While history has always had an inevitable influence on the content of education, it has had little impact on its format. Whether riding to school on a horse to being dropped off in an electric car, the learner’s classroom-teacher dynamic has remained relatively unchanged until now. It has taken an international pandemic to thrust children and young adults into an unprecedented world of innovative learning practices that their parents never thought possible. Good or bad, now that they’ve had a taste for it, there’s no turning back.
Many companies stepped up to the challenges that pandemic social distancing imposed on the education sector with innovative ideas that substituted the physical connection between teacher and student with a virtual one. Once such a company took this opportunity to enhance the whole school system with tools and technologies they’d developed for the business sector.
As one of the leaders in innovative multimedia, ViewSonic has developed a range of smart classroom solutions that have virtually replaced the need for face-to-face classroom formats while adding interactive capabilities that enable real-time delivery of enriched content to students logged in from anywhere in the world.
To introduce these cutting-edge solutions to educational institutions in the Middle East, ViewSonic enlisted the help of a local partner, business solutions provider GCG Enterprise Solutions.
An early player at the frontier of digital education (EdTech) in the region, GCG Enterprise Solutions had supported ViewSonic’s smart classroom solutions for some three years, which put them in a propitious position when the pandemic struck in early 2020.
To find out more about the ViewSonic solutions technology and its benefits for education, we spoke to GCG Enterprise Solutions’ resident expert Jameel Mohamed Meeran. As a product manager in GCG for ViewSonic products, Jameel has worked in the AV industry for 11 years in UAE and the MENA region. A techno-commercial engineer with a background in electronics and communication engineering, Jameel’s expertise in visual solutions put him in a great position to take the lead on the ViewSonic brand and, in three years, has been instrumental in the success of many landmark projects for the company such as Sharjah/Abu Dhabi airports, DHA, Crown Prince Court, to name few.
His success comes from adapting quickly to new technologies and creating strategies around them to serve his market needs. When the pandemic hit, it presented an opportunity but also a few challenges.
“GCG Enterprise Solutions has had mixed reactions from the market to the new technology. It’s reasonable that many institutions have neither the will nor the wherewithal to integrate new learning technologies into their current teaching models, both positions coming from a lack of understanding. The truth is that things have changed, and industries that embrace the change will have a distinct competitive advantage. In contrast, others will have to adapt quickly to remain relevant in a rapidly evolving educational system. In our interactions with current clients in the education department, and new clients interested in the tech, we’ve done our best to clear up many of the misconceptions about using digital technology solutions in schools.”
A customer-oriented company, GCG Enterprise Solutions has 40+ years of experience in the UAE market, providing Digital Imaging & Office Services Solutions. As a provider of solutions that make business easier for their clients, the inevitable next step was to integrate digital technologies that brought people closer together in business interests. GCG’s close relationship with ViewSonic in the education sector has to date yielded big projects in the region, including Aldar schools, Al Dhafra schools, AUS and others.
“GCG Enterprise Solutions has a strong pre-sales and post-sales team for ViewSonic’s business. We’re extremely proud of our status as the authorized distributor and Service center for ViewSonic in UAE, so we’ve put a lot into the education sector with dedicated sales offices and service centers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Our team is always on the move, providing on-site demos and proofs-of-concept to the many educational institutions in the region. We offer a complete package of solutions to education institutions, including AI interactive whiteboards, security systems, printing solutions and hardware leasing options.”
The solutions ViewSonic has adapted for the education sector will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the future of learning. Jameel doesn’t shy from the truth in his analysis of the situation, “Covid has impacted a lot in the education sector; it stopped students from going to schools/universities. Students have suffered a lot without the real-life learning experience. And you can’t learn from a PowerPoint. Students need to interact and engage with teachers, who can explain the content and that was missing, even from online platforms like Zoom.”
He explains further that the evolution of the education sector was a hotbed for technological innovation.
“From normal whiteboard to an LED display almost overnight! We’ve improved the technology available to the Education Sector immensely. We are currently at an advanced stage of smart classroom solutions.”
He’s referring to ViewSonic’s wireless mirroring of any smart device to their large format interactive panel, allowing students to share their ideas to the board from the safety of their seats using their personal devices. The company’s highly advanced whiteboard software is not only capable of sharing the screen remotely to student devices, but it can also record copies of the content presented in sessions for sharing at any time. Educators are also able to import written, image and video content at the touch of a button. For security, teachers in the classroom environment have complete control over school-distributed devices, ensuring students only have access to relevant content.
“Our ViewSonic solutions support Distance or Hybrid learning too, moving the teaching from inside the classroom into the hands of the student, anywhere and anytime. Imagine the benefits to a school that no longer has to worry about limiting its numbers of students to the room’s capacity? In an ideal world, that means reducing the fees to be more inclusive while increasing headcounts to balance the books — it’s a win-win!”
A glance at GCG Enterprise Solutions’ social media platforms shows that they’ve been very active in marketing the ViewSonic EdTech solutions with webinars and participation in educational events like GESS (Dubai Education Exhibition and Conference), but what are the next steps going forward?
“Well, as a trend, we’re over distance learning now, I think. I believe many learners have already forgotten what it was like to ‘go to school as usual. We’ve also worked close enough with schools to see that a new, hybrid learning model will soon be the new norm, where a student’s learning experience will include a balance of the home and classroom. With ViewSonic, we’ll continue to focus on the latter, helping our teachers overcome today’s challenges and familiarize themselves with the new technology, so they remain relevant to students’ needs. And while we do that, we’ll develop even more ways to disrupt, enhance and advance the learning experience forever.”
This content has been commercially sponsored by the vendor.