Ever-improving classroom technology makes blended and hybrid learning more feasible with each passing day. You’ve likely heard about blended learning or hybrid learning and we’ve discussed it before. To recap, it is a combination of in-class and remote attendance by students and teachers, recently used to help mitigate the effects of COVID. But not just, because blended or hybrid learning also proves its worth during inclement weather conditions such as blizzards or storms, when many students may be compelled to remain home.
As 2021 gets going, in the US especially and in other parts of the world as well, awareness of blended learning continues to grow. The COVID stimulus package passed in late 2020 and actions by the new administration in Washington DC as 2021 progresses all provide funding to help schools acquire the tools needed for blended learning. Now is a good time to learn more about the topic and get ready to take action.
There’s no denying traditional education has taken a beating all over the world due to COVID. EPI reports that of the over 55 million students in the US, almost all have switched to remote learning for the 2020/2021 school years. Instead of classrooms, we had Zoom and Skype calls.
However, this has not been universal and consistent. Many school districts alternated between in-class and remote learning as COVID numbers shifted. Others reduced the number of students permitted to attend physically, combining in-class and remote attendance to arrive at blended learning models. But all could be improved with more suitable tools and educational technologies.
In short, as the name suggests, blended learning offers a mix of attendance types and teaching forms. The class revolves around students more than before, because teachers aim to accommodate kids in the class and at home with equal measure. That requires a whole new set of skills, plus new technologies that formerly weren’t common in classrooms.
To be clear, as the internet arose and connection speeds improved, blended learning began to appear with online classes back in the 1990s. The term wasn’t around so much back then, and the unfortunate reality of COVID has increased interest in hybrid classrooms exponentially. From niche to necessity, blended learning rapidly emerged as a hot topic and as such there’s already a significant body of research, such as this report from Education and Infromation Technologies chronicling its growing importance.
Here are some highlights to consider and gain perspective:
COVID recovery funding packages passed by Congress and soon to be acted upon by governments on all levels in the US include specific items for tech acquisition by K-12 schools. That means your school will likely soon receive funding to help you better prepare and implement blended or hybrid learning. With better tech, you can improve the quality of teaching provided to all of your students, whether in-class or attending from home.
The funding means schools don’t need to feel constrained and thus compromise on the quality of solutions they obtain. Educators can have access to the latest technology and achieve true readiness for hybrid and blended learning, thus keeping curriculums intact and providing students with an optimal learning experience despite unpredictable external circumstances.
And with all due modesty, we have to say BenQ interactive displays offer some of the best bang for your buck of all classroom technology around.
For hybrid classrooms, interactive displays offer an all-in-one foundation and focal point that empowers teachers and allows students in the class and at home to collaborate easily and safely. Our development teams constantly refine our exclusive digital whiteboarding platform- EZWrite- to make it more versatile, affording blended learning classes a quick, intuitive, and creative toolset for sharing content and working on projects together.
Such feature comes as an addition to built-in video-conferencing and content-sharing capabilities, which allow teachers to conduct classes for students attending class from home directly through the interactive display.
A common complaint among blended class attendees is poor sound quality that prevents people from hearing each other properly. BenQ interactive displays employ an octa-mic array that creates a perfect soundscape where every word matters and is heard clearly. The eight microphones are of such high fidelity, they’re easily capable of handling even music classes.
This feature proves useful when recording the class for later review as well, which is another useful functionality we offer.
To the students who remain in classrooms, germ-resistant touch screens with long lasting nanosilver layers provide virtually impenetrable protection against most viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Germ-resistant tech forms a superb complement to good hygiene practices such as hand washing and overall sanitation.
Screen mirroring forms a staple of blended & hybrid learning because students and teachers bring their own devices. For sharing, our interactive displays offer the InstaShare app, which provides quick screen mirroring with no cable clutter and minimal physical contact to further reduce health concerns. In addition, always-online BenQ interactive displays remove the need to depend on a mobile device, making things simpler and more reliable.
We hope to help you and your school as you move towards better blended learning in 2021 and beyond.
Take a look at BenQ technology, and do get in touch if you need more information!
Learn more about germ-resistant interactive displays that enable modern, immersive, and engaging learning-
also in blended learning scenarios!