Due to the onset of the Covid19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, everyone had to adapt to the idea of interacting with others through a computer, both for work but also and above all for the school. After two years, the possibility of going back to studying face to face has become real again but now it is integrated with hybrid teaching methods specially to meet students or teachers who are still positive.
A difference to highlight is between hybrid and blended learning. The term “hybrid learning” means that a part of the students is offline, and a part follows online using tools for video conferencing. The “blended learning”, on the other hand, is when a part of the teaching takes place at school with a traditional approach and another part takes place either in other environments such as, for example, companies or cultural centres, or using digital tools. By making the most of all modalities and adopting different approaches, students are offered a complete training.
Many might condemn any approach for teaching that is not at school, but the use of different methodologies has benefits on learning, some of these are:
- Accessibility: many students or teachers can follow the lesson even if they cannot be physically present at the school, not falling behind with the program
- Better student involvement: the new generations are very inclined to use technology, and inserting digital learning activities or materials can make them enthusiastic about studying
- Costs: paper textbooks are a very high expense for families, which can be solved using digital texts and materials
- Training: if the lesson has been recorded, there is the possibility for the student to hear again the explanation of an unclear topic
Surely the pandemic has given way to a modernization of school education which unfortunately was obsolete compared to the world going on, but we as the European Digital Learning Network together with partners from Greece, Poland, Romania, and Italy having the Cyprus Mathematical Society as a coordinator, since 2019 we are carrying out the STEAME GOES HYBRID project.
The project is committed to developing new teaching and learning methods that can work successfully in European schools and to engage students and teachers to learn more about STEAME (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Entrepreneurship). The goals of the project are:
- To create hybrid STEAME teaching and learning methods through innovative and technological approaches,
- To provide digital environment solution with options for existing and future infrastructures with future blueprint solutions in hybrid environment,
- To engage teachers and students in STEAME project based activities in online and distance environment with blended learning methods,
- To increase the level of knowledge in digital technologies and communication,
- To provide quality, virtual hands-on learning opportunities for every student and especially for students working in groups online,
- To promote cloud computing and new technologies under European values and regulations of GDPR and cyber security.
The implementation of the project started in May 2021 and will end in April 2023, and during this period the project has the aim to include STEAME in schools, so that European schools will adapt to the new teaching and learning methodologies, which are proving to be much more valid than traditional ones.