Educational nonprofits face some barriers when reaching their target audiences. Nonprofits, in general, are understandably wary of risk-taking since there are no stock options or investments to fall back on.
Educational nonprofits are in a uniquely complex industry, with educational institutions showing restraint due to regulation and competition. As a result, they must seek out creative ways to reach their audience.
One method for an educational nonprofit to expand its reach is by getting into the classroom remotely through the use of modern technology.
First, why educational nonprofits and technology?
Educational nonprofits strive to help youth who lack exposure to quality learning and career opportunities. Students with limited resources can benefit tremendously from remote classroom access by educational nonprofits. A mere nine percent of children from America’s most low-income families graduate – this is compared to 77 percent from the wealthiest families. The gap is one that nonprofits seek to eliminate.
How educational nonprofits use technology
Virtual classroom connections
Classrooms with limited instructors, either regarding quantity or expertise, can excel when hosting remote speakers. For example, DreamWakers connects classrooms with teachers remotely, to add additional insight. Diverse and dynamic professionals are brought in to provide fresh perspectives and expertise, expanding student’s knowledge and receptiveness to potential future careers.
Organizations like DreamWakers organize “flashchats” that focus on specific curriculums, ranging from core subjects to inspirational testimonials. Real world applications are especially useful, with DreamWakers hosting videos such as “Language Arts in the Real World” and “Art in the Real World.” Many students wonder if what they’re learning will have an impact in the real world; these videos show precisely how they will, providing extra motivation to students.
Educational games are a fantastic way for educational nonprofits to engage students, without making the learning process feel complicated or arduous. DreamWakers, for example, has “DreamBingo!” which combines clips from flashchats with bingo to engage students, so they can compete in a fun way while retaining knowledge regarding real-life applications.
Educational nonprofits can also work with teachers to host in-person activities, such as a graffiti wall where students can write down their dreams and aspirations. The on-site teachers and remote guests can then work together to use information from the game to further interact with students.
Affordable resource for interaction
As many nonprofits face funding challenges, it’s vital that remote classroom access remains affordable. As long as the school and nonprofit work together to set things up, it’s easy to accomplish a live video presentation. All you need is a reliable webcam and a video streaming platform like Skype or Facebook Live. On the school’s side, they can also have a webcam that shows the students, who can ask questions in real time.
Teachers can work with students on a particular subject and have live video lectures bookend the units. For example, a section on social studies can begin with an expert providing an introductory talk on the topic and finish up a few weeks or months later with a final lecture recapping what the students have learned and how they can apply that knowledge in the real world.
The future of remote classroom learning
Remote classroom learning helps students acquire digital citizenship skills and enables them to make smart, safe and ethical decisions online. Educational nonprofits can introduce the internet as a fantastic learning resource for students, now and in their futures. Getting acquainted with technology in a classroom setting, instead of on their own, can encourage students to use technology responsibly and intuitively.
Nonprofits can even use technology like virtual reality to provide students with an immersive learning experience. Kids enjoy cutting-edge technology, so the mere notion of learning with some semblance of virtual reality, such as viewing a 360-degree historical reenactment, can get them interested.
Educational nonprofits have the exciting task of engaging students with technology in a way that simultaneously encourages responsible use of tech and opens doors to new careers by showcasing real-life applications.
Writing for more than five years, Kayla Matthews has contributed to publications like NonProfit PRO, The Nonprofit Hub and Volunteer Match. To read more posts by Kayla, check out her blog, productivitytheory.com.