The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) published a list of recommendations of educational applications and platforms to help facilitate distance learning as COVID-19 continues to spread globally and schools have been shut down in many virus-hit countries.
The list is divided into digital learning management systems, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Platforms, self-directed learning content, mobile reading applications, collaboration platforms that support live-video communication, and tools to create digital learning content.
Alibaba’s DingTalk and ByteDance’s Lark are among the collaboration platforms recommended by UNESCO. DingTalk supports video conferencing, task and calendar management, attendance tracking and instant messaging, and Lark is a collaboration suite of interconnected tools including chat, calendar, creation and cloud storage. Google Hangout Meets, Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom are also listed as online communication applications.
The tools are selected because they tend to have a strong user-base and a proven record, while most of them are free and several support multiple languages, explained UNESCO.
Based on UNESCO’s data, as of March 16, 56 countries have closed schools nationwide, impacting 516 million children and young people. Another 17 countries have implemented localized school closures.
“We are facing an unusual situation with a large number of countries affected by the same issue at the same time,” said Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education. “We need to come together not only to address the immediate educational consequences of this unprecedented crisis, but to build up the longer-term resilience of education systems.”