Some common themes are emerging as educational technology companies address the COVID-19 pandemic: support existing customers as they try to establish or expand digital learning environments, offer all educators and parents access to free content and work collaboratively to share information and tools.
Cambium Learning chief marketing officer John Jorgenson said Cambium is reaching out to customers on a one-to-one basis to see what individual challenges they can assist them with as schools approach their situations in different ways. Cambium is providing teachers with strategies and tips, including via webinar, to explain how to set up virtual instruction and how distance learning is different than what they have been doing. Some Cambium products are being made available free to anyone who needs them.
Stuart Udell, CEO of the differentiated instruction provider Achieve3000 (Lakewood, NJ), said that company added 1.6 million users to its platform in the weeks following making free product available and continues to add users.
As much free content is made available, Udell said companies that can demonstrate that their products were not just downloaded but were used and were effective for student learning likely will emerge as the winners from the current situation.
Scientific Learning CEO Jeffrey Thomas said customers theoretically still are open for business even if school buildings are closed, but school business activity ranges from business as usual to non-responsive.
“We are modifying our approach, for example, offering free software, specifically Reading Assistant Plus, to schools that need this tool (repositioned as an independent reading practice program) for their remote learning,” Thomas said. “This has resulted in a large number of pilots that we hope can be converted to paying customers later in the year.”
Florida Virtual School, an accredited, public, elearning school serving students in grades K-12 online in Florida and globally, is offering help during the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of 100 free online courses, teacher training for those transitioning to remote learning and a new Online Learning Community launched to support parents and K-12 educators, including administrators who wish to start or enhance an online program and teachers new to teaching online.
Chief operations officer Sam Verghese said FLVS still sees its mission as delivering high-quality, technology-based education that provides knowledge and skills to students for their future success, even if how that plays out has shifted and expanded some amid COVID-19.
The Simba Information newsletters, Educational Marketer and Electronic Education Report are sharing news free about the virus-related changes in the K-12 and higher education markets and the companies that serve them. Simba invites you to contact Kathy Mickey, [email protected], and Karen Meaney, [email protected] to ask us questions and share your insight.