Now is the time to maximise the opportunities presented by hybrid education

The global pandemic has been responsible for ground-breaking shifts in teaching and learning. This unpredictable situation forced millions of educators around the world to change the way they operate overnight with no time for preparation

One year into the pandemic, the opportunities we’re seeing emerging from this are game changing for higher education.

A new era of education

Hybrid education is presenting a new era of accessibility, flexibility and collaboration for both educators and students – the journey is just beginning!

Embracing blended learning methods is a great way to give your institution a competitive edge. With the ability to connect to any VC platform and share content from their preferred device, leading professors will be in high demand, as they will be able to teach from their natural environment eliminating the need to travel. This in turn delivers higher quality lessons, helping to influence students’ decision on where to invest tuition fees.

Spatial limitations are eliminated, meaning students are able to live anywhere in the world and still have access to the very best education. Collaboration features are also making lessons more engaging, with increasingly dynamic content emerging from global guest speakers who are considered leaders in their fields, delivering real-time lectures.

The key to success in hybrid education is ensuring that remote learning simulates the experience of in-class learning. It’s crucial for teachers to see and interact with remote and in-class students simultaneously, ensuring students can view all the material presented and that everyone can collaborate in real-time.

A key challenge is ensuring that the technologies you’re relying on to do this are intuitive and easy to use. This sudden switch to video conferencing platforms can be daunting for lecturers with limited technical background – especially when compared to students who use technology with confidence. This puts them in an unfamiliar environment that challenges their comfort zone.

Technology to support hybrid education

Kramer has sought to resolve this, with the introduction of two new hybrid education solutions that create intuitive learning environments and an option that allows lessons to go underway at the touch of a button, with no personal device required.

The EDU-Hybrid-ZR is a Zoom Rooms™ solution that has been designed with ease of use in mind using dedicated Zoom Rooms™ hardware. Teachers simply launch the Zoom Rooms from the KT-107Z touch panel to begin the session, saving time, enhancing confidence and ensuring lessons start as scheduled.

One front of class display is utilised for remote video conferencing participants while a second screen features sharable lesson content. This supports up to 4K resolution and can be combined with any of Kramer’s professional audio and video hardware.

Furthermore, EDU-Hybrid-ZR integrates with Kramer Control to allow all classroom devices to be controlled from a single user interface.

The Kramer Control BRAINware allows for integration with all additional controllable devices and infrastructure, giving the teacher complete control of the learning environment and eliminating the need to move around the room. The teacher enhances two-way communication by controlling the camera position, speaker volume, the projector’s screen, and the interactive whiteboard, as well as lighting and AC.

For those using multiple video conferencing platforms, EDU-Hybrid-1 is a flexible, wireless presentation and collaboration solution that enables the best experience with Zoom™, Teams™, Google Meet™ or any other video conferencing solution.

Lecturers launch their preferred video conferencing platform and automatically connect to professional grade camera, microphone and speakers enhancing two-way communication. This integrates with the preferred in-room teaching display including projector and interactive whiteboard, while providing access to documents on the cloud.

At the heart of the solution, Kramer’s VIA Campus2, displays and streams full uninterrupted 4K content, and allows in-class screen sharing for up to six users simultaneously. A relay screen allows instructors to watch their remote students as they present.

New ways to collaborate

Another positive trend we’re experiencing from such hybrid education solutions is that lessons are becoming more collaborative and active for students than simple VC sessions. Through these new virtual interfaces, lessons are transformed into interactive and engaging experiences with advanced collaboration features, including smart whiteboard support for real-time editing and commenting on shared documents, and recording options to capture sessions in their entirety.  Alternatively, teachers can also broadcast their lessons to live servers such as PanoptoTM, KalturaTM or YouTube LiveTM, when no interaction with the students is required.

The EDU-Hybrid-ZR and the EDU-Hybrid-1 are both complete end-to-end solutions designed to fit any space and are scalable, growing with every teaching requirement. Both solutions are agnostic when integrating with peripheral AV devices, compatible with all recognised cameras, microphones and speakers, enhancing flexibility and accessible to a wide range of budgets.

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