Students want to belong to communities in their schools now more than ever. This helps with their social development and with their learning.
How Pronto Helped Schools Survive the Pandemic
The pandemic affected everyone. Schools adjusted by switching to remote settings. Pronto made it easier for these schools to keep everyone connected.
7 min read
The Covid-19 pandemic meant an immense shift for schools for all ages, from elementary schools to colleges and universities. Instructors had to pivot rapidly as they made a shift to a socially-distanced model. Even as some schools resumed in-person learning, kept their students online, encouraging remote connection and learning.
College enrollment levels dropped. Students faced unprecedented challenges in continuing their education, from difficulties making remote connections to challenges as they struggled to keep up with their schoolwork in a time of rising depression and anxiety. Many colleges struggled with financial challenges as enrollment dropped.
Pronto, however, has helped many schools successfully survive the pandemic--and even offered tools that have helped many students and professors alike thrive even in a unique virtual setting.
Pronto offered a valuable resource that helped schools shift online.
Many teachers and professors found themselves struggling to reinvent the wheel--or at least the online classroom--when the pandemic hit. As their students shifted seemingly overnight from in-person instruction to a virtual environment, teachers had to make use of the tools available to them in an effort to connect their students and provide them with much-needed learning and support while still keeping everyone safe at home.
Pronto, thankfully, had the tools students and their instructors needed most on an intuitive platform that utilized the devices many students already had at home.
Virtual Classroom Sessions
Virtual classroom sessions are one of the critical pieces of the online learning puzzle. Through online sessions, students are able to listen to their instructors provide vital lessons, from how to complete specific types of math problems to how to break down the themes of the latest book they're supposed to be reading. On Pronto, virtual classroom sessions are simple. Teachers can provide whole-class instruction that invites those students who are present in class to participate actively. For students who are not able to make it to class at a specific time, recordings can make it almost like being there--complete with the answers to other students' questions and the materials they were able to provide.
Easy Connection to Instructors
In the classroom, students have easy access to their instructors. They can simply walk up to them and ask questions before or after class. They can ask questions during classroom discussions. In a virtual environment, however, it can feel much more difficult to approach professors, especially if those communication methods haven't been made clear.
Pronto, on the other hand, makes it simple. Students can easily message their professors for the answers to any questions they might have, whether they have questions about the day's lesson, an assignment, or an extension. Instructors can then respond quickly to those students. Even better, if the question is a more in-depth one or would benefit from a face-to-face discussion, professors can hold one-on-one video chat sessions with their students, which can help improve student learning and give them the opportunity to ask critical questions.
Quick Access to Resources
In addition to providing access to instructors, Pronto makes it easy to connect students to the resources they need. In a virtual classroom, teachers can't just pass around packets or documents. They can, however, attach those documents within the virtual environment. Pronto integrates effectively with many of the document storage solutions students and teachers are already using and makes it easy to connect documents to most communications, so students will continue to have access to the resources they need at their fingertips.
In the classroom, giving students assignments is as easy as writing them up on the board or passing out the assignment. In a virtual environment, however, it can prove much more difficult for students to keep up with all the tasks on their list--especially if they're struggling with high-stress levels or anxiety (problems that have risen throughout the pandemic). In Pronto, instructors can easily create To-Do lists to assign specific tasks to students, including attaching documents to those task lists, so that students can more easily keep up with the tasks they need to accomplish.
Pronto helps connect students to one another.
Emotional connection: for college students, that social aspect of school is almost as important as the academic learning they have the opportunity to take in. Unfortunately, the challenges of the pandemic made it very difficult for many college students to connect with their peers. Due to the high level of isolation throughout the pandemic, many students found themselves missing opportunities to connect with one another.
Through Pronto, however, students were able to enhance that vital sense of connection--both in regard to vital classroom connection and in regard to private discussions.
Learning how to collaborate effectively with peers is a vital part of the education process. Many instructors rely on group work to help improve those vital skills in their students: encouraging them to work together, benefit from one another's experience, and build on one another's contributions. Pronto offers several strategies that can help enhance group work opportunities.
First, students can be placed into Groups, where they can collaborate on their specific projects without messages and content going to other students. The group setup makes it easy for students to chat or to work asynchronously on their projects, which allows them to contribute as their personal schedules allow--a challenge that has become even more difficult to manage during the pandemic.
Second, Pronto allows students to get together for virtual meetings just like they could with their instructors during virtual classroom sessions. Those meetings allow them to work in real-time on their assignments, answering one another's questions and providing support. Those collaborative sessions can help enhance creativity and problem-solving as well as helping many students feel more confident about the material they have learned.
Often, students provide almost as much academic support to one another as they receive from their professors. Sometimes, students are simply more comfortable asking questions of a peer. Other times, the peer may feel generally more accessible, especially if the student cannot connect with a professor directly or come in during office hours.
With Pronto, it's not just professors that can provide the answers to questions. Students can consult with one another on everything from clarification about an assignment to difficulty understanding a specific point--and the ongoing chat can make it simple for whoever is available and able to provide a response to do so. Not only does that take some of the pressure off the professor, in general, it can also help enhance student confidence and connection to one another.
One of the biggest challenges many students have faced during the pandemic is loneliness. Some students chose to go home and continue to learn online, making it difficult for them to connect with people and resources still on campus. Others choose to learn in a primarily virtual environment while still isolated from their families. They might have chosen to stay in on-campus apartments. They might have moved into dorms but found themselves without many of the social outlets they expected from the college experience.
While Pronto cannot replace in-person gatherings, it can offer a much-needed source of social connection for many students. Not only can students use Pronto to chat about their academic challenges and needs, but they can also use it to engage in off-topic chat with one another. They can share memes, look for advice, and connect--all of which can help enhance their overall academic success. Thanks to Pronto, many students have felt less isolated and better connected during the pandemic, even when they couldn't get out to connect in person.
Pronto continues to help connect students and instructors to vital resources.
Due to the pandemic, many college students are having a very abnormal college experience. They aren't able to visit campus in person, or they aren't attending the same activities and assemblies they might have attended pre-pandemic. As a result, they are missing out on critical information about the resources available to help them:
- Tutoring opportunities
- Paper reviews
- Mental health services
- Physical health services
- Free rides or escorts on campus for people who feel uncomfortable
Whether students are in need of mental health services or need to know more about the resources available to help them academically--especially if pandemic-related grade drops have left them struggling--Pronto makes it easier for students to find out about those resources. Professors can easily connect their students to those much-needed solutions and resources, making it easier for them to get the help they need, when they need it.
Can Pronto Help Your School?
The last few educational years have been very different from traditional years. They have brought unique challenges and unique twists and turns that have, in many cases, permanently changed the way educators and institutions alike approach the educational process. During the pandemic, Pronto has provided immense support for many academic institutions, serving as a profound resource that has helped many of those schools survive.
Can Pronto help your institution, as well? Contact us for a demonstration.