The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has recognized DingTalk as a powerful digital-learning solution to help children continue their education as schools worldwide face closures due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Alibaba Group’s enterprise chat and collaboration app was included in a list of platforms that support live-video communication on the cultural agency’s website. While not an explicit endorsement, UNESCO said these educational platforms had “wide reach, a strong user-base and evidence of impact,” and could help teachers, schools and parents “facilitate student learning and provide social caring and interaction during periods of school closure.”
As of Monday, 56 countries had closed schools, affecting more than 516.6 million children and youths, UNESCO said.
DingTalk, which services more than 10 million businesses and organizations globally, stepped up measures to help schools continue their lessons during the coronavirus outbreak. In January – shortly after China postponed the start of the new school semester – the app launched an Online Classroom initiative to provide schools with free digital tools, such as livestreaming and online testing and grading features. About 120 million students and 140,000 schools across the country have resumed classes through the app, DingTalk said.
The app also made some new features available to enterprises for free. These include video-conferencing and livestreaming features that support over 300 participants, daily health surveys for employees and cloud-based document editing and approval.
“DingTalk’s Online Classroom program is only the beginning. We will continue working towards creating new, advanced digital technologies and products to benefit all parts of the education sector in China,” said DingTalk CEO, Chen Hang. To support large-scale remote work, the platform tapped Alibaba Cloud to deploy more than 100,000 new cloud servers in just two hours last month – setting a new record for rapid capacity expansion at DingTalk, said Chen.
Currently the market leader in China among enterprise chat apps, DingTalk focuses its services on the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises as they move from handwritten leave requests and paper-based address books into the digital era. The app offers its users secure one-on-one and group chats, as well as audio and video conferencing, data storage and integration with clients’ internal email systems. It also offers smart hardware for the workplace, such as face-recognition attendance devices, and customized solutions for specific sectors, such as education, healthcare, retail, and food and beverages.
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