B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 4 months ago

Excelling in Hybrid Environments & Making Tools Work for You w/ Giancarlo Brotto


Blended learning and hybrid workplaces are rising as schools and companies adjust to new expectations and technology. The return to in-person learning and working brings the need for innovative tools. 

People are calling for interaction, engagement and connection—what makes a tool effective in hybrid environments, and how can that criteria come to fruition? 

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Giancarlo Brotto, Global Education Advisor at Smart Technologies, about:  

- Utilizing tools for engagement in hybrid environments

- The value of interaction and connection in the classroom

- Incorporating technology with true impact  

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify,Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website. 

You're listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram Micro's imagine next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next, DOT INGRAM MICRO DOT com to find out more. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, Shelby Skirt Hawk, and our guest today is Gian Carlo Brotto, Global Education Advisor for smart technologies and Carlo. Welcome, shelby, great, great to be here, and Hi everyone who's listening. Excellent. Well, today we are talking about the new pains of S and B S and school classrooms and the solutions with smart technologies. But first she and Carlo, let's set the scene. So here we are, summer. Where are we with displays and collaboration tools in small businesses and classrooms? I mean, I guess can you give us a little bit of an overview of how these needs have really changed over the pandemic? Yeah, no doubt. I think you know all of you that are listening. I've probably experienced both of these right where if you're, you know, coming back to work or not coming back to work, or maybe coming back to work, sometimes you'll notice, you know, how you're interacting with your peers and you're gonna have to, just like the pandemic, kind of restructure yourselves in terms of how you work together and how you know, some of the certain types of meetings kind of need to shift, not the town halls and the ones where it's just information done, but the ones where you're actually trying to work and, you know, Co construct or reconstruct or solve problems. Like you're you're you're finding yourself like, like are do we have the right tools to do that? So we're getting a lot of those Um questions that people are starting to grapple with. On the education side, you know, and if close of you that have kids, you would have noticed in some cases, yeah, you got back together. Kids are you know, in classrooms they can rub shoulders again and in some cases they can't. That's they're still separated. But in all scenarios, what we're finding, and this is both in, you know, small medium businesses as well as costumes alike, it's finally we're together, you know, and let's leverage the fact that we're in the same location, we're co located, and then how do we make sure that, you know, we're leveraging the fact that we're together to to do things that, you know, I use that afforded. So that's what folks is mind. You know, engagement in those snarios on folks's mind. But in some cases still the some people are still out in the room. So how do we make them feel like they're in the room? So those are some of the things that folks are grappling with in this moment, right now. Well, so let's dive into the small and mid sized businesses first. So what challenges are these smbs facing with this return to work and then, of course, in some cases, hybrid work specifically? Well, you know, I guess what are you hearing is is their pain points. Yeah, and for those that are listening that are that are selling into these markets today, which I'm sure you've you've heard this from many of the business owners, it's you know, you hear them talk a lot about okay, my workers are coming into work, but I want to make sure that when they come in for those two days in the week that we are setting up our spaces to leverage the fact that they're here, and so the meetings aren't to sit down and passively get but it's let's get them working interacting with each other. And they're asking you, you know, what do you have for me that you know, leverages are instigate these types of collaborative dialogues where everybody has a voice, everybody can participate. Oh and, by the way, can we make sure that the people who couldn't come in can also collaborate in for dituring at the same time? And that's not as easy right, but that's some of the things we're hearing in those spaces. Similar to that is, you know, now more than ever. You know, we hear about the great resignation. We know that. You know, about half of the world's are just under half of the world's UH stealed. Workers have to either reskill or upskill, either because they're shifting careers or because, in their industry that's just the natural, you know, evolution of how things are changing so quickly, and so those that are looking to make sure that their development...

