As we shift into a post-pandemic world, education will continue to adopt technology inside the classroom and around the wider school. Blended and hybrid learning continues to be a popular teaching style, allowing for agility of learning and increased engagement from students.
The adoption of technology is becoming even more important in further and higher education.
“Colleges and universities need the latest technology in order to attract students and provide them with the skills modern employers are demanding.” - Paul Kaylor, Business Development Manager at Midwich
One of the main changes in education and classrooms in the post-pandemic world is the approach a school takes to personal devices. While pre-pandemic personal devices were often shunned from the classroom and confiscated on sight, post-pandemic students may be encouraged to bring their devices into the classroom. After a year of hybrid learning, students have invited their schoolwork and classes into their home and used whatever devices were to hand to enable learning.
Previous concerns around BYOD in classrooms included these devices being more of a distraction for students, rather than improving productivity. However, the main concern surrounded security and how school systems could stay safe when they are introducing external devices. BYOD also highlights the disadvantages to students from low-income households.
The advantages of BYOD in education outweighs the disadvantages, even if only some students can facilitate BYOD, it takes a large strain of education budgets, allowing schools to focus their efforts on providing technology for the students that need it.
Sharing documents and collaboration is easier when students are working on their personal device. They are able to save documents directly onto their hard drive without having to send files from their school email to their personal. Furthermore, a BYOD strategy enables students to access course information, assignments and tests, calendars, and extra-curricular information from their personal devices whether they are at home or in the classroom. This information could be saved on the cloud which is then accessible from any device.
This technology may seem easy to implement into schools, as the students are largely providing the technology themselves, however if schools are asking students to bring their own devices, classrooms need to be able to store these devices safely and securely and provide a place for devices to charge. Classrooms aren’t built to enable 30 students to all be plugged into the mains, charging their devices at the same time; there aren’t enough plugs, or enough power. Furthermore, most classrooms are laid out so that the students face the front of the class, not to facilitate charging from a plug on the wall.
Whilst injecting technology into the classroom may look easy on paper, one hurdle we will have to overcome is what do we do when schools invite more people back into the classroom? Primary schoolteachers and pupils may not mind going back to pencils and paper; however, higher and further education have seen the benefits of working on a laptop and are unlikely to want to regress.
Capture and share the best lessons; use them for teacher observation and development or share with students to catch up on classes and to reinforce their learnings. Lecture capture and video is set to become a standard, especially for hybrid learning environments where parts of the class are in the room and others remote.
Whilst classrooms are now video enabled, for full time remote students (or for the students learning remotely for a short while) they need to still be included and have the same experience as those in school. This means that assemblies need to facilitate video and also leads the ways for graduations and school performances to be recorded and streamed online.
At the beginning of the pandemic schools upgraded their brick-and-mortar classrooms by installing video and audio capabilities to enable hybrid learning. These upgrades have sped up classroom capabilities tenfold, however at the moment the video capabilities require anyone who wants to attend the class to be invited into a video chat on a schools’ chosen collaboration software.
NDI cameras communicate using a network device interface, these can connect to a LAN and integrate with hundreds of software applications. This will allow anyone to simply ‘step into a classroom’ as they would be able to, if they were walking around a school. Parents of potential students can ‘step-into’ classes, with head teachers able to get a real feel of what the lessons are like, without having to pre-book their attendance. This upgrade in video capabilities will also allow for remote assessments.
Where some parents have had to become teachers during the pandemic, what was first thought of as a scary and unattainable thing (home schooling), more families are now choosing to adopt this model to feel closer to their families, cut down on commuting and enjoy the added freedom. However, with the classroom entering the home, we may see some families install interactive LFDs to give their children a complete school experience despite being at home.
Collaborative, workgroup-oriented spaces with the latest touchscreen, content sharing and even video conferencing technologies are popping up all over campuses. Whether they’re used for 1-to-1 teaching, break out groups or independent study, huddle spaces provide students with everything they need for collaborative and creative thinking.
Research has shown that touchscreens have the advantage of being able to capture the attention of even very young students whilst improving comprehension and basic skills among children. Adding interactive displays to primary schools helps to engage children, whether they’re kinaesthetic, visual or audio learners.
“Primary schools want to drive kids to the front, to get them to participate and collaborate, and the latest flat panel displays with multi-touch capability are ideal for this. Often the students will need to link in their own devices too, either through BYOD or with Chromebooks or other devices supplied by the school.” - Paul Kaylor, Business Development Manager at Midwich
Children learn best when they’re involved and interested, and for the digital native youngsters, the latest technology is a vital tool in keeping them engaged.
Using interactive displays around the school for signage and wayfinding increases the capabilities of the displays and allows for the touch interactivity that pupils and parents have come to expect in shopping malls, museums and other institutions.
Blended learning remains prevalent as we move out of the lifestyle imposed by Covid-19. With increased freedom, students and teachers aren’t looking to go back to how things were but, rather, cherry-pick the elements that appreciated and move towards agile and flexible learning.