Education Thought Leadership

‘Let’s Reimagine Education Together’: Lessons and Learnings From Zoom Academy 2021

Our speakers at Zoom Academy 2021 shared their ideas for thriving in a post-pandemic hybrid environment and lessons from the past 18 months.
5 min read

Updated on January 05, 2023

Published on August 19, 2021

Zoom Academy Recap

Summer is almost over, and educators everywhere are preparing to make their return to the classroom. But what do those classrooms look like, and how can educators help students adapt to new and more flexible learning experiences?

Our second annual Zoom Academy brought together over 5,500 educators, IT professionals, and administrators around the world to talk about these differences and prepare for a future that is constantly in flux. Our speakers shared their ideas for thriving in a post-pandemic hybrid environment, and attendees chatted with each other about what they’ve learned from the past 18 months.

What it takes to build a ‘moonshot classroom’

We were honored to welcome Esther Wojcicki, educator, journalist, and author of the book “Moonshots in Education,” for our virtual keynote. Wojcicki discussed how technologies like Zoom can help parents be better connected to their children’s education and educators can create additional flexibility for students with unique needs or home lives.

Esther Wojcicki

Esther Wojcicki presenting her keynote session at Zoom Academy 2021.

What the future holds for education — and how you can prepare 

Academic institutions are looking for guidance on how to transition from the pandemic to whatever the future holds for education — and many believe that involves some form of hybrid learning.

In “Return to the Classroom With Confidence,” Dr. James Frazee from San Diego State University shared how flexible, customizable, and technology-enhanced learning opportunities can improve access to high-quality instruction for both remote learners and on-site students. Frazee spoke on the value of recording lessons as a way to serve a diverse population of learners and accommodate different schedules, time zones, and communication challenges. 

Doug Konopelko, an education strategist at CDW, gave us some ideas for designing connected classrooms and campuses in “Reimagining the Education Community of Tomorrow.”

Reimagining the Education Community of Tomorrow

CDW’s Doug Konopelko in his session, “Reimagining the Education Community of Tomorrow.”

How your peers are using Zoom

During our K-12 and higher ed roundtables, educators, directors, and technologists shared their lessons learned in the classroom over the past 18 months.  

Our K-12 panelists discussed how intuitive, flexible technology can help create a more engaged and effective learning experience. They noted the importance of supporting teachers as they learn new technology, especially during a wave of historic turnover. 

K-12 Panel

Clockwise from top left: Adam Gerson, Columbia Grammar and Prep School; Juliana Finegan, The Learning Accelerator; Victoria Thompson, Technology Access Foundation; Dr. Katrina Adkins, SHI International Corp.

“This was one of the most unique panels I have ever moderated in that every participant was looking at educational technology through a different lens,” said Dr. Katrina Adkins, senior program director for education solutions at SHI International Corp. “Being able to thoroughly discuss and dissect STEM integration, digital learning, and the effects of COVID in and out of the physical classroom was incredible.”

During the higher education roundtables, our panelists discussed the power of technology to create future competitiveness at the university and collegiate level. Higher education organizations need to focus on retaining their institutional identities in a world that is increasingly driven by technology, and Zoom’s vision and roadmap can help educators reach their goals as smoothly as possible. 

Higher Ed Roundtable

Clockwise from top left: Beth Pollard, San Diego State University; David Malan, Harvard University; Lauren Erardi, Quinnipiac University; Kyle Wagner, Northeastern Technical College; Jana Remy, Chapman University.

Enhancements for education customers

We also shared a few new and upcoming features that can help educators enhance teaching and learning, classroom management, and more:

  • Focus Mode: Developed from educator feedback, this mode allows instructors to see all students’ videos, while only allowing students to see their teacher. This is ideal for proctoring exams, reducing distractions, and promoting educational equity by helping all students feel comfortable. 
  • Breakout Room enhancements: We’re working on a variety of options for Breakout Rooms to make content sharing easier, provide more options for room assignment, and enable educators to understand activity within each room.
  • Polling and quizzing: Soon, educators will have even more options for setting up polls to help with quizzing and provide greater interactivity.

Stay tuned to our blog for even more updates on our areas of focus in education. 

Stay in touch

That’s a wrap on our second annual Zoom Academy! We’re so excited you could join us and grateful to all our presenters who shared their insights and stories with us. Thank you!

We hope you’ll keep learning with us at Zoom Learn Academy, a series of training sessions for Zoom Academy attendees, where registrants can earn Teacher, Admin/IT, or School Leader Zoom Academy Badges.
We also encourage you to continue the conversation — now and throughout the year — at our Zoom Educator Community. You can ask questions to our Zoom team, participate in discussions, and exchange best practices with a community of peers. Hope to see you there!

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