Blended Learning EdTech Essentials

Each stage of the 2020/21 national lockdown has seen an increasing variety of different learning and teaching styles forcibly adopted. Prior to the pandemic, teachers in their natural environment taught and engaged with their students directly. Technology has recently stepped up to mimic, as closely as possible, the in-room teaching experience, previous teaching and learning styles are being adapted to a new digital age.

Classrooms are becoming a flexible, multi-purpose space that suits all the needs of the users, from basic information delivery to an active learning space. Blended learning EdTech essentials combine in-class and out-of-class teaching. This model breaks the ‘one-size-fits-all’ format whilst maximising the educational impact for students.

Education advances beyond the physical classroom and allows students to learn from anywhere. If a student is unwell, they can stay at home, without missing out on classes and reduce the risk of contaminating other classmates.

Ed Tech Essentials

With so many technology solutions on the market, it can be difficult to tell which solutions are best suited to uplift your classroom. As these solutions need to be quickly adopted, it’s important they are easy to use and compatible with education programmes that empower students to collaborate and learn how they want to.

Blended Learning Home setup

Desktop solution

In the age of laptops, original desktop and monitor set-ups might look outdated but they are still very much relevant and can be utilised by teachers and students alike. By nature, bigger and sturdier, desktop computers are harder to damage and easier to maintain than portable devices. Paired with highly versatile and fast USB-C monitors, desktop set-up can be a perfect solution for blended learning at home.

USB-C monitors lift the connectivity to another level, combining versatility and more. USB-C technology provides fast data transfer while also helping users to reduce desktop clutter as devices can be powered and data transferred by one cable.

Laptop

Probably the most used piece of technology after a smartphone, a laptop is a convenient and space saving solution for blended learning. Highly portable, it can be used in a variety of environments, easily moved between rooms while looking for a quieter space.

These devices can be combined with other technology like monitors, external audio and video and other desktop peripherals to make a more productive blended learning solution. These pairings create hybrid offerings that works from anywhere, powered by one main device, the laptop.

All-in-one desktop device

For blended learning to be fully adopted, the classroom experience needs to be parallel to at home learning experiences. Interactive displays have been widely adopted by schools across the nation – teachers are used to this technology in the classroom as well as their students. It is imperative that home classrooms feature touch screen technology. While for students this may be tablets and touch screen monitors, teachers will expect a powerful interactive display to the same standard they have in the classroom.

However, teachers’ homes do not have the same capacity as their classrooms. It is unrealistic to expect them to sacrifice space in their homes for the exact same interactive displays, nor is there necessity to do so. Large displays are essential for classrooms with some students sitting as far as 10 metres away, however, in a home classroom, the teachers are the only ones in front of the screen and can opt for a smaller model.

DTEN ME is an all-in-one personal device, easy to set up and use, it is a perfect option for Zoom meetings and collaboration. DTEN ME offers touchscreen displays for blended learning on the smaller scale while doubling up as a second monitor for your laptop. 

Webcam

Both teachers and students benefit most from face-to-face communications, regardless of the chosen location for the day. With the right tools, socially distanced lessons or virtual classes can be fully comprehensive and comfortable.

Embedded cameras often warp images and have an incredibly narrow field of view; thus, it can poorly impact face-to-face communications. Opting for an external camera can make remote learning more familiar, blurring the social distance lines.

The Huddly Go Work from home kit makes it easy to transform your home classroom into a professional video conference setup. Teachers and students can experience high-quality, wide-angle video classrooms on a desktop or laptop.

Headphones with microphone

A right headset is an important piece of kit for teaching or learning at home. The sound we hear through headphones can make a huge difference to the quality of lessons. Audio plays a key part in communicating, students and teachers need to be able to hear each other clearly which embedded speakers and microphone can’t always promise.

Blended Learning Classroom setup

PTZ Camera

Teaching at home and teaching in a school classroom require technology and different preparations.

PTZ cameras help teachers to concentrate on their lessons and how they are taught instead of focusing on the technical side of things. These cameras help information translate better on the audiences’ screen. Teachers are tracked around the room with the camera following them seamlessly, removing the need for a video technician in every classroom. 

We recommend Sony SRG-X400WC or the Aver PTC500S – both PTZ cameras with powerful zoom and autofocus features which help to capture the full joy of the classroom with the most realistic and dynamic image quality.

Professional Audio

External microphones and speakers help deliver clear audio with high-quality sound capture to everyone, regardless of where they are studying. Students in the classroom benefit from being able to hear the teacher audibly whether they are at the front of the class or at the back, external microphones allow students at home to also follow everything that is going on in the classroom.

By utilising external microphones, users can capture sound that is otherwise unattainable to achieve with embedded microphones. Wide sound coverage unchains teachers from their desks and allows them to move around the room, whether they are at home or in a classroom.

It is impossible to avoid the background noise while teaching, however, boundary microphones help by focusing on sound sources in front of the microphone, reducing the noise from behind the mic.

Interactive Display

“There’s been a significant change in educational psychology since interactive technology was first introduced into schools,” - Richard Bovingdon, General Sales Manager - Business Development at Midwich

Whiteboard Camera

Whiteboarding unlocks creativity and collaborative thinking which makes learning more exciting and enjoyable.

Whiteboard cameras, like Huddly Canvas, are a great tool for teachers, as it does not require learning any new technology, teachers simply use a whiteboard as they would normally, and the camera does all the work. These cameras remove gloss and shadows, boost marker colour and hide people from the image, allowing students to focus on the whiteboard content . 

Document solution multi-function

Despite rapid digitization, physical copies of learning materials are still widely used in a classroom. In the form of instructions or worksheets, notes or presentations, printed documents are here to stay.

There is a wide variety of printers on the market falling into either the inkjet or laser printers’ category. Laser printers are speedy and print high volumes of black and white documents while also are cheaper to run in a big organisation. However, for a high-quality colour printing and easy home set-ups, inkjet printers are the perfect solution.

For more information on our blended learning solutions, check out our blended learning landing page filled with products and solutions for any learning environment.

Blended Learning