...for their employees is kind of up to part they're having to re look at well, what does learning now look like in our offices and even for those who don't come into office. And you know, if those that there's something to these spaces, you're getting asked a lot like, tell me what the latest in solutions are to make sure my employees are, you know, being engaged, whether they're in office or or out of office, and those models are starting to shift as well. Well. Yeah, and you're right, it's interesting to hear that. You know, we want to take full advantage of the fact that when they're in the office, they're really in the office. And and and these are not the same meetings that we used to attend. We're basically you just sat down and looked at the screen and kind of stoned out, honestly. So it feels like at the beginning of the pandemic, I guess, in businesses, you know, we're all just trying to make do in terms of these collaboration tools. Now, of course, two years later, when this is more becoming our our new normal, how do bis really step out of making do and step into this moving forward with, and you mentioned it, you know, skills, professional development training, kind of this this shift to looking ahead. Yeah, and you know, when, when, when we're looking ahead. And what we're hearing folks talk about is, you know, just having a chat be your form of interactivity feedback from your meeting participants or your learners. That's not enough, right. That's not engagement, like that's that's like your base layer, right. And more and more what we're hearing is, you know, how do we get people more actively involved, both kind of in a meeting, like I want people to be able to share stuff. I want people to that are sharing stuff for other people to like annotate, overtop, whether they're physically in the room, like on a you know, an interactive type display, or if they're not in the room, right, if they're remote, they should be able to still, you know, someone pulls up a PDF, I want to identate an ink over that because I want to actually physically show you what I'm thinking. Right. So we're getting to this point where there's, you know, people are getting a lot becoming a lot more aware that there are tools that are available to do that. Like smart has a platform called teamworks that makes that super seamless and easy to do, whether you're in the room or not in the room. And you know, for those customers of ours that you know employed that, like even police stations or fire departments, right when they're modeling kind of new platforms and they pull up, right, here's the screen you're gonna see in your cop car and your cruiser. Right, here's a new platform, and hey, when this and the thing pops up and they're physically annotating and they're pointing on it, and participants were watching that remotely or that can go back and say, well, wait a minute, what does this mean? And they highlight it in real time, like it makes it so much more concrete, invisible. And what we're hearing from those that are employing these types of you know, like they're not complex technology and nobody needs to get, you know, trained on how to do it. The facilitator is just using it. Participants are like, wait, I can actually annotate, let me do that. What what we're hearing from these businesses is that the engagement's level and participation rates are way higher, which I think all of us have experienced meetings or even trainings where we sit there and we're like, oh my God, how much, my time is long and you know left. We gotta get rid of those dates. Yeah, yeah, I think all of us have a little bit of Ptsd from just, you know, these long, uninteractive yes, yes, basically you're just a seat filler and you're not really learning much of anything. Well, let's talk about education now. So you know, of course, training and engagement and learning. That's that's hand in hand with with classrooms. So could you enumerate the challenges that school teachers and administrators are really facing with with kids back in the classroom now? Yeah, and you know, there's some pretty significant trends that we're seeing, and this is internationally. Like the biggest one that that we're hearing is, you know, there's a lot of more disruptions right and specifically related to student behavior more than ever before. And this is sentiment discerned from your your tindergarten teachers all the way up to your your high school even at the university level. Of talking with the gentleman the other day, you've got, you know, an email us to just drop this course for some very um...

...it just they couldn't manage some of the challenges that they're they're currently faced with in the in the stress. So you know, part of it has to do with kind of the mental health and well being of a lot of our our families and our students and the stresses of our teachers. Right, administrators, more than every before, are, you know, noticing, just like in business, right, a lot of the mobility, a lot of teachers are leaving the profession as well. Even the secretary last week made a statement specifically to that. Than how we need to address it. So, and that's connected to you know, how do we how are we making things easier for our teachers? Right? So, the pandemic, no doubt, is made increase the complexity with what teachers need to how they need to transition. But even now it's, you know, how do we make sure that, you know, we're leveraging the things that teachers are accustomed to but not overwhelming them with all these so much technology that was purchased during the pandemic and new platforms and tools and and sometimes it's really overwhelming for our teachers when, you know, especially given the climate of the environments that they're dealing with walking into in their classrooms, it could be a lot. Right. So that's just just a taste of some of the things that that we're hearing so far. Yeah, and you've covered a lot in that. I want to unpack that just a little bit. So the part about and maybe these are you know, we're now seeing the longish term effects of remote learning really kind of manifest themselves in classrooms. I want to go back to what you said about disruptions and and maybe some discipline issues that that you're hearing from, you know, administrators, challenges that that weren't necessarily I mean every classrooms had a problem with with discipline, but the fact that they're seeing more of it now, I guess could you just expand a little bit on that, on kind of what you're hearing then from those administrators? Yeah, so, you know, there's because of the you know, the pandemic has put a lot of families in different kind of uh, either financial contexts, health context and even just dealing with destructions. We know this, like the research faced wise, you know, young kids especially are more affective when the routine kind of gets disrupted and how that manifests in terms of how students behave, you know, how they behave themselves and how they interact with other students or even just students in the classroom that just maybe they're not as um you know, engaged in kind of what's going on in the class, but need an outlet, right, and that outlet sometimes becomes very physical, that outlet sometimes becomes very verbal, and not in positive ways, right. And so when you're trying to get through that, you know that lesson on pronounce into your class. But you know, Samantha, you know, is dealing with some things at home and in the class. Wants to kind of express ourselves and kind of get that validation or get that attention that maybe she's she's seeking. She'll do that in ways in which, you know, destruct the classroom, right, and and teachers more than ever, dealing with these types of these types of behavior destructions in their classrooms. Yeah, well, and it brings up an interesting paradox that in a time where, okay, so if there are more disruptions in a classroom, I guess they know maybe the standard operating procedure would be like, okay, you know, everyone kind of you know, faceboards, you know, basically sit down and take your seat and just listen. They don't want a lot of interaction because that interaction kind of, you know, spirals into disruption. But that's that's an interesting challenge, though, because now we know that that children learn better with interaction, you know, with being able to, you know, to talk to each other and to kind of work off of each other and feed off off off that energy. So yeah, I mean, I guess have have you heard that something to that effect that you know, yes, we're trying to deal with discipline issues, but also we know that, you know, interaction is essential to classroom participation. How can technology help that particular problem? Yeah, you know, you're talking about like what's The endidote traded? Share a concrete story, as in a school, high school, several weeks ago, and Golla share the stories of me and...

