Isolation, reduced activity, disrupted routines. These are the effects of Covid-19, and the ensuing school closures, have had on our children. Factors which impact a child’s well-being long after school has resumed; something that empirical studies support and that teachers know from experience to be true.
Covid-19 has created considerable challenges for teachers
In an OECD investigation into school disruption caused by Covid-19, 67.5 per cent of teachers surveyed stated that special support measures will be needed for students in psychological distress after schools have re-opened. Preparations for classroom re-opening in Australia have been rigorous; schools are undertaking a number of activities to protect health, including developing new hygiene standards, deep cleaning of school facilities and more. While teachers have long understood education is about the ‘compete needs’ of the child, in this peri-pandemic world, balancing health, collaboration and quality education are the new norm.
Is blended learning the answer?
The challenge is considerable. Traditional classrooms are not designed with social distancing in mind. To comply with good health practices European schools are turning to blended learning – a mix of online and face-to-face delivery. By alternating sessions of in-class learning with online learning, class sizes can be limited to a maximum of 10-15 students. However, using traditional blended learning practices in the post-pandemic era may mean a significant compromise in educational outcomes. For example, with the increase in remote learning time, students may feel isolated, or be distracted with teachers finding it difficult to assess student’s engagement level. How can offline students participate in group work? And how can in-person and distance learners receive the same education at once? Not to mention the added pressure on parents in the home environment with additional purchases of equipment needed and time allocation.
A smarter brand of blended learning
The answer lies in selecting suitable classroom technology. With the right solution, teachers can instruct remote and in-class students simultaneously, monitor student engagement in real time, answer questions and ensure every student feels, as close as possible, like they’re in the same classroom. However, it is not a case of one size fits all. Different situations require different solutions. With smart interactive displays, classroom projectors and monitors for learning from home, it’s possible for students can be in class whilst out of school. How do you choose what technology to use? As an education-solutions provider, BenQ has some tips for selecting the right technology tools for a smarter standard of blended learning:
- For larger classrooms: having two screens operating simultaneously means a multitude of advantages. See real time engagement from remote students by placing an Interactive Flat Panel with a webcam in the centre of the classroom as the main teaching tool, and a Smart Projector as a second display for the teacher. Share teaching materials and collaborate using your videoconferencing software and onboard whiteboard and screen sharing software.
- For small-sized classrooms：a Smart projector is a complete choice in itself. BenQ Smart Projector has built-in internet connectivity and web browser, enabling videoconferencing and wireless sharing of teaching material from your mobile device, tablet or notebook.
- For group collaboration：remote learning need not mean being isolated at home. Remote students can participate in the class using the on-board Cloud Whiteboard App and students can pair their laptops or tablet with an Eye-Care Monitor for a larger, healthier viewing experience.
Built in health features keeping students and teachers safer
Of course, health concerns must always be considered. Germ transmission, poor indoor air quality and additional screen time, which can cause eye strain and myopia, are key contributors to school absenteeism. Understanding the importance of student health, BenQ Classroom products incorporate features to address these concerns:
- Germ-Resistant Screens：BenQ interactive displays incorporate a high concentration of nano-ionic silver compounds, cured together with anti-glare coating and tempered glass. This gives the screen longer-lasting anti-bacteria properties than any conventional germ-resistant screen or spray on the market.
- Smart Eye-Care Solutions：whether a student is using a monitor for learning from home or school, blended learning means an increase in screen time and exposure to blue light and screen flicker, potentially causing digital eye strain. Both laptops and PC’s can be connected to an Eye-care Monitor giving students greater comfort and ensuring that increased screen time doesn’t take a toll on a student’s eyesight.
- Air Quality Sensors：poor indoor air quality and ventilation can cause respiratory and eye irritation, allergic reactions, asthma and headache, all of which can impact a students’ learning potential. With built-in Air Quality Sensors, key environmental parameters can be measured and displayed directly from the interactive panel including temperature, humidity, PM 2.5, P10, CO2 and Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) concentration levels. This allows teachers to intervene with the appropriate actions such as opening windows or adjusting air conditioning, in real-time.
Health, communication, and collaboration – this is what teachers must focus on in a post Covid-19 world. With most schools back to “face to face” learning, how can schools maintain a healthy and engaging environment, all while ensuring positive learning outcomes? Blended learning certainly has its place in the education sector right now, especially since schools have been forced to innovate at a rapid pace. Find out more about BenQ’s blended learning solutions and products here.