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Moving Ahead to a New Blended Learning

  • 2020-10-15

In the educational ecosystem, Covid-19 has proved to be a disrupter of gargantuan proportions. A recent United Nations white paper estimates that the education of 1.6 billion learners, in 190 countries, has been impacted by the pandemic. While the extent of closures varies greatly between, and within countries, there’s no doubt the impact is detrimental. And once schools are reopened there is no guarantee of continuity. The only certainty is that repeated, erratic and instant disruptions are likely to be the new norm for educators. Clearly, post Covid health practices and pre Covid teaching practices are not readily compatible.

The impact of Covid-19 on schools cannot be understated

A key challenge for schools is finding ways to keep learning spaces safe and secure without educational outcomes suffering. On the one hand social distancing is a critical weapon in containing the spread of Covid-19. On the other, teachers know face-to-face teaching has significant benefits, including higher engagement and building soft, but invaluable, skills such as teamwork and leadership.

Blended learning is key to achieving educational aims and social distancing

To achieve the dual, and dualling, health and educational aims, schools are employing approaches such as the progressive return of students by age cohorts, and scheduling school attendance in shifts to reduce in-class numbers. But whatever strategies are employed, key to delivering continuous education to all students equally, is school-led remote learning, or ‘blended learning’.
 

Teachers clearly understand that faced with a future of continued disruption, schools need a comprehensive plan that includes full-time remote learning and a blended approach. An online survey of teachers and administrators conducted by OECD, found 57% of respondents favoured a hybrid model of in-person and distance learning to facilitate social distancing, which could entail new forms of interactive and collaborative learning.

The challenges of school-led blended learning during a pandemic

Blended learning is not a new concept, stemming from technology-based education practices in the 1970s. However, combining school led remote learning and face-to-face classroom teaching comes with constraints and challenges. These include:
 

  • Remote or distance students may not receive the same quality education whilst learning from home
  • Teachers cannot monitor remote students’ reactions and their level of understanding
  • Remote students might be distracted by other activities or other irrelevant online content
  • Remote students have less one-to-one engagement with teachers
  • Loss of physical social interactions between teachers and students may mean students feel isolated
     
  • In summary, the challenge is delivering education of the same quality for in-person and distance learners. This is a challenge which can largely be overcome with the right classroom display technology combined with teachers’ curriculum materials.

    A new brand of blended learning using innovative classroom technology

    BenQ interactive displays allow a new improved version of blended learning which overcomes many of the challenges of class-led distance learning. Interactive displays, classroom projectors and the monitors for learning from home make it possible to combine face to face instruction and social distancing.

     

    Aim BenQ Classrom Technology
    Aim

    Allow in-class and remote students to receive the same lesson concurrently and interact with each other – saving teachers from preparing separate lesson plans for online delivery and in-class delivery.

    BenQ Classrom Technology

    ClassroomCare interactive flat panel with a webcam in the centre as the main teaching tool, and smart projector as a second display

    OR

    project your lesson content onto one big screen using a Smart Projector with video conferencing software and online collaboration tools.

    Aim

    Sharing teaching material between teachers and student’s mobile device, tablet or notebook in a small classroom environment

    BenQ Classrom Technology
    The Smart Projector for Classrooms enables students to wirelessly share their reports, ideas and presentation slides from their tablets or laptops, eliminating the need for transmitting via cables. 
    Aim

    Protecting the eye health of remote students

    BenQ Classrom Technology
    Large-sized monitor for learning from home, which features an anti-glare screen, reduces eye strain compared to spending long periods time watching a laptop
    Aim

    Inhibiting the spread of germs, when multiple students are using in-class devices

    BenQ Classrom Technology

    BenQ’s third generation of germ-resistant interactive display screens have a higher concentration of nano-ionic silver compounds giving longer germ-resistance screen or spray on the market

    Clearly this new improved version of blended learning offers great flexibility in terms of availability. Students can access the materials from anywhere at any time while enjoying the benefits of face-to-face support and instruction. School is looking radically different. The ‘new normal’ for educators is one where health, collaboration and same quality education for in-person and remote learning must be balanced. Investing in BenQ’s educational solution classroom technology is clearly a way this can be achieved.