...you actually took me a little walk across the hallways. He's like, you know, I was walking by the hallways and I noticed a lot of this and so showing me and, as you know, a teacher sitting at the desk projecting their you know, Google slides or their power point and whether they're sharing and they're just talking to their slides, and the students are just sitting at their desks, you know, passively, and the teachers like, you know, this is what the pandemic was like, and I just bothered me, like and so he went to the just like you know, this is why we MS could be another reasons why we have more behaviors, just because students don't want to engage this. They told us loud and clear didn't like this year in the pandemic and now that we're together they're doing this again and students crave the attention and that communication and connection with peers. How do we transition? And you know now that we've got things digital and digital slides, let's make sure we're embedding opportunities for students to collaborate and connect with each other right and in different ways of doing it and technologies that do what I mean. There's one actually smartsman tracking schools throughout the pandemic and looking at success scenarios of you know, despite even during the pandemics created a lot of Termo, there have been successes in one particular school up in the UK, Ben Hurst primary. You know, they centered themselves around the seven core valleys and principles and they talk about in the language they use in their lessons and they embedded into the curriculum. You know, we've helped out a lot by partnering with some of the Leading Uh, you know, social emotional learning providers internationally. There's Kuth, because uh in the UK there's also another one out here in North America, Russian beach, launching it next week at Ist and we're creating lessons where teachers naturally can kind of do simple, quick activities like, you know, check INS to see how they're doing, but they're instigators for conversation and dialogue and then getting the students to kind of converse and connect with each other right and and this is where the technologies come in, because it's got to be super simple for a teacher to literally press a button and then instigate students in a in a connected kind of collaborative dialogue, even in classrooms, because they're still constrooms where kids can't sit next to each other, but they can still be in the same room and be looking at the same content and still having a dialogue and kind of instigating that kind of connection with their peers. So there are ways to do it and you know, we're seeing that in different classrooms around the world and it's it really is just, uh, I think it's the mindset of the staff and the educators around you know what, how do we make sure we take what I've planned today and how do we build an opportunities for students to can be connected and interacting with each other and what are the tools that I have at my disposal that'll that will help facilitate that for me. Right. Well, it is similar to what you said about about businesses that, you know, leaders are are coming and saying, okay, how do we take advantage of the fact that we have our employees in person? I guess it's the same thing. How do we take advantage of the fact that students are in classroom together? And so, you know, there's more than just powerpoint for for teaching, right, unerial actually now, actually, nowadays there's there's might be too much right. I think where we're hearing a lot of teachers that there's so many different tools the district has available to them. It's how can you make it easy for me to do to get my students interacting with each other digitally by and minimize destructions and distractions and Distructions, and that's constantly something that we're hearing. Yeah, and that's you know, that's something that is a huge problem. Is, you know, okay, at a time where teacher turnover is just sky rocketing, you know, the last thing you want are the most experienced teachers, the ones that have been in the industry and the profession the longest leaving, because not that they're leaving, because you know they're you know, their their powerpoint or their their interaction tools aren't working, but it's it's kind of like the straw that that broke the camel's back. It's one more thing that they've got to deal with that, you know, if if all of these hurdles are adding up, that retirement certainly looks a little bit more more appealing when they're able to to master the technology easily. It's very Germane to their their normal processes and not, you know, not a whole brand new thing they've got to learn and they're Gott to use their existing resources right like it. It's...

