COVID-19 has brought about a near unprecedented level of disruption to all industries. Not since the SARs epidemic in 2013 has a virus stirred up so much chaos in so little time. In Singapore, all mass gatherings, tuition centres, religious congregations, bars and entertainment venues have been suspended. Meanwhile, attractions, malls, private celebrations and funerals are operating on strict limitations.
Disruption is here
Businesses that rely heavily on face to face interactions with groups of consumers have been impacted the most. In particular, the tuition and enrichment industry has been hard hit with a ban on all physical classes. This has challenged them to be flexible, creative and innovative with creating alternative channels for their services.
Help is here
If you are scrambling to find technologies to help take your lessons online, or communication tools to facilitate your team’s work processes, then this article is for you. In it, we have compiled the latest collaborative apps and resources available on the market in 2020.
Tools for Video Conferencing & Collaboration
Google Teach From Home
If you are a tutor or an instructor who primarily relied on in-person classes, then listen up. Recognising the need for you to quickly transition from in person classes to digital products, Google has set up Teach From Home, “a temporary hub of information and tools to help teachers during the COVID-19 crisis”.
Teach From Home is your one-stop guide to using all of Google’s interactive tools to bring your lessons online. It includes tutorials to help you scale up your online lesson infrastructure.
Looking to do a 1 to many video call with your class? Try Hangouts Meet, Audience Q&A in Slides as well as Google live streaming. With these apps, you can conduct classes from the confines of your home with no additional cost – except for Google live streaming which requires a G Suite Enterprise account.
- Google Hangouts is a video conferencing app that allows you and another 29 of your students to quickly hop into a single video conference call. Fast and lightweight with smart participant management, you can se set up meetings and invite your students with a single link.
- Slides is a great way to provide visual aids & references for your students while you teach. What is even better is its Q&A session capability. Have your students submit their questions and vote on answers for a truly interactive lesson.
- Live streaming allows you to add up to 100,000 people on a view-only live stream.
Want to have your students complete assignments, take quizzes or collaborate in real time? Then consider using Google Classroom, Google Forms and Google Docs.
- Google Classroom helps to simplify the creation, distribution and grading of assignments in a paperless fashion.
- Google Forms is a lightweight solution for quizzes and assignments. The questions are simple to create and can be customised for different formats – e.g. true or false, MCQ, check, open ended and more.
- Google docs is a hassle-free collaboration tool that allows your students to input their thoughts all at once. Get real time feedback and class activities facilitated here.
Skype as an Alternative Tool
Looking for alternative video conferencing tools to Google? Then try Skype.
Skype has been a predominant favourite in Asia, owing to its reliability and ease of use. As a bonus, most people would be familiar with Skype given its wide level of adoption among personal consumers.
For those seeking more heavy-duty functions, Skype, being a Microsoft Product, it boasts best in class features under its Microsoft Teams (formerly known as Skype for Business) feature. Be it messaging, video conferencing, calling or document collaboration, Microsoft Teams can do it all, creating exciting new ways of working.
Are you dealing with a highly abstract topic that requires real time visual aid creation in order so bring your ideas across? If so then consider Baiboard, a free to use virtual whiteboard that is akin to covering a lesson on a blank piece of paper with a student. With Baiboard, you get a simultaneously editable and flexible canvas. The true value lies in its lightweight approach that you and your audience to draw, scribble or write on a single canvas.
The only catch with Baiboard is that you will require an iPad or tablet of sorts, while each canvas is limited to 40 participants at any one time.
Are you looking to create lessons in advance and allow your audience to access them at any time on an unlimited basis? If so, a screen recorder tool would be greatly beneficial to you. Consider Screencast-o-matic which offers both a free and premium version. With it you can:
- Record work on your screen
- Use your webcam to capture your surroundings
- Narrate with your voice
- Customise videos with zoom, text, images and captioning tools
On the Screencast-o-matic’s website, you will also find specific solutions for developers, businesses and educators.
Group Video Collaboration
If you have teams in remote locations looking to hop online for collaboration meetings, then having individual web cams for each person can be problematic. With a large number of users, it can get potentially tricky to coordinate each person’s turn. As such, it is recommended instead to install wide angle conference cams and expansion mics in rooms.
One such solution would be Logitech’s MEETUP, RALLY & RALLY PLUS solutions. These video conference solutions are lightweight, easy to install and offer great utility for their price. Find out more about their products from their authorised distributor in Singapore, Versatech Systems.
Informing & Guiding your Audience
Once you have determined how to proceed with setting up all infrastructure for your digital products & services, it is now time to disseminate it to your consumers. Consider having a dedicated landing page that contains all links to the relevant technologies that you require your audience to install. Furthermore, have all materials within easy access on or from this page.
For audiences, the sudden shift to an online model could be a shock and frustrating experience. As such it is critical that you make the transition as smooth as possible. Your landing page should be organized and user friendly, giving audiences the information that they need without effort on their part.
Need advice on how you can have all information and experiences neatly arranged on your website? Consider getting in touch with our web design Singapore services. We ensure that your audiences will receive a positive experience and a smooth transition to your digital platforms.
Furthermore, consider disseminating all updates to your audiences via both email & social media channels. This gives everyone advance notice of the changes and an easy to refer communication channel should they wish to get onboard at a later point.
Why We Care
As you have probably already felt, COVID-19 has brought about unprecedented challenges to SMEs. The grim economic forecasts are only matched by ever more unpredictable changes in the business environment.
In this difficult time, we wish to let you know that you are not alone. Why? Because as a fellow SME, we are keen to help.
With the ever increasing need to observe social distancing, self-quarantine and safety precautions, we foresee that digital will become an ever more critical part of your business’s continuity plan.
We here at Mediaplus Digital are on standby to advise you on how you may proceed digitally within these turbulent times.
Get in touch with us today and let us see how we can overcome this crisis together.