Hybrid Class Challenges, Changes, and Abilities
With school closings and learning losses across the world, it’s safe to say that the coronavirus pandemic has created the biggest disruption to education systems in history. Now, more than a year after the start of the pandemic, schools are looking for technological solutions to provide quality education to students and make up for the loss of the traditional, interactive classroom. One of these solutions is the hybrid classroom – a mixture of face-to-face classroom teaching combined with online learning.
Hybrid Classes – Futuristic School Learning was chosen as the theme for the AWS Toppr School OS webinar, hosted by YourStory. Panelists Rohitashwa Choudhary, Senior Vice President, Toppr; Durga Kakaraparthi, AWS Solution Architecture Manager, AISPL, Public Sector;
Dhriti Malhotra, Principal Principal, Manav Rachna International School, Gurugram and Moderator Shivanni Muthanna engaged in an insightful conversation about hybrid classes. The hour-long session also included interactive survey questions, informative videos and a live question-and-answer session.
Here are some highlights of the conversation. To watch the webinar, click here
From blackboards to smart boards
The evolution of classrooms began long before the pandemic struck. Technology had already started to make inroads into schools and education. Dhriti pointed out that technology has fundamentally changed the way we learn. From a blackboard and chalk to a laptop and an abacus to a smartphone, the educational experience has evolved for teachers and students. However, she also said that while technology has helped education take great strides, there is still a need for a classroom environment for students to learn – whether in physical classrooms. or hybrids.
Toppr’s Rohitashwa reduced the challenges of setting up the hybrid model – sharing ideas and training end users. Solutions to these challenges will affect engagement in the classroom. Teachers need to understand how to use the tools available to teach effectively through the hybrid model. Speaking about the deployment of the Toppr School OS platform in over 250 schools over the past year, he said: “The most successful schools are those that have invested a lot of time in training their teachers. He also spoke of the fear and general reluctance of schools to adopt this new educational model. Rohit also exposed sharing ideas as the second biggest challenge. He shared an anecdote, where he joined a hybrid class, where the teacher used a tool like Google Maps to teach distance traveled versus travel. Although this is quite an innovative method, he explained how it highlighted a gap within the wider teaching community that is unfamiliar with these tools and how to use them effectively.
How technology and AWS contribute to education
Although Durga agreed with Dhriti that the technology was not new in education, he said the only way to bridge the digital divide in the country was to pay attention to the geographic distribution of students and ensure that everyone equal access. He said, “If you want to be able to educate and empower the millions of students in India, we must be able to use digital technologies to be able to reach them and bring equality. “
He also stressed that technology would always be a catalyst in the context of education. It can never replace traditional education. With learning management systems in place for a long time, he believes the first wave of the pandemic allowed people to grab those existing systems and use them to continue the educational process during lockdowns. Durga said that this year, companies like Toppr School OS and educational institutions have already taken a step forward to make these e-learning platforms even more attractive and effective, create better content and improve the quality of education.
Power of hybrid classes
The future of education, according to Rohitashwa, looks exciting. While there may be several new scenarios in education given the current state of change in the world, he believes hybrid classrooms will pave the way for the personalization of education for every student – especially learning aids such as videos and simulations. He said, “If each student has their own device, technology can do wonders in determining areas for improvement for each student.. “Hybrid classes can also overcome psychological barriers that students may struggle with, such as fear of asking questions.
Speaking about the rapid adoption of technology in schools, Dhriti stressed that teachers need to be empowered and constantly motivated, as a lot of work remains to be done on the training front, which needs to go beyond technology. Teachers must learn to involve students. She shared, “There are times when class is in progress, a student is logged in, you call the name and you don’t get a response.” Additionally, she stressed that schools are involving teachers, students and parents to make this new model effective and believes hybrid classes are here to stay.
According to Durga, the National Education Policy (NEP) describes the overall vision of India’s new education system. The emphasis, he said, will be on practical knowledge and guidelines will be developed around this. Emphasis should also be placed on raising the level of education at the level of institutions and faculties. With the NEP, he believes the stage is set for hybrid and blended learning models, which will give students in remote corners of India access to quality education.