...crazy and it's like, Oh my God, I spent the last twenty years believe these resources, and what now I can't use them because it's a new technology. Came in like it. It's way to end. It needs to work right. So many times teachers like I walked in and it just didn't turn on or I tried to look in and my accountant or like you. Hear all these kind of very basic fundamental things, but they all add up to just adding to teacher strength, right, which we have to be in the education to be very attuned to, because it's me need our teachers, right. You need our teachers. Yeah, my husband worked for a private high school. I've actually had a lot of smart boards, technology, all of these things and uh, you know, so he would a lot of times, apart from you know, servers and and and fixing more that the information technology issues, it was just helping teachers with some of the technology in the classroom. And Uh, and yeah, I mean he really got a sense that, you know, for for teachers that are maybe just already having having a rough day, the last thing that I want is you again. You Walk in the classroom, it won't turn in, I'll turn on, I can't all again. Yeah, you feel bad. You feel bad and nowadays, you know, for someone like your husband like he was probably alone and the only one to do it. And now you know what I always encourage you know, make sure you're you're going with the tech provider that also has a robust support and not just like technical support, not just like some webinars and videos, but like you know, you can you can be part of a community in your area right of other teachers teaching the same curriculum where you can bounce ideas of hey, who has a lesson on this today, right, or can I go and find a lesson on my specific, you know, curriculum or my down like you know nowadays, you know companies, you know this advantage. I think that smart has thirty five years in it. Like we learned these little things that that add up, because someone like your husband, right, he feels strained right when he cannot support, you know, is Fort Hundred Staff, right. So having all these, you know, broader network of supports is critical, definitely. Well. So, you know, we have started started to get into some of those specific solutions with smart technologies. One thing that that I think, I t professional decision makers would be interested to know, and something that we talked about on our kind of our our call before this episode, before we recorded, is that smart technologies it meets people where they are. It meets small businesses with the technology that they have, classrooms, with the with the tools that they have. I guess can you expand on that and why that's so important to understand about about this? Yeah, you know, when you when you spend a lot of time, you know, just observing whether it's, you know, small meeting rooms, collaborationrooms or learning and developments happening in business or in classrooms. Right, you start to realize that there's certain workflows that you know, those who are kind of orchestrating, that are critical and you know, after looking yet for many years, you know these. You've got to make sure you're seamless and tie into those rickflows. And part of it we actually picked up, which is, you know, well, what what are people opening up? Right? So when I'm in that room, right, so if, let's say we're in the office together and we're thinking of a new idea and bring it to like hey, you know, we were talking about this in media, but I have this other way of thinking about it, to be able to quickly walk up somewhere, just pick up a penance, start writing, automatically turns on, automatically starts thinking, right, without having to the call it what application we need to do, like it just needs to do what you need to do in that moment. Right. So these workflows become paramount, but at the same time there's different workflows. Right. So we could have, you know, we could be doing a launch of our new website or a new APP that we're we're creating, but I noticed there's some, you know, challenges with some of the way things are framed to be able to go and, you know, pop in the USB or go to my drive and open it up and open up that file and then annotate over and saying no, I think we need to put this here and someone else being able to chime in instantly in real time. Either that's in this physical space or we dial limit. Right, I send an email and now they're connected and they're seeing everything I'm seeing and with their mouths they have access the saying thinking that I do in the room. Like those workflows are so critical because you don't want technology getting in the way for what you're trying to...

