The COVID-19 pandemic caught the world off guard. Strict lockdown measures put in place earlier this year forced schools around the country to close almost overnight.
In fact, as of 28 March, more than 1.6 billion children were out of school across 161 countries — close to 80% of the world’s enrolled students. With no plan in place, students and staff had to make do with whatever made sense.
As we approach the end of 2020, educational institutions are under pressure to establish excellent standards for hybrid learning — with educators teaching students in both the classroom and at home.
This need to support online learning alongside classroom-based teaching will remain now and into the future. So, how can schools adapt to this ‘new normal’ and deliver a consistent learning experience across a hybrid learning environment?
The challenge of hybrid learning
In a physical classroom setting, a teacher will stand and adjust their voice to ensure students can see and hear them clearly. They will move around, use visual aids and make frequent eye contact with each student to ensure they are paying attention.
Students will similarly raise their hands, ask questions, and quickly learn to speak clearly so the rest of the class can hear and participate in the learning.
However, in a hybrid environment, where a class may be a mix of virtual and in-person students, this critical aspect of teaching can only be recreated through the right collaboration tools.
Many teachers and students have coped by using integrated cameras and speakers found on their computers and laptops, but poor audio and video quality is distracting and can have a negative impact on a student’s learning ability.
Likewise, educators need to be seen and heard as naturally as possible – by every student – in order to keep the whole class engaged.
“All education providers are striving to achieve the same goal: to overcome the existing learning crisis and reduce the negative impact of the pandemic on learning as much as possible”
Creating the best learning experiences
HD video conferencing solutions are key to overcoming these challenges and have a pivotal role to play in enhancing the experience for students and educators.
But video conferencing must be more than a software application through a laptop. Participants need to be able to enjoy live streaming without interruption, with high-definition images that bring the room to life for remote students and cameras that capture not only the speaker, but the context of the teaching environment.
For students who are joining a class from home or sharing a space with others while learning, noise distraction can become a big issue. In fact, experts predict that noise can affect complex cognitive and learning abilities, resulting in poorer motivation and higher levels of annoyance.
Providing students with the right headsets can be the ideal solution for those trying to learn in a potentially noisy environment.
Noise-cancelling headsets, for example, will allow students to focus on listening and learning without being distracted from their surroundings.
Audio quality of video conferencing devices in the classroom is also key, ensuring microphones pick up the speaker – whether that’s the teacher or a student asking a question – rather than the murmur of the classroom.
Empowering the future of learning
All education providers are striving to achieve the same goal: to overcome the existing learning crisis and reduce the negative impact of the pandemic on learning as much as possible.
While learning in times of uncertainty and complexity can be challenging, through the right collaboration tools – like high-quality audio and video conferencing solutions – educational institutions can ensure that these new hybrid experiences are engaging and informative for all participants, no matter where they’re located – now and in the long-term.
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