Introduction

We know all too well how the world of education has been turned upside down. Zoom has replaced the classroom presenter sharing thoughts with an LLI audience eager to learn, enjoy, and relish each other’s company. But surprise of surprises, some of us actually like remote learning.

We like seeing faces along with names, instead of looking at the back of someone’s head. We like not having to search for parking spaces. Those of us with physical disabilities are relieved not having to walk between Campus Center and Hegeman.

The Next Step

Of course, watching a computer screen is not everyone’s cup of tea. Nonetheless, education, like so much of pandemic life, will never go back to what it was before COVID-19. At Bard LLI, thanks to dedicated teams of volunteers, successful online efforts, beginning with SummerFest and since, have been warmly received by members.

The next step will be hybrid learning, a logical combination of Zoom and the classroom experience. Typically, hybrid learning consists of a class of students on campus and at-home students watching the same things, participating in the class on their computers. The teacher typically uses tools like whiteboards, video projectors, and PowerPoint presentations. This environment has been universally accepted at all grade levels.

 

Stay Tuned for Exciting News!

Now, here is exciting news: Bard LLI has a few courses coming up centered around a presenter in a natural environment, like hiking or gardening, that can be offered as hybrid learning. In Skip Doyle’s class, A Voice in the Wilderness, Skip will lead a group of 12 members walking through Olana and Hyde Park, reading poetry and listening to members read their poetry choices. Thanks to simple smartphone technology, some members will be virtual viewers, traveling along with the group via Zoom. Difficult? At first glance, we thought so.

A team consisting of Chuck Mishaan, Michael Simpler, Jeff Christiansen, and me, took to the field to see what would work and what wouldn’t. After two hours of experimenting, the process was simplified and, more importantly, successful. Jeff acted as session manager while Chuck, Michael, and I each used our smartphones as though we were on location. Jeff, in the same type of role as a TV control room director, chose between camera 1, 2, or 3. Bingo! It worked.

Next month we’ll report on further trials and details, and how it will add to our already amazing world of online learning.

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