Webinar Recap: Thoughtful Leadership Series – Preparing Teachers for High-Tech, High-Touch Education

On November 30th, ClassIn unveiled its Thoughtful Leadership webinar series with the first event on Preparing Teachers for High-Tech, High-Touch Education.


Webinar poster

Moderated by Yuekun Li, Country Manager of Philippines and Thailand of ClassIn, the webinar featured experienced educators and researchers, including Cheryl Witha, Educator of INTI International University and Founder of Lift as You Rise, Edizon Fermin, Vice President for Academic Affairs at National Teachers College, and Ahmed Tlili, Associate Professor and Co-Director of the OER Lab at the Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University.


Demystifying high-tech, high-touch (HTHT) education, the speakers drew on tried-and-true teaching experiences and qualitative research to foreground pragmatic approaches, teaching frameworks, and realistic goals for how to prepare teachers accordingly.


What is HTHT education?


Originally coined and expanded by John Naisbitt, HTHT highlights the need for personal attention to complement the use of technologies. In the context of education, HTHT education refers to how adaptive technologies can free teachers from traditional lecture-style instruction and enable them to provide personalized instruction with a focus on the development of higher-order skills.

HTHT education refers to how adaptive technologies can free teachers from traditional lecture-style instruction and enable them to provide personalized instruction with a focus on the development of higher-order skills.

In the words of Fermin, “I need teachers who can calibrate learning experiences based on the premise of ‘choose your own adventure’ ”.


What is the goal of HTHT education?


However, advancing higher-order skills does not offer a clear enough picture for the end goal of HTHT education. Instead, Witha deconstructed higher-order thinking into problem-solving, decision-making, as well as productivity. In addition, Fermin believed that the adaptiveness of HTHT education allows teachers to shoot for amplifying student agency, which manifests as the voice, choice, and ownership of students.


Preparing teachers: mindset, instructional models, and training


For educators who are new to the concept of HTHT education, Witha encouraged them to approach the idea by bearing in mind the current landscape of remote learning and how technology can bridge the gap in communication. She invited educators to facilitate engagement rather than isolation as “teaching them [students] how to use the technology is already engagement”. She also proposed customization rather than standardization, where she looked to a future of using AI to customize learning for every single student.



Fermin, on the other hand, cited on-the-ground experiences of Filipino HyFlex teachers as the basis for how to navigate HTHT education. More specifically, he summarized the 5G model:

  • Ganda (beauty): make sense of beauty by beginning with experiences that keep learners in awe

  • Galing (skill): explore a set of skills by sustaining interest in finding patterns, relationships, and outcomes, individually or collaboratively

  • Gahum (power): deepen interaction by maximizing remote collaboration capabilities of technology platforms

  • Giliw (affection): demonstrate empathy by enabling learners to document and share their problem-solving experiences

  • Gugma (love): induce collective wellbeing by incorporating in routines and schedules for wellness check-ins

Edizon Fermin, Vice President for Academic Affairs at National Teachers College, presenting the 5G model

In the meantime, as with any other teaching framework, it takes time, training as well as funding to fully prepare teachers, Tlili and Witha cautioned.


What does an HTHT teacher look like?


Fermin presented the audience with the example of teacher Joyce, who approaches education through “living” instead of “live” instruction. Emphasizing self-paced learning and mental wellbeing, Fermin explained that “If my teacher is like that, I’d think my teacher is telling me: it’s great to be smart, but it is also excellent to be well at the same time.”



Witha and Fermin also drew on teaching practices to further illustrate what HTHT education looks like in classes. “What you are doing in class is that you are facilitating. You are guiding them toward the right way to ask the right questions. It is no longer ‘I teach you listen’, right? Things have changed drastically. It is all about reflecting and getting them to find their own answers,” Witha asserted.

"What you are doing in class is that you are facilitating. You are guiding them toward the right way to ask the right questions. It is no longer ‘I teach you listen’, right? Things have changed drastically. It is all about reflecting and getting them to find their own answers." -- Cheryl Witha, Educator of INTI International University and Founder of Lift as You Rise

Fermin echoed the message of guiding students, using the example of a remote culinary class. He pointed out that the teacher in green encourages more thinking and exploration on the part of students.


Edizon Fermin, Vice President for Academic Affairs at National Teachers College, presenting how to apply HTHT education

OMO learning to effectively deliver HTHT education


With clear goals and pedagogies, Tlili presented an emerging learning method – the Online-Merge-Offline (OMO) approach – that will maximize the impact of HTHT education. He explained that compared to hybrid learning, “OMO learning relies on hybrid infrastructure and open educational practices to merge online and offline (i.e., physical classrooms) learning spaces together in real-time while simultaneously seamlessly teaching students in both the physical classroom and online.”


Ahmed Tlili,Associate Professor and Co-Director of the OER Lab at the Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University, presenting his research on Online-Merge-Offline (OMO) education)

Tlili stressed that OMO learning affords utmost openness and interaction, which achieves student-centered instruction instead of passive consumption of knowledge.


OMO learning is not just something that looks good on paper. Case studies from China show that teachers who adopted OMO learning found the technologies, specifically ClassIn X and classroom hardware, to be promoting flexibility and facilitating communication.


Ahmed Tlili,Associate Professor and Co-Director of the OER Lab at the Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University, presenting his case studies on Online-Merge-Offline (OMO) education)

As the event drew to an end, Tlili highlighted the importance of bottom-up and collaborative efforts to bring HTHT education to reality. Similarly, Fermin left the audience with the powerful message that “A discussion platform like this where teachers like me, Cheryl, Ahmed, and Yuekun from the industry are able to come together, that can be what makes HTHT education work. Because if you only work individually, we are one drop. But if you put our acts together, we can become an ocean that can change the landscape of education in the new normal.”




Related Resources


Event Recording: https://live.classin.com/pc.html?lessonKey=444798e35447697e

About ClassIn: https://www.classin.com/en/

OMO learning research: Online-Merge-Offline (OMO) Learning: International Scholars Spearhead Research on a New Way to Learn


Read more:

Webinar Recap: Sustaining Continuous Learning amid School Closures in Uganda

Best Virtual Classroom Software of 2021-2022

Online Learning: What Have We Learned in the Past School Year


 

*ClassIn is a leading edtech company that provides a one-stop solution for digital learning.


ClassIn software enables interactive classrooms, in-school social app, lesson scheduling, homework management, and school management dashboard, which start free and scale up to meet our customers' needs at any stage of teaching. Today, thousands of schools and institutions around the world benefit from ClassIn's powerful and easy-to-use tools to teach online and offline.