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IN-PERSON + ONLINE LEARNING = HYBRID EDUCATION MODEL FOR FALL 2020?

Article posted on Aug 1, 2020

We are quickly approaching the traditional fall back to school, and most schools are still trying to make final decisions about what that back to school model looks like.  A common approach being discussed is a blended model where there is both in-school instruction and distance learning.  The challenge is that most schools were not prepared for an online model when coronavirus concerns closed schools across the country in March and forced students into an unplanned online model.

When it’s done right, online education can be as effective as classroom-based learning. Prior to COVID-19, most schools and colleges hadn’t invested in developing their online learning capabilities. Now, whether they like it or not, they must. And they will make great strides and improvements in the process. It’s just a matter of how fast they get there.

We’ll ultimately see hybrid models develop over time where it becomes increasingly clear that some things can be done better online while others will ensure the timeless value of in-person and on-campus experience. Lectures by teachers or faculty can be produced in highly engaging ways via asynchronous video so that teachers and students can spend more time together in discussion, answering questions or working on projects. This flipped classroom model has already begun to revolutionize education around the world; now it will speed up dramatically. Students won’t want or need to go to school or campus to hear a lecture. They will, however, crave going to school to be part of activities, socialize with friends, and work on engaging projects or research with teachers. Think of all the labs and various equipment that students need to access at school and on-campus. Blending the best of online and in-person will lead to better outcomes across the board. (Forbes, May 5, 2020)

Schools that hadn’t prepared their online learning capabilities before now have a significant incentive to invest: grants and legislation, including:

IMS is working with many school districts and universities on grant-funded projects to expand their online learning capabilities.  Key features of the projects include:

  • Adding cameras and microphones to all classrooms to allow students attending in-person and students participating remotely to have the same teaching experience.
  • Expanding web conferencing hardware and software to facilitate communication and collaboration among students and staff.
  • Installing digital signage to keep students and staff who are in a building up-to-date on rapidly changing guidance and procedures.

The traditional education model in the US is rapidly evolving, and schools that are embracing this digital transformation will experience a higher level of student success and, for schools that need to drive enrollment, have a significant competitive advantage.  In the midst of a changed world and changing student and parent expectations, can you afford to fall behind?

As more schools begin technology projects that they hope to have in place for the 2020-2021 school year, the window of time to implement is quickly closing.  Schedule a consultation today to start planning and lock in the equipment you will need.


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