By Vibhuti Vardhan, Principal Consultant, EnprisePro Management Consultants
The pandemic seems to have overstayed its welcome and faced with the unpredictable challenges, K–12 schools have been forced to get creative — finding new ways to facilitate learning at a distance, sustaining student engagement all the while delivering consistent success.
Safe to say, it has not been a cakewalk. Data collected highlights the continually changing, state-by-state nature of our country’s COVID-19 response: Some school districts were ordered open, others remained completely closed and many are left to find a functional balance between in-person and virtual learning. Given the unfamiliarity of the K-12 system with virtual learning at this scale, substantial confusion remains around effective application across online environments — and what this solution means for schools going ahead in 2021.
Schools and colleges are therefore adapting to new challenges and adjusting to the new normal. With the present situation, it’s unlikely that these educational institutions will operate as they once did.
Schools are considering various options like staggered scheduling, smaller class sizes, fully remote classes, and Hybrid (virtual and in-person combined) class structures. School management is looking at various ways to provide safety measures when it’s time to return. Although distance learning presents its challenges, many schools are now considering some form of it.
With remote and virtual learning, one of the main obstacles faced by educators is the lack of engagement from students. It’s challenging to keep the students interested and motivated when they’re sitting in front of a screen.
So the question arises:
How do schools create an engaging and inclusive classroom environment when students are unable to attend the class in person, due to safety issues or illness, or quarantine?
The answer to that is a Classroom technology that enables hybrid learning (remote and in-person), as it sets educators and students up for triumph by allowing them to teach and learn from anywhere. They can connect virtually face-to-face, even if they can’t be together in the flesh. The future of learning is transcending boundaries each day with Hybrid.
The act of teaching in a hybrid learning environment is an art form. Due to the mix of physically present students and students attending remotely, hybrid classrooms require educators to pull off a delicate balance between sturdy, conventional teaching and modern, tech-savvy methods. Sounds like a piece of cake, right? (Teachers, in unison— Wrong!) Voila, here comes SWIVL to their aid!
Any classroom becomes a hybrid classroom with the SWIVL [www.SWIVL.com]. SWIVL is an innovative video collaboration system that allows the educator to hold and record a variety of audio-video sessions in a Hybrid learning environment. These videos can also be used for flipped classrooms, professional development, and teacher/student observations.
How SWIVL works –
The SWIVL Robot moves 360 degrees tracking the teacher wherever she moves- like a stealthy shadow, recording their video and audio as well as capturing student voices during the live-streamed session. The teacher can hear remote students through flexible audio setups that the classroom is equipped to handle.
SWIVL operates through the SWIVL App on any Android or iOS mobile device. The App comes with a free Cloud sign-in and space for asynchronous learning. SWIVL also supports live streaming applications like Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet, etc. It allows remote students to join the hybrid/distance learning session.
Further, the add-on platform – Teams by SWIVL, offers secured sharing, video analysis tools with features such as time-stamped commenting, bookmarking, rubrics, and editing capabilities that help educators build the finest practice video libraries.
Here are a few ways schools are using the SWIVL to establish a collaborative, trust-based learning environment.
- Synchronous Distance Learning
Some schools are considering keeping classes fully remote in the fall, with students learning from home full-time. With distance learning, educators rely on synchronous and asynchronous learning tools to communicate and connect with students.
SWIVL can be used if teachers are teaching in a classroom setting (without in-person students) and want the flexibility to move around the classroom and write on the whiteboard. It enables the session to transform from a dull and monotonous environment into an interactive one. It allows teachers to hold engaging sessions with their students to increase student participation during remote classes.
This synchronous, face-to-face class time is best used for activities that boost student engagement like:
- Presentations and lectures
- Group brainstorming sessions
- Traditional classroom activities (e.g., small group activities, puzzles, games)
- Hybrid Learning
If your school plans to adopt a hybrid learning model, the class will contain a mix of in-person and virtual attendees. In a socially distanced classroom setup, the SWIVL can capture the entire room by following the teachers or presenters as they move across the classroom.
With its 360° view, students who join the class from home can see their teacher, the whiteboard, and their fellow classmates. This gives students who are learning remotely the feeling that they’re in the room and allow them to connect and engage with their teacher and peers.
Nearly 50,000+ schools, colleges, and universities across the world including India are using the SWIVL extensively to connect students with educators.
- Faculty and Staff Meetings
It’s important for teachers and administrators to stay connected, whether they’re at school or working from home. The SWIVL can also be used to hold virtual meetings with remote and in-person teachers, administrators, and staff. Its plug-and-play functionality makes it easy to use, and it’s portable so you can move it from room to room.
So, if you are an Educator and wondering how to get your act together for holding hybrid sessions in your classrooms, look no further. Just write to the SWIVL representative at firstname.lastname@example.org for registering for weekly online demonstration.