The events of 2020 disrupted education like never before. According to the World Bank, COVID-19 created the worst crisis to education and learning in a century.
As the US slowly emerges from lockdown, research indicates that the majority of schools in the US are now offering “hybrid” learning formats where 25-50% of instruction, assignments, and discussion take place online. Students study course materials outside of class, and then utilize classroom time to reinforce learning, ask questions, and interact with their teachers.
So with hybrid learning set to stay, at least in some capacity, we’re in a situation where we have the opportunity to re-think and re-invent modern education. In fact, with the right approach, technology, and learning solutions, we can even start to overcome some of the challenges that have troubled the education sector for decades.
Also, don’t forget that, right now, there’s also the option of ESSER funding for new technology in the state of Texas. Read more about this here.
What Does Effective Hybrid Learning Look Like?
For hybrid learning to work effectively, both teachers and students need to have reliable, high-performing devices and solutions at their fingertips — whether they’re together in the classroom or working/learning remotely. Effective hybrid learning means:
Easy-to-Run Remote Classes
In a quality hybrid learning environment, students need to have a reliable way of engaging with the teacher and their peers, even when learning remotely. The Surface Hub 2 is an ideal innovation in this regard, as it has a large touchscreen, is portable (it can be moved about on wheels), and has in-built, high quality cameras and microphones. A teacher using a Surface Hub 2 to run remote classes can see more of their students on screen, quickly identify those who are disengaged, run interactive digital sessions, and easily share content that everyone can see.
Tools to Keep Students Engaged
One of the major challenges with hybrid learning is keeping students engaged when they’re not in the classroom. During the pandemic, 42% of students indicated that staying motivated was a major problem for them when it came to completing coursework online.
When students connect via a Surface device, however, they can get natural experiences that feel like they’re in the classroom. Thanks to quality audio and video, they can get a firm grasp of what the teacher is saying and/or showing. They can also leverage Microsoft Teams to brainstorm with classmates, see the teacher’s mark ups and notes, and more. Surface devices also come in a range of generous screen sizes, which research indicates is important for students’ comprehension.
Easy, Efficient Access to Information
To run efficiently, hybrid learning requires both students and teachers having the information they need at their fingertips. With Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams on Surface devices, everything is in one central, secure location. Classes can share notes, store images, or manage documents via OneNote. With Teams, teachers can also set up digital classrooms the way they want to teach with the ability to create channels for certain subjects and tools to help them manage behavior, such as the “mute” function, and student lobby feature.
Support for STEM Learning
The latest Intel® processors also give Surface devices the power to support bandwidth-intensive, STEM-focused applications, which stimulate students’ learning and keep them interested. This includes things like Minecraft Education Edition, MakeCode apps, and video games that help kids co-author and be collaboratively creative. There are also 680,000 apps in the Microsoft store, including tools for both content consumption and creation, to enhance students’ learning.
Everyone Can Write and Think Naturally
The Surface Pen accessory is another great tool for both students and teachers. Students can write onto their devices naturally using digital ink and the Surface Pen, which helps with conceptualizing, prototyping, sketching, brainstorming, memorizing, and knowledge construction. Teachers can also mark up materials easily, plan lessons using familiar Microsoft Office programs, or share materials with colleagues.
Trusted Security and Ease of Management
Of course, Surface devices also come with Microsoft’s rigorous security for absolute peace of mind. With Windows Autopilot, IT teams can deploy, reset, and repurpose new devices with an experience that is zero-touch for IT.
Learning for All Abilities and Levels
Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft solutions come equipped with inclusive tools that help students of all abilities and backgrounds engage and participate. Microsoft 365 offers accommodations for neuro-diverse populations and those with visual or auditory impairments, as well as tools to aid English-language learners.
The Surface family of devices offers you the ultimate in versatility and flexibility, so you can equip classrooms with devices and accessories that meet everyone’s needs. Whether you want a laptop, touchscreen, pen-enabled device, or even a two-in-one, the Surface family has something for every type of learner and teacher without ever scrimping on performance or power.
Want to Find Out More?
To get started with the Surface, visit Education – Surface.