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How Can Classrooms Promote Student Collaboration and Engagement in Hybrid Learning Environments?

hybrid learning

Nigel Brown was joined by Dr. Elka Walsh, the National Education & Skills Lead at Microsoft Canada for the “Empowering the Future of Teaching and Learning with Hybrid and Hy-Flex Classrooms” Webinar. Dr. Walsh works with post-secondary and K-12 institutions to show them the future of learning. 

Dr. Walsh shares that 85% of faculty and educators believe that the pandemic accelerated the future of learning by a decade. Additionally, 93% of students believe that online learning will benefit their education. Hybrid and flexible learning environments are here to stay.  

In this webinar, we discuss: 

  • How can education institutions use technology to promote student collaboration and engagement? 
  • What technology is available to education institutions to support flexible learning? 
  • How do we bring students back to learning while supporting faculty? 

How can education institutions promote student collaboration and engagement? 

Engagement is a marker of student success; when students are disengaged, they don’t learn. 

When we can get students to engage and feel like they are right in the room no matter where they are, or that students who are in the room are able to connect and collaborate with their peers who may be elsewhere – this is our opportunity then to really think differently about what that experience is so that they can hear their peers, as well as engage with them to promote collaborative opportunities,” says Dr. Walsh. 

What technology is available to education institutions to support hybrid learning? 

Nigel and Dr. Walsh share that setting up your classroom as a Microsoft Teams Room helps to promote student engagement. With a Microsoft Teams Room, you have a centralized console to manage the user experience of your classroom environment. The centralized console acts as the brain of your meeting. The console allows users easily to manage meetings, schedule a new meeting, and see the upcoming meeting room schedule.  

During the webinar, Nigel and Dr. Walsh discussed some of the technology available to support your Microsoft Teams Room experience. 

The MTR brings together all the audio-visual aspects of your classroom experience into a centralized management hub for a seamless experience. When you join a meeting in your MTR classroom, your content camera, microphone, and other AV technology are automatically engaged.  

During the webinar, Nigel picks up his Logitech remote to control his camera. In this example, the user can change the settings so that the camera automatically tracks and follows the speaker or stays as a static view. The camera focuses where you want it to, depending on where you move in the room. 

The Microsoft Surface Hub is another popular tool used in education classrooms. It is a high-powered whiteboard that provides educators with an interactive content-sharing tool. It can be outfitted with wheels to be moved from classroom to classroom. With the Surface Pen, you can highlight things on the screen with an easy-to-use “pencil” and “eraser”. And in a hybrid experience, the whiteboard technology is accessible to students and in class. When the educator moves in front of the camera and blocks the view of the whiteboard, students can participate in learning online without losing line of sight to the content. 

How do we bring students back to learning while supporting faculty?

To bring students back to learning, we need to support faculty with the technology required to keep students engaged and learning. At the same time, that technology needs to equip educators with functional capabilities to tech in a hybrid environment. A Microsoft Teams Room helps create an ecosystem of learning in a collaborative environment for students learning online and in-person. During the webinar, Nigel talked about the ability to seamlessly join the MTR. 

If you’re the instructor trying to learn the new tech in the room, the process can be daunting, but the Microsoft Teams Room console makes that easy. Nigel explains, “it gives me a nice preview pane of what the camera sees. Then, when I tap the drop-down list, I can pick a camera I want to.” And it’s that easy to use.  

At the end of the day, empowering the future of teaching and learning means investing in technology that creates a seamless hybrid learning experience for students and educators. When we think about faculty and educators in classrooms today, we need to think about the online learning experience and how we can elevate that experience for students. 

If you’re interested in setting up your own Microsoft Teams Room, the team at Microserve is here to help. With over 30 years of experience, the AV experts at Microserve know the ins and outs of today’s technology and can help you equip your MTR with the best technology at the best price. Contact us today or check out our past and future webinars

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