A Modern Fairytale – Breaking Up with Hybrid: It’s not you, it’s me.

In a quaint village nestled between rolling hills and whispering woods, there lay an enchanting collection of buildings known as ‘the school’. For generations, this institute had been a bustling hive of activity, where young learners from near and far gathered to feast on knowledge, served up by the