Using Technology to Support Hybrid Learning

What is hybrid learning?
Hybrid learning – also known as blended learning – is an educational model where students learn through a combination of in-person and online activities. Hybrid learning combines these two formats to create a flexible learning experience that uses resources efficiently and allows students to take more control of their own learning.

The education sector has been incredibly agile during 2020. COVID-19 has thoroughly disrupted existing learning models, with schools required to close and move to remote learning at short notice, often with no clear end date.

In Victoria and Auckland, schools have closed twice this year, with students returning to the classroom during term three only to revert to online learning as schools shut again in response to a second wave of infection.

In these uncertain times, educators globally are recognising that aspects such as communication, engagement and wellbeing are vital to providing a robust, rounded education. Likewise, at PCSchool, we recognise that a solid blended learning approach is about more than just delivering the curriculum.

In the face of COVID-19, we’ve been working closely with schools to ensure PCSchool reflects the dynamic education landscape and supports them to meet the new and varied challenges they’re facing into.

1. Enabling remote school management With workers internationally asked to work from home unless they must be on-site, schools without a hosted school management platform are at a distinct disadvantage.

Cloud-based platforms like PCSchool offer an end-to-end solution that allows the entire school community to be connected and productive, wherever they are. A hosted whole-school database gives administrators and teachers working remotely access to the same tools they’d usually use while on campus, whether they’re managing enrolments, attendance, financials, communication or assessment.

2. Keeping students and families connected As millions of students face unprecedented disruption to their everyday lives, keeping school communities connected has never been more important.

PCSchool enables schools to communicate with their communities 24/7. From providing regular status updates to families to conducting virtual parent-teacher interviews and driving connectedness via online social events like virtual trivia nights, school management platforms are being used in new and creative ways to maintain and strengthen connections.

3. Supporting seamless blended learning Managing hundreds of virtual classrooms effectively is a new challenge for most schools. Those with flexible and intuitive school management platforms are finding them invaluable for bringing order and oversight to the virtual learning landscape across the school.

From making it simple for students to sign into virtual classrooms to allowing teachers to set tasks and share resources with ease, tools like PCSchool allow schools to manage hybrid learning without relying on disparate platforms with multiple log-in requirements for users.

4. Providing a real-time opportunity to engage with students Staying on top of student engagement and welfare is a challenge without in-person interaction. While a virtual environment can’t replace face-to-face relationships, one that provides a real-time view of who’s online at any point in the school day allows teachers to look out for and check in with all students individually, paying special attention to any learners they feel may need extra support.

Despite the challenges schools have faced in 2020, many have realised that adapting to COVID-19 has led to better ways of working. Whether hybrid learning will be used widely or in a more targeted way to respond to specific student, teacher or subject area requirements in the future, schools now realise its value as a flexible learning model that offers the best aspects of both in-person and online learning.