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How NearHub Reinvents Hybrid Teaching

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By The NEARHUB Team January 30, 2023
Hybrid teaching
As the needs and interests of students have changed over the years, so have the ways educators teach their students. The days of students primarily learning from textbooks and in-class lectures have passed and have been replaced with more hands-on and collaborative approaches that are grounded in the use of technology. We've also seen an evolution in the tools that institutions use, as they've moved from black boards to projectors to the most interactive and engaging educational tool yet – the interactive whiteboard.
With all the changes that higher education has witnessed in the past couple of years, teachers need a better way to communicate with their students, and to be able to do so in a way that fits everyone's busy schedules. Students may not be able to make it to campus due to inclement weather, illness like COVID-19, or be a permanent remote student. NearHub Board can help all classes communicate more effectively, whether they're in-person or online.

Transform the way we teach - From chalkboard writing to projector to whiteboard

Phase I: Traditional chalkboard-writing

Considering the blackboard as a tool for human writing, the history of the blackboard can be traced back to tens of thousands of years ago, when ancient humans painted on caves and rock walls.
Strictly speaking, the blackboard is a modern innovation. In 1800, James Pillans, the principal of Edinburgh High School in Scotland, was teaching geography. In order to draw a larger map for his students, he joined many stone slabs into one larger stone slab. A year later, in the United States, George Baron, a mathematics teacher at West Point Military Academy, also began to explain more complex mathematical formulas to students with mosaic slates.
By 1840, blackboards had been fully produced commercially, with pine processed into smooth planks and then painted with oil-based paint. By the 20th century, steel was used as the material for blackboards, which provided rich choices for school classrooms and commercial office spaces.
Chalkboards are an inexpensive and durable alternative to expensive paper and ink. In such classes, students are more focused on knowledge. The teacher is not the focal point of the classroom, but the lens through which knowledge is created and interpreted. As the teacher draws the class's attention, he projects knowledge onto the blackboard, gradually forming more and more details on a blank surface. Therefore, we can fully consider that the blackboard is the surface of thought.
However, we've noticed the following flaws in daily use:
  1. Due to the limit of physical space, the content cannot be totally presented on the blackboard.
  2. Erasing and writing of chalk will create a lot of dust, gradually leading to a negative impact on the health of students and teachers in the long run.
  3. The presentation form of the content is extremely limited, which makes it impossible to stimulate students' interest in learning.
  4. Lots of civilization has been lost without digital content preservation.

Phase II: Projector and big screen

Later, projectors and big screens gradually penetrated into the education market, lying the groundwork for digital education. At that time, the birth of the projector and big screens broke everyone's understanding of the traditional education model, while the concept of multimedia-teaching gradually spread. What can projectors and big screens offer to educators?
  1. The slides can be stored and reused for a long time, so that teachers have enough time to study the teaching materials and methods, forming a virtuous circle, which finally achieves the improvement of the quality of teaching.
  2. The projector can save the teacher's explanation time and writing time in class, and can greatly expand the teaching content. Students have more time to practice, which improves their problem-solving skills over time.
  3. The teacher can repeat the teaching content through the projector to strengthen the circulation memory.
However, with the popularization of this technology, some defects were inevitably exposed:
  1. All teaching content must be stored on a PC or storage device in advance. Teachers still have no choice but to do charlkboard-writing to express some impromptu ideas.
  2. Projector lamps have limited life and are expensive to repair.
  3. Most traditional projectors or large screens are not equipped with microphones, which closes the possibility of remote classroom expansion in the later stage.

Phase III: Local digital whiteboards

A few years ago, with the further popularization of digital education, the 1st generation of whiteboards was born. However, with the gradual diversification of educational scenarios like remote teaching, hybrid teaching and brainstorming, more defects arose:
  1. No remote conferencing capability - Due to pandemic, lots of students have to study from home sometimes. Some teachers have to teach from home as well. At this time, there is no way to achieve remote learning.
  2. No way to share & collaborate - Since there is no cloud storage, teachers cannot share whiteboarding content with one click after class, and students have no choice but to record key points during class time, which greatly reduces teaching efficiency.
  3. No wireless screencast - Since there is no network module, teachers can only project their computer through the HDMI cable.

Phase IV: Interactive hybrid whiteboards

Due to such a market pain point, interactive whiteboards were born to transform the way teachers do chalkboard-writing. The intelligent screen makes it efficient and convenient for teachers to explain things with annotation while presenting relevant materials, whether they’re in-person or online.
  1. Teach Through Touch - One of the best features of an Interactive Whiteboard is the first word in its name, it’s interactive! You can use your fingertips just like you would with any standard mouse. Tapping your finger on the board allows you to open various applications or even other functions such as highlighting or annotating.
  2. Infinite canvas and passive stylus - Drag and drop anything you want to show your students into infinite canvas to get more done, rapidly. Also, with the passive stylus, you'll enjoy the smooth pen-to-paper feel much better than traditional charlknoard-writing.
  3. Display Content Simultaneously - The ability to display more than one screen can be extremely helpful when teaching to anyone. Just like a computer, with interactive whiteboards, you are able to actually split the screen into smaller sections, giving you the ability to work on one side, while displaying an image, video or content on the other.
  4. Download Educational Applications - The amount of applications available to Interactive Whiteboard owners is immense. Examples of some of the applications are Adobe, Blackboard, Calculator, ClassDojo, Duolingo, Google Earth, Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Office, Nasa and the list goes on and on.
  5. A Movable Resource - Unlike many tech tools used in the classroom, a NearHub whiteboard can also be easily moved from one room to another. NearHub offers a portable stand that’s easy to set up and even easier to move around the classroom or to other rooms or lecture halls in the school, giving you the option to use the smartboard for larger student presentations, professional development events, and other school assemblies.

Whiteboards help teachers engage students

Getting your students’ attention? Not an easy feat. Keeping their attention? One of teaching’s greatest challenges. After the disruption of the past couple of years, student engagement has never been more difficult.
NearHub whiteboards offer a myriad of resources to help engage students that were not available in the past.
  1. Educators can teach using interactive games , show video demonstrations, and access unlimited audio resources–all at the touch of their fingertips.
  2. With NearHub SaaS , students can collaborate in real time on their own devices, even if they’re not in the same classroom or lecture hall together.
  3. The NearHub board itself can be used to captivate students on its own. Students will be attracted to the writing and drawing capabilities the board offers, and its 20 multi-touch points allow multiple students to interact with the screen simultaneously via touch or stylus.

Aids in remote teaching

In a recent studyas, nearly up to 42% of teachers declared they have considered leaving or retiring from their current position during 2021 partly due to the challenges remote teaching had caused. However, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared for future emergency measures. If we do find ourselves locked down again, a NearHub Smart Whiteboard can play an instrumental role in remote teaching.
NearHub allows educators to use their favorite video conferencing apps to host virtual classes, record classes for students who cannot attend, and allows remote students to work and interact on the same Canvas as their teachers or classmates, all in real-time.

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