We can thank our lucky stars for having advanced technology at our fingertips during the pandemic, making our lives somewhat easier working from home or learning remotely. But the academic sector has had it hard; keeping teenage students engaged for long periods of time away from the classroom, missing pivotal exams, and not to mention missing out on workplace experience.
Many school and college teachers have been prematurely forced into finding creative ways to keep students engaged remotely, and all of the above. It comes as no surprise that schools are taking a close look at alternative teaching methods to achieve the best learning outcomes. Virtual labs have become a new-found best buddy in and out the classroom for many K12 schools, and we think they are here for the long haul.
In this blog, we uncover the main reasons why technology teachers are using virtual live labs to support classroom learning.
- To spark students’ interest
Every teacher dreams of seeing their students engaged, brimming with enthusiasm. High levels of engagement will increase the learning experience. We all know that class participation gets results. Using virtual labs will not only ignite students’ interest, but many computer literacy teachers rely on live labs as a visual aide in the classroom or via screen share on a video call.
- For guaranteed experiential learning
Students will have missed out on any workplace learning during 2020/2021, but virtual labs can be used to act out real workplace scenarios. In addition, they can practice, experiment, mess up, and start over. Take Linux as an example. A student can practice and experiment for themselves how to install Linux OS and manage software and patches in their own time, from home or in the classroom. Set them the task from home, and see the smile on their face when they tell you how they get on.
- To eliminate risks to school software and hardware
Technology education departments use live lab technology to stay up-to-speed with new technologies and introduce learners to software and hardware without compromising school-critical systems. A live lab environment is safe and risk-free to allow students to practice and make mistakes. After each task they perform, they can wipe the slate clean and start over.
- To save on investing in and upgrading kit
Buying hardware and software for students to gain the practical know-how is costly and resource-draining for educators. It’s time consuming to build and maintain their own live lab environments, made even more difficult by the ever-changing face of technology. This is why teachers and instructors turn to virtual lab providers as an affordable alternative, removing all of these issues.
- So they can keep up with evolving technology
Outsourcing a virtual lab solution will put schools ahead of technology. Providers will only use the latest devices, software and hardware so schools need not worry.
- There’s no limit on student access
It doesn’t matter how long or how many times a student needs to practice to reach their ‘perfect’, as there is no cap.
- To cater for varying learning abilities
Schools can choose to have access to all topics, such as Linux Operating Systems, Windows 10, Azure Cloud and Microsoft Office. Teachers can easily differentiate their education programs to suit the individual needs of their students.
- For lifelong digital skills and career preparation
Practical learning paves the way for a career in technology advancing to cybersecurity, networking, or cloud-computing. Live labs can also help students develop their early digital skills such as carrying out practical tasks in Microsoft Office. It’s not all about getting a career in IT.
- To compete in cyber competitions and cybercamps
Schools love a challenge, and when it comes to cyber competitions they need the best tools possible to claim the winning spot. Virtual Labs have been known to help high schools compete in cyber competitions, such as the Air Force Associations Cyber Patriot Competition. Cyber specific, attack and defend style labs enable youths to hone their security skills and ensure they are 100 per cent ready to contend, and win!
- For an affordable pricing package
Committing to any new resource for multiple students can mount up when you want to help every student. Some providers offer tailored pricing packages that are affordable and suit the specific needs of the school.
About Practice Labs
Practice Labs improves the odds of success with an experiential learning platform where learners gain hands-on IT skills within a safe, live environment and can prove their proficiency to assessors and employers.
Learners access the live Practice Labs Environment via web browser and use actual hardware and software, providing them with a way to gain virtual work experience and increase their chances of success.
The Practice Labs solution consists of live, not simulated, IT Practice Labs aligned with certifications from leading vendors such as CompTIA, Microsoft, Cisco and VMware. Practice Labs Systems Limited build and deliver skill-based labs too, working with subject matter experts in key topics such as cybersecurity, cloud-based technologies, operating systems, system administration, IT infrastructure and digital literacy.