Although hybrid learning has brought benefits by firmly integrating edtech in teaching and learning, the simultaneous management of remote and in-person lessons has significantly disrupted education.
Students have struggled to engage in the unfamiliar home environment, some lacking proper equipment, unable to connect with peers or the intimate support of their teacher. Staff, meanwhile, have had to navigate these new parameters, planning new lesson formats and fielding parental concerns, all taking a substantial toll on their wellbeing.
It’s not just schools which have been affected. Edtech providers that would previously make on-site visits have evolved to provide remote product demos — book your virtual ActivPanel demo here.
Unsurprisingly, then, 90% of educators told the 2020/21 UKI State of Technology in Education Report that their work/life balance changed during school closures. So how can you overcome the hybrid learning barriers to support staff wellbeing and student engagement, if they are needed in future?
With more demands on teachers and new pedagogical practices to grapple with, a commitment to comprehensive staff training is essential. Many educators have been teaching in isolation during school closures, with their usual network of colleagues more distant than usual, so reintroducing a strong level of support will help ease the process.
Hybrid learning has immersed educators in an abundance of new techniques and edtech tools. Teachers need to be trained in technology to understand how to maximise these opportunities for their particular classroom, identifying ways to incorporate it in their lesson styles, so teachers’ digital literacy can be improved alongside digitally native students. Additionally, with the increased exposure to online platforms, safeguarding and digital security also needs prioritising so students are protected while interacting digitally.
Is training just about helping staff adjust to a changed landscape? It should also encourage them to appreciate their role and value within it. Presenting clear opportunities for professional development motivates them to contribute towards school strategy and objectives, as well as a greater desire to champion edtech. Training should help bolster an enthusiastically forward-looking attitude, so they don’t become complacent in conventional teaching.
If educators are to achieve an effective hybrid learning model, they need the most valuable edtech at their disposal. Modern pedagogy depends on technology which creates dynamic lessons as well as teaching efficiencies. Rather than viewing it as an extra consideration to manage, educators should understand it can optimise the assessment process and enables content to be shared seamlessly through device-mirroring.
Furthermore, students are much more engaged when they can use digital tools for a more stimulating and hands-on learning experience. School IT managers monitor key edtech trends so they can strategically avoid the low-impact fads and maximise Return on Investment (ROI). This will also help bridge the gap between remote and in-person teaching, so staff can transfer tools and digital activities students have become accustomed to while using hybrid learning techniques during school closures.
What else should educators consider for effective tech use? Schools also need to assess their infrastructure to ensure their connectivity and bandwidth can support their tech strategy. Schools have received funding for broadband and edtech, which front-of-class tools like the ActivPanel make the most of as a central hub for classroom devices and learning to run through. The variety of edtech available is proliferating, but investing in purpose-built tools like this secures long-lasting value.
All of these priorities need to be reflected fundamentally in a carefully considered, targeted school strategy. Senior management teams need to embrace the opportunities of hybrid learning, and seize the potential for long-term school-wide improvements through edtech.
Success depends crucially on accounting for all staff, so soliciting feedback across the staff body — from teachers and IT managers alike — shapes positive growth with them all onboard. The staff themselves will have first-hand insight into the edtech that works and the processes that don’t, so fielding their opinions is invaluable for the right direction. This open approach enables you to unite your whole organisation in a collective vision for success, communicated across all stakeholders so staff and parents are informed.
Rather than making one-size-fits-all decisions in the blind, strategies should focus on meeting staff and student needs through the three core pillars of pedagogy, environment and technology. Hybrid learning may be a short-term approach in some ways, but this will ensure schools are left with only long-term benefits.
A future-proof hybrid approach
So, with these core components of the new modern classroom addressed, hybrid learning techniques can help accelerate schools’ momentum towards a future-proof strategy. Of course, the classroom always remains the nucleus of education, but focusing on these areas ensures the hybrid learning model doesn’t detract from that and teachers can continue delivering high-quality lessons.
Want to find out more about how to maximise the new modern classroom? Read our guide on all the key considerations, and request a free ActivPanel demo to discover the edtech that can help you achieve them.