Dr John Collick
Head of International Education Strategy, Promethean
In light of the pandemic, we must explore the importance of a digital-first strategy and the emergence of a classroom-home hybrid continuum.
While the initial rapid move to remote learning left very little time for teachers to prepare, there’s since been the opportunity to evaluate how best to support students when it’s not safe for them to be in the classroom. But where are the main challenges and what should the priorities be when looking to mitigate against these both today, and in the future?
Consider hybrid learning
Shortage of personal devices, poor internet connectivity, lack of bandwidth and cost of data all contribute to students struggling to access learning materials remotely. This results in a digital divide and education inequity that is well documented.
Looking back over the last 12 months, it has become apparent that schools must constantly navigate the unpredictability of when students, and teachers, will be in the classroom. Self-isolation, shielding and sickness all impact a school’s attendance levels, which for an average student population is rarely above 80% in a COVID-19 context.
The most significant learning in recent times is the role that hybrid learning has to play in supporting schools in seamlessly moving along this continuum.
But how can schools achieve this when they are subject to so much change?
Structure socially switched-on lessons
Education is fundamentally a social experience and people, by their very nature, are social beings. If learning takes place away from the classroom environment, the social aspect of learning is also removed. So, when implementing a hybrid learning strategy, building in a social element is crucial.
One of the easiest, yet high impact ways to do this is to focus on familiarity and authenticity. This can be as simple as the student’s usual teacher recording a lesson in the normal school setting – even if the classroom is empty it will still be an effective psychological trigger for learning.
Trust in your technology
It has become increasingly apparent that schools do not have the budget to rapidly implement distance learning platforms, and teachers do not have the time to learn how to use these effectively.
Lessons from lockdowns have shown that leveraging existing technologies can support schools to operate on the classroom-home hybrid continuum, with the familiarity helping to ease stress levels and workload. By adopting a digital-first approach with established technologies, teachers can easily repurpose learning materials for use at home.
These learnings have been highlighted as areas that can help to deliver maximum positive impact with the smallest of time investments.