IMS helping to create the most effective Hybrid Learning setting

By Catriona Tierney

Hybrid learning and teaching are here to stay in one form or another with a combination of in-person and virtual teaching now being adopted by many as the best way forward in education.

According to a recent study, 9 in 10 teachers are open to hybrid learning with the right tools and resources in place and over 70% of parents also support the idea.

This year the use of technology in classrooms went from being an aspirational idea for the future to an essential service during the pandemic.

Throughout the lockdowns in Ireland, IMS has been helping to connect teachers, students, and parents, as they navigated a new way of learning. Now going forward IMS is here to help with a more blended way of learning, keeping teachers up to date with all the latest technologies and in turn keeping students engaged and parents well informed. This combination of high-quality teaching and up-to-date practical technology will help hybrid teaching and combination learning going forward.

IMS is also a Zoom partner for Ireland providing Zoom to Irish organisations for several years now. Using this unique partnership and their range of hardware solutions designed to work with Zoom, IMS was able to help teachers create a virtual classroom environment that was interesting, safe, and entertaining, and now they are continuing to provide plenty of inspiration and innovation with lots of exciting ways to integrate the virtual classroom into the traditional one.

Adjusting to the new hybrid norm

During the pandemic, many people asked of the education sector, when will we return to normal? The truth is a more hybrid approach will undoubtedly become the new norm going forward with a mix of traditional and virtual learning here to stay. The good news is that the resolve that teachers and families showed during the Covid crisis illustrates how well they can adapt from face-to-face learning to online at home. This means they can now use the skills they learned already to transition to a mix of virtual and traditional classroom education. This will allow for more flexibility within teaching practices and also more stability should any future disruptions to education arise.

For example, while students were able to return to school after the last lockdown, due to government restrictions they were still unable to go on school tours. However, thanks to Zoom they were still able to visit museums and cultural venues not only here in Ireland but across the world with an exclusive tour for students right on their laptops.

In fact, many schools are now also utilising the hybrid approach to invite special guests who are experts in their field to speak to students remotely with sporting icons, musicians, doctors and nature experts, etc all taking part. Using interactive features like the webinar Q&A function students were able to ask questions of their heroes and with breakout rooms, they could chat with other students about the experience and report back on their findings.

Pupils and teachers at Scoil Mhuire in Clarinbridge who won our ‘Most Innovative Use of Zoom’ competition this year were able to experience the benefits of this first hand as they won a 55’ DTEN D7 all-in-one Zoom room solution sponsored by DTEN. The school used their prize to host a ‘Virtual Grandparent’s Day’, organise online mediation and yoga classes, host virtual graduations and communion celebrations and field trips to the seaside and farmyards. The school also used their new DTEN screen to chat with special guests including scientists, politicians, and artists showing how endless the possibilities are when it comes to online learning with Zoom.

Using Zoom Rooms and a Zoom approved hardware appliance like a DTEN D7 screen (IMS is a DTEN partner for Ireland) also means that classrooms are also now able to connect with other classrooms both here in Ireland and around the world which is particularly informative for students learning new languages.

Staying connected

Zoom is also a great way to keep connecting for vulnerable students or teachers who can’t attend school, for distance learning in the event of another school closure or for school assemblies. Busy working parents also welcomed the virtual parent/teacher meetings during the pandemic with many hoping this can continue into the future. The same could be said for staff meetings, board of management meetings and parent council meetings with less time travelling to and from the school and shorter more time effective virtual meetings welcomed.

Another great virtual idea particularly for 5th and 6th year students is to speak with professionals from different fields online with a view to getting more information about a possible career path. Experts from the world of science, beauty, construction or media etc could engage online with students and talk to them about different career options and give them some great lots of insight into their respective fields.

Blended learning is also great for preparing students for a more digital future with increased competency in technology. This will help prepare students for college or later in life in their career which could feature a lot more online work and require more advanced computer skills.

For more information on hybrid learning and to speak to one of our team about technical expertise and support you can contact IMS.