As schools across the country wrap up another unusual school year, most K-12 education is still being facilitated with remote learning. However, educators are beginning to see the long-term value in a hybrid approach to teaching, according to AT&T’s* 2021 Future of School Report.

  • 94% of teachers are open to the idea of hybrid learning with the proper resources, curriculum and support
  • 71% of teachers support virtual days for inclement weather
  • 78% of teachers are in favor of virtual tutoring sessions or enrichment programs
  • 60% of teachers are open to livestreaming their classrooms for students who are home sick

These sentiments are consistent across teachers of all grade levels and low- and high-income schools, as well as parents:

  • 83% of parents support virtual school days for inclement weather
  • 84% of parents support virtual tutoring or enrichment programs
  • 85% of parents want the option for their kids who are home sick to join class virtually

Today, 66% of teachers and parents say that students are still learning either fully remote or in a hybrid format. While remote learning got off to a rocky start, with 43% of teachers noting their experience a year ago was challenging, many have adapted to this new environment and learned tips, tricks and best practices to navigate virtual classrooms. Additionally, 48% of teachers voice a need for curricula better suited for hybrid or online teaching. Assistance from administrators was widely acknowledged by teachers with 83% reporting they felt supported with new online teaching technologies and strategies.

These findings come as the FCC stated that the first application window of the Emergency Connectivity Fund will prioritize forward-looking connectivity for school districts to help close the homework gap. This $7.17 billion program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and will enable schools to purchase laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, and broadband connectivity for students and school staff.

The last year has accelerated the possibilities of hybrid learning for the future of education. It also showed that education doesn’t only need to happen in a physical school building and kids can learn anything, anytime and anywhere. This expedites the need for schools and teachers to have access to the right technology and resources. As educators plan for the upcoming school year and beyond, hybrid learning will play a key part in the future of education.

What will the future of learning look like?

As school administrators and teachers plan and prepare for the next iteration of learning, what do they need for an effective hybrid learning model? How should parents, teachers and students expect the future of education to really look like? Here are some of the technologies and solutions that will shape the future of education.

  • Closing the homework gap with mobile connectivity:

Delivering high-quality education for all students is the goal of every teacher—whether students are learning remotely, completing schoolwork at home, in class, or a combination of all. For an effective hybrid learning model, every student in every household needs access to reliable connectivity and devices. Wireless services help ensure learning can continue outside the four walls of the classroom. With Federal Stimulus Funds for Education, affordable solutions can help schools keep students and teachers connected.

  • Connecting on campus:

As educators prepare for the digital future, high-capacity network infrastructure will play a significant role on campus and in the classroom. Access to communication tools and online resources will be the largest driver for additional bandwidth to support education platforms and conferencing applications. Technology will help enable more consistent and immediate communication between teachers, students and parents in school and at home. Unified voice and collaboration applications that are easy to use and can move on and off campus have become a necessity.

  • Safeguarding access & data:

Ensuring that students are protected while accessing the internet in and out of the classroom is a concern shared by all educators and parents.  Content filtering services and device management solutions can be used by school districts as part of a plan to filter internet sites and block student access to unacceptable content. Additionally, safeguarding sensitive student data and school information from cyberattacks is a reality in today’s world.  From assessing risks to protecting against a breach and then detecting and responding when they happen—all require a multi-layered security approach.

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