...do in that moment, right, and those are, if you know those scenarios, those are all unplanned, unstaged kind of workflows, right. And then we have the more pre prepared work feels like to see if you're looking at a land director right WHO's managing a team and looking at development for their staff and they do, you know, training, or if it's in a classroom where you're planning and preparing a lesson. Well, what does that look like when you know we have. You have to accommodate for you know, some people use Google slides, some people use power point. But if someone wants to make sure it's interactive and engaging, being able to take that content and then easily make it interactive and collaborative, like with one touch of a button and can't screw it up, like. Those are the those are the workflows you need to be a tuned to. And then also it's making sure you deliver on it so that when you know that person experiences it, they're like, oh my God, like that would not have happened so easily if I would have used existing whatever, right, or use the chart paper, if I would have handed out those pieces of paper and then put stickies on the wall. Right. So it's it's about adding value to existing work flows, which means it's being a tune to what are existing behaviors and practices, one of the existing content, right, or having new content that gives people new ideas, in the case of education, right, and then making sure that the interaction is natural. Right, and this is something I think you know, having invented the interactive whiteboard. You know, back in the in the late eighties, that I think that's our advantage is that we're always and there's no other interactive display that can you know all. You know all of us that are you know right right here there's the three of us, four of us, to walk up to an interactive panel and seamlessly, I could be writing and green, you're writing in yellow, maybe someone else is racing with the pomp and we're not interfering with each other. Right. A lot of other companies haven't figured out how to do that yet. And when you're in that type of workflow where you just need to get what you need get done, whether it's in a classroom or in a workplace environment, those work little little workflows make a huge difference. And esportially, those are customers that experienced the difference. They're like Whoa, because it's a natural it's a not a way of interacting right and not getting in the way with what we're trying to what we're trying to accomplish. Right, right, and that that makes all the difference to productivity, adoption and, uh yeah, just the technology being seamless, and that may sound like a Buzzword, you know, seamless technology, but but truly making it part of the workflow, like you're saying. Well, so, as we start to wrap up our episode, you know you're a thought leader in this, in this space, and so I wonder if you can get your crystal all out and tell us where do you see technology, this technology, going in the next year? Yeah, so, and I mean we're already seeing how more and more, and we mentioned it even on this podcast. You know, how do you know? And if you're selling into these markets, you know what you're gonna get. The question a lot is how does what you're showing me tie into what we already have right in his foot context is how how do you make it easy for my teacher to already use their google drive or their you know, their teams, you know their Microsoft, you know drive. Right, how does it tie in seamlessly? So it's it's you know, how do we not have to have another lug to make it easy to get into? So so there's some of the like the basic table sticks. At the same time, though, it's in an education it's a little bit more than in the smaller made businesses. It's Hey, look, when we invest in this, this is gonna be here for a while. Like how do we know that this is gonna stay current, right, and that when you you know change, when you know changes get made or new, uh, new platforms are able. Like, how do how do we know this is still gonna be relevant five to six years from now, which is a long time for technology cycle, but in education it's not right that. So being assured that you know the platform that you start with today, so you know, get free over the air updates, right, and things of that nature. And this is why a lot of like even our our online software platform and subscription based. Right, you're always going to get whatever the latest is and, you know, always tying into whatever devices you want to connect into it. So those are some things that I think are table sticks. The other interesting one that I...

...want to put in people's ears, which were starting to hear hear about it. I think it might be longer than this year. It might it might be a little bit, maybe two years out, three years out, but we're starting to hear it, which is show me the impact. Right. How do we know our impact? And especially for those that are really they want to invest in technology, that that adds value, right, and you know, where there's small to media businesses, that increases collaboration dialogue between the participants. Right, increages participation and engagement rates in the training scenario or the CONSTIUME. Right. Oh my gosh, thank God our students are back in class. And look at that, this classroom right here. The students are just there's a lot more vibrancy than dialogue is rich. You know that. We could feel the energy and these other costumes that has a different technology. We notice the difference. Like how do we actually deliver and show that right? And there are some districts and some organizations that are already starting to thilk into that. Smart actually going to see a paper come out later this year. Well, we're gonna help customers become attuned to what you need, what you could look for when you're you using kind of interactive collaborative technologies, and so stay tuned for that. There's also a tool already available if districts, school districts, want to kind of assess their technology. Already it's the tech assessment tool that that we can make available as well. So so I think that's a theme to watch for, which is it's yes, we want to invest in what works today, but we want to make sure and what works into the future. But it's how do we know the impact that we're having? Right, right, right. So for listeners who want to find out more about what we talked about today, how to how? How can they reach out? Yeah, so, I mean there's an expert at Ingram. Of course, Ken Wilson would be a gentleman to to reach out directly too, but we'll drop a link for those that want to find out more about smart or for those that are, you know, selling into these spaces where these customers, you're you're hearing these pains is resonating with you and you're curious about what what's smartest to offer and even being a partner with smart. We'll give you a link we can find out more about partnering with us. Is We have, you know, thousands across the world that love our trust as a company and actually we just got nominated as one of the top tech companies in Canada based company. Yes, there's a team true north, twenty plus companies that just got nominated, uh, and smart ones. I was just at the event last week. So many, many partners. So if you're interested in finding more about our business and partnering with us, we'll drop a link there in the chat and, of course, you can always check out what we have to offer on our website, Smart Tech Dot Com. Excellent. Well, Gene Carlo, I appreciate all of your time. Thank you for joining me. Oh, it's so excited to be here, Chevy, and I love, I love your questions. Thank you, and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. If you'd like this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the Hashtag B two B Tech Talk. Until next time, I'm shelby scare talk. You've been listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micro's imagine next. B Two B tech talk is a joint production with sweet fish media and Ingram micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe to on your favorite podcast platform.

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