Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Box for Education: Taking the Classroom to the Cloud

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The education industry is seeing the same technology trends as other industries: BYOD, a move to the cloud and more mobile and social communication. And as in other industries, Education IT departments are often challenged in providing technology solutions to their organizations. Not only do they need the same security and control as major enterprises, but they also have to appeal to one of the most tech savvy user bases—students.

At Box we see this as an opportunity to bring the best of cloud collaboration to education—helping students and teachers work together in new ways. And we’re already seeing traction, with hundreds of K-12 and university customers, including Stanford, Cornell, Notre Dame and more. What’s most exciting is that Box is being used by groups of all sizes, from a first grade class to 30,000 people at the University of Michigan—including a kinesiology professor who uses Box to receive, organize, review and comment on student work.

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In a survey of US college faculty using Box, we found that 86% think online and mobile tools make it easier for students to learn, but only 34% are using any education-focused apps. So we are thinking beyond the Box app and building a robust ecosystem of developers who will build more tools for students, teachers and administrators. Today we are excited to announce many new partners, who are creating tools for education and integrating Box and Crocodoc technology to enhance user experience.

Integration with Canvas

Canvas is a leading learning management system providing a variety of tools to educators to manage their classrooms. They are already using Crocodoc’s preview and annotation technology for grading, and now they are building a full-circle Box Embed integration. This will allow teachers to upload course content from Box to build lesson plans, students to submit assignments directly from Box, and both students and teachers to collaborate on Box content while in Canvas.

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New OneCloud partners

In our survey, we also found that 50% of US college students using Box are doing school work on a daily basis on their smartphones and tablets. So we are focused on developing mobile solutions for education use cases through our network of OneCloud partners, including:

  • Engrade, a grading app to help teachers and engage students and parents
  • Nearpod, an app for building interactive multimedia presentations
  • 9Slides, in which you can add audio and video to presentations
  • Celly, a group messaging service for teachers, students and parents
  • Fluid Notes, a robust note-taking app
  • UX Write, which was literally built for writing thesis papers

Crocodoc education partners

Our recent acquisition of Crocodoc has given us another avenue to provide innovative technology solutions to education partners. The Crocodoc preview API is used by many top education apps and tools to review and annotate documents—most often for grading—including Blackboard Learn , Deltak, Edmodo, ShowMyHomework,and MediaCore (which you can see in this video). Haiku Learning recently added Crocodoc annotator to their system and in the first 5 months, teachers have spent over 60 thousand hours in the tool grading homework.

And this is just the beginning of taking the classroom to the cloud. We’d love to hear how you are using Box at your school!