Document Management, document collaboration, box launches education platform

Box and educational app Nearpod integration

Box is one of those companies that is reinventing itself so quickly, it's likely that it will be something quite different within a couple of years. This week, the Los Altos, California-based content sharing service announced a new ecosystem for education-based collaboration.

The company said that more than 100 universities and hundreds of K-12 institutions already use Box for sharing, and that its sales in that sector grew more than 119 percent in the past year. But, while students and faculty are embracing technology, Box said that only 38 percent of students at U.S. colleges and universities can get their class materials online, and only 34 percent of faculty are using education apps.

OneCloud Partners

Box's strategy is to focus on content management for sharing educational materials, collaboration tools for students and teachers, access to content and tools for mobile devices, and integration with existing educational tools.

One part of the evolving ecosystem is a new, education-focused program of OneCloud app partners to encourage the creation of learning materials, the management of classrooms, and communication between students, instructors and parents.

OneCloud partners include grading app Engrade, Nearpod for creating and sharing interactive lessons, a group texting service called Celly, the note-taking and handwriting app Fluid Notes, an iPad word processor for large documents called UX Write, and a video presentation-builder, 9 Slides.

Box is adding to its ecosystem through a new relationship with a cloud-based learning management system, Canvas by Instructure. Canvas will integrate the suite of collaboration and management features in Box Embed, a HTML5 framework. Students and teachers will upload and collaborate on their content within Canvas, and the content will be centrally managed within Box.

Crocodoc, Education Networks

Brian Whitmer, co-founder and chief product officer at Instructure, said in a statement that his company's native integration with Box's open platform "aligns perfectly with our mission to modernize" the education system by facilitating access to, and collaboration with, cloud-based course material.

In May, Box bought Crocodoc, whose HTML5 document rendering and viewing solution is being used to enable document viewing and annotation in learning management systems (LMS) and education apps, including LMS Blackboard, online learning tool suite Deltak, K-12 social learning platform Edmodo, cloud-based learning suite Haiku Learning, video education platform MediaCore and the United Kingdom-based app for tracking homework, ShowMyHomeWork.

Box has also formed alliances with research and education networks SURF, NORDUnet and Internet2, for deployment of the service in the Netherlands, the Nordic countries and the U.S.