‘Classroom in Air’ is primed for takeoff

Technologies offered by China's top tech firms are being employed in the service of Shanghai's online education platform for the city's students during the ongoing epidemic.

Top tech firms including Tencent Education and China Mobile are offering technologies and services for Shanghai’s online school platform besides TV broadcasting.

Schools in the city are closed but will offer online classes from March to ensure safety of students and teachers during the coronavirus epidemic, local education authorities said.

In addition to TV broadcasts on 12 channels from March 2, the local authority, along with tech firms, has established an official online education platform (https://smile.shec.edu.cn), covering 1.45 million students in the city.

The platform, dubbed a “Classroom in Air,” features technologies with cloud, online broadcasting and social platforms, to optimize the online learning process.

For example, classes can be pushed to students or parents’ WeChat accounts, with interactive content and services, said Tencent Education, which offers cloud and broadcasting services to the platform. Tencent Education’s services are being tested in Xuhui, Yangpu and Songjiang districts at present.

The new platform has solved the urgent need to building an online teaching platform in a short period. Online classrooms open up new links for extending students’ thinking patterns, helping students tap creative value from existing resources and boosting lifelong learning, said Ren Liju, head of Rongyi Middle School in Songjiang.

Tencent hopes to use digital technology to break through the constraints of time, space and region, accelerate the sharing of high-quality resources and release the true value of education, said Dowson Tong, Tencent’s senior and executive vice president.

China Mobile’s Shanghai branch also offers IPTV or Internet Protocol TV and Migu application services for the platform. The carrier also offers broadband upgrade subsidies to Shanghai family users, which helps them get high-definition broadcasts.