Books will soon be obsolete in the public schools. Scholars will be instructed through the eye.”
— Thomas Edison.
Edison foresaw the future of education while pioneering the development of machines for displaying motion pictures. And the wizard of Menlo Park was right! Today, the traditional classrooms have vividly changed! The green boards are replaced by interactive whiteboards and textbooks are no longer the window of knowledge. Laptops, tablets and teachers have become the facilitators of the digital learning process. Through handheld devices, students have the ability to tap into immense sources of wisdom, take notes on the go, and share their learning with fellow students. This wave of technology is transforming various district schools and colleges. And the blaze of this trend, where education is meeting technology to build a collaborative environment in classrooms, is growing larger in size with each passing day. Against this backdrop of digital transformation, The Chariot Group is injecting the right technologies and tools to foster growth and teamwork in the education sector.
The roots of The Chariot Group can be traced back to 1999 when its founders, Rick and Denise Thomas introduced their audiovisual and interactive solutions for the betterment of the education system. Their
vision was wide—to equip school districts with interactive and visual technologies that enable an evolving teaching technique that lamps students’ understanding and engagement. “We wanted to build a collaborative and productive environment in classrooms by bringing sustainable interactive and multi-media solutions to the table,” reckons Rick, the company’s President and CEO. Today, The Chariot Group has become an eminent vendor in the education arena, bringing cloud-based technologies and collaboration solutions not only as a system integrator but as a trusted advisor. The company takes a holistic view of platforms provided by various manufacturers and successfully implements those solutions within the learning curve of classroom environments.
Shaping the Minds of Tomorrow
Broadening the minds of students demands expanding the walls of the classrooms. To widen the boundaries, The Chariot Group provides platforms built on the fabric of student collaboration and multi-media streaming such as SMART amp and Safari Montage. The intuitive interface and user experience brought by these tools allow students to interact with lessons, content and projects in ways that are natural and authentic. The scope of learning and knowledge sharing through these services is limitless as students can complete projects from anywhere, anytime—be it inside or outside the classroom and on any device.
There is a common trend seen across district schools wherein students collaborate and keep ideas alive by writing them down on various surfaces such as sticky notes, flip charts, etc. All the efforts could be for naught if the paper goes missing or if the students run out of physical space to display their ideas. To help students avoid such scenarios, The Chariot Group has kept a vigilant eye on emerging technologies such as Nureva, whose cloud based platform, Span, eliminates the traditional methods to foster a theme of teamwork and collaboration in classrooms. Span builds a wall of virtualized information on an expansive canvas. “With the Span Ideation system, anyone can add notes on the canvas—powered by a panoramic projector—in real-time, either manually or through their laptops,” says Rick. “It allows students to keep all the intuitions, animated thoughts, ideas, and objectives under the umbrella of one platform,” he adds. Content can be created, organized, deleted or shared through mobile devices— all these factors are instrumental for
efficient brainstorming and teamwork sessions.
The Chariot Group offers solutions that support alternate modes of education that cover more than just writing, reading or the daily drills of memorizing equations and formulas. Keeping in mind how a student can become overwhelmed by information in a lecture, easily miss a class or need clarification on a subject, the company provides a video platform solution, Mediasite by Sonic Foundry [NASDAQ: SOFO]. Mediasite is known for video capturing, management and webcasting solutions in education, business and government. This platform provides benefits of visual learning by allowing teachers and students to record lectures, seminars, events, or flipped classes in real-time. Later these video libraries can be published, managed, searched or shared.
While integrating their solutions into the school environment, the company pays keen attention to what its clients—school districts and educators—require, sharing their client’s concerns with manufacturers in order to help identify the most relevant solutions. In one such instance, a remote school district that was incurring high expenses for internet connection over satellite approached The Chariot Group for a recommendation to deliver an effective and affordable solution for learning outcomes. “We used SAFARI Montage to mitigate the bandwidth issue and enabled the remote district to access rich media content
in HD resolution,” says Rick. “This substantially improved the productivity of the existing bandwidth, thereby reducing the need for additional expenditures while enhancing instruction and enabling mobility.”
Building a Better Future
The Chariot Group takes immense pride in making a difference in student’s lives—who are the torchbearers of tomorrow. “There needs to be a collective effort amongst school administrators and solution providers to deploy technology and innovation to reduce the gaps between teachers and students and drive the young generation in the right direction,” says Rick. However, many educational institutions and schools often deal with the problem of choosing the befitting tools from the pool of countless applications and platforms that promise the same outcomes. “We keep ourselves distant from these shiny, new technologies that are good only on surface but incompetent and hollow on the inside, as they can cripple a school’s mission to bring significant changes in the education sector,” adds Rick. Before considering new technologies,
The Chariot Group assesses them to measure their capabilities and prowess to bring long term success in the sector. Here the company implements their PPC model, an acronym for Patience, Persistence, and Consistency. This methodology is the symbol of being patient in the journey, and highlights the importance of remaining consistent towards achieving its goals.
The prediction of the education sector’s future gives the world a glimpse into the genius of Edison’s mind. As he invented the bulb to illuminate the corners of the world, the technologies built on the roots of his inventions are brightening the minds of the younger generation. The Chariot Group is geared up to discover innovative solutions and platforms so that the spark in students’ minds can be transformed into a blaze of immense knowledge
This article first appeared in the July 2016 issue of STRIVE magazine.