Back to School with Blackboard Collaborate

Blog Post created by carl.marrelli on Aug 5, 2015

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was back to school shopping.  My parents would take us to the supermarket and office supply stores to pick out our school supplies.  In those days we had a list printed on paper (no smart devices).  We'd check off each item the old fashioned way.  It was also a lot of fun to rack up the "Apples for the Students" points by saving our Giant grocery receipts!! (seriously, watch that video)  And best of all was shopping for backpacks to give away to those in need.


Two items I particularly enjoyed getting were notebooks and the ever inspiring multi-colored pen.  There is nothing quite like opening a fresh composition book for the first time.  As an eager student, my excitement while purchasing composition books could be summed up with one word.  I think it's a word that describes the sentiment of bright minds across the world around this time of year. 




It's Back to School time here at Blackboard, too.  And while my kids are not quite old enough for me to re-live getting school supplies, I'm still excited about the possibilities this season promises for the teachers, learners and technology enthusiasts dedicated to reimagining education.  This one word defines my outlook as we head back to school with Blackboard Collaborate w/ Ultra experience.


I think of the estimated 1.5+ million K-12 learners who will engage in online learning this school year.  How delightful will it be for them to experience digital learning sessions entirely in their web browser?!  To converse with their peers and teachers virtually, on any device, in high definition video?!


I think of my aunt who taught Italian at 3 different community colleges in her area.  How many more students in the community college system could learn this beautiful language by providing her class online?  And what if she brought in some relatives in Italy speaking with different accents as guest speakers?  And how about students recording themselves as they practice the language?


I think of parents who travel for work, or perhaps work the night shift who can help their kids with homework on a shared screen while away from the home.  Or just have fun goofing off on a video conference while away!  Or perhaps connecting with their kid's teacher virtually if they are away for the previously scheduled parent-teacher conference.


I think of system administrators preparing for the demands posed by back to school.  System upgrades, rolling out new technologies, supporting every device!  I think about how much better we can make it for them by deeply integrating with a wide array of learning systems, embracing open standards, and providing an always-on web conferencing service.


I think of district leaders preparing to equip teachers with the training they desire to incorporate new technologies into their classroom and curriculum.  How much better for the education system as a whole when districts save over $1.3M by virtualizing professional development?!  And how much more we can reach the learner by utilizing the technology they love when our teachers are empowered to leverage such great tools!


I will appreciate hearing what you are thinking about as you head back to school with Collaborate, or your favorite back to school purchase as a kid!