual classroom
With online and physical Sanako language teaching products supporting customers in 114 countries and +50,000 classrooms globally, Sanako has an extensive understanding of the benefits that institutions and educators identify from using virtual classrooms. The main benefits they find are:1. Virtual classroom creates flexibility and freedom: Virtual classrooms enable teachers to deliver live online classes and provide resources for students to work through in their own time. Students have the freedom to complete their work whenever and wherever they want. This often means that educators face fewer distractions as well.
2. Virtual classrooms are scalable: Importantly, the virtual classroom is highly customizable and can be easily tailored to suit individual settings or institutions. Virtual classroom products such as Sanako Connect can be easily expanded to include additional educators or students at short notice.
3. Improved student engagement: Accessing resources online enables students to repeatedly review learning materials to ensure that they fully understand the topic in question. Online delivery also allows them to receive immediate feedback on tests they have done as well as receiving timely feedback (written and oral) from their teachers.
4. Reduced cost for schools/universities - Using a virtual classroom reduces the cost of travel for students but also helps save the institution money too. There’s no need to maintain and manage a physical classroom space and 100% digital course materials can be easily and quickly made available to all students
5. Improved digital skills - As well as learning their target language, students will also be building up their digital skills as they regularly access their virtual classroom environments. They’ll quickly become increasingly competent at using a wide range of interactive tools and technologies such as online tests, online whiteboards, video presentations, collaboration tools, and digital learning materials.
6. Virtual classrooms are great for language learning! The virtual classroom environment enables students to maximize the opportunities to demonstrate and practice their core language skills. A virtual classroom can also help and support educators with their lesson planning/preparation and significantly enhances their feedback and assessment of student performance.
Introducing Sanako Connect - the ultimate virtual classroom for language teachers
Buying a virtual classroom environment is a big decision for every language teaching institution. It’s important therefore to select a product that’s been specifically developed for language teaching, with language educators involved at every stage of the process. Generic LMS solutions and general video-conferencing platforms have not been built with language learning in mind. In comparison, Sanako Connect has been developed through close collaboration with professional language educators.
As an online cloud-based system for online language teaching and learning, Sanako Connect facilitates language acquisition wherever and whenever teaching is delivered. It also:
- Gives educators the flexibility to deliver onsite, online, synchronous, and asynchronous teaching all in the same solution.
- Incorporates all the benefits of a language laboratory yet is accessible from anywhere using laptops, Chromebooks, or tablets.
- Helps educators to collect, review and give feedback on students’ audio recordings and can work in real-time or via downloaded files.
- Can be used to practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills as well as for specific professional training for translators and interpreters.