Back to School: A Look at Hybrid Learning

By February 4, 2021 February 16th, 2021 No Comments

When a global pandemic forced children around the world out of their classrooms nearly a year ago, teachers, parents and even some politicians turned to technology solutions to keep kids “in school” while also keeping them safe from the virus.

“Due to COVID-19, kindergartens have been taking online and offline classes at the same time since March last year, and my son was not able to adapt to online classes at first,” said Kwak Eun Hye, TL, ESG Team at SK hynix Inc. “For 11 months, my husband and I played a role as parents to help him adapt to online classes, and I feel sorry that my son cannot meet his friends in person.”

The shift wasn’t easy. Access to technology – whether devices or connectivity – wasn’t widespread. Educators hadn’t come up with a plan on how to keep students engaged in learning over a Zoom call. And the ability to focus and concentrate from home was challenging for both students and teachers.

“Sometimes it was difficult for my daughter to concentrate and not be distracted from the lesson, and to complete home tasks on time and send them to the teacher,” said Andrei Tsikhanovich, Engineer / SQE / Mobile FW Verification at SK hynix memory solutions Eastern Europe. “We created all the conditions for our daughter to have a comfortable and successful study at home and encourage her.”

A year later, some of those challenges have been addressed – but the effectiveness of digital learning continues to be a struggle. While students have grown accustomed to online video classes and other digital exercises meant to stimulate their brains, the difficulties of the last year are revealing areas of remote learning that fell short and will continue to do-so until administrators can get it right.

“Because online classes are attended by many children all over the country, the online class time is relatively short at about two hours,” said Zhong Zhang from QC Department Manager at SK hynix Chongqing Office. “Not only is our child’s enthusiasm for education not affected, but also, she is very interested in this new way of class.”

The demand for technology-based solutions designed for remote learning isn’t going away anytime soon. In some areas, schools are gradually reopening. In other areas, where the pandemic continues to spread, online learning isn’t going away anytime soon. Each day, it becomes clearer that a hybrid approach to learning – with smaller groups of students staggering between on-site and online classrooms – could be in place for a while.

“My daughter is 13 years old now, and she doesn’t require supervision and manages her work on her own,” said Rodel Pulido, NAND FAQE, Staff Engineer at SK hynix America. “And most of all, she loves the online classes better, as she gets to sleep a little longer, according to her.”

Technology’s role

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In an earlier time, before broadband connectivity, cloud-based software or video-equipped devices, remote learning during a pandemic would have looked significantly different and been exponentially more challenging. But today’s technology is strong and robust – whether the computers or tablet devices, the back-end equipment powering the cloud or the home wireless routers that create networks capable of being shared by everyone in the home.

For every technology touchpoint, components such as semiconductor memory are at the heart of the experience. Consider that, because of that memory technology, video conferencing – whether for business meetings or science lessons – can mostly happen without hiccups, even when multiple people in the house are streaming at the same time.

But technology access and performance doesn’t necessarily create a universally level playing field. While some regions have connectivity issues, in many instances the problem is at the device level. Consider that, for some communities, the computers might be older and not equipped with the components that will support the data processing demands that come with transmitting high-definition video in real time. That’s where upgrades to device’s memory and CPU can make a big difference.

“In the beginning, teachers and children struggled to get used to the whole new system,” said Hea Jung Shin, Specialist from HR Team at SK hynix memory solutions America. “I, as a parent, had to sign up for various documents and set up the system for my child. Teachers and children sometimes had internet issues or technical problems such as voice echo or screen freezing.”

Likewise, knowing that those components are critical to powering these robust connections, software developers can innovate to make online learning experiences that much better.

What Schools Will Need

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As the hybrid learning model extends to more schools, the need to “level the playing field” between students in the classroom and students at home will only grow greater. What sort of devices will classrooms need in order to give students at home the on-site experience over a screen? Will virtual reality become part of the experience? And what types of technology – and devices – will be needed to make the experience feel seamless for everyone involved?

Certainly, school administrators are asking these types of questions. Software and hardware developers are likely asking them, too. But they aren’t the only ones. Technology companies, those that develop the internal components that make all of this possible, are also talking about it. And they’re delivering the innovation that will be needed to improve remote learning and remote working and deliver a new way of engaging with technology in a post-pandemic society.

“The development of online education, remote working and video conferencing have become a trend of major enterprises,” said Jun Zhu, Culture and Publicity Department at SK hynix Wuxi Office. “As a supplier of AI and cloud server, I think this can provide a driving force for the future development of our company.”

Our At-Home Teachers

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Here at SK hynix, we are joined by many parents who have also played the role of teachers during this pandemic. We would like to applaud our colleagues for their tireless commitment to our company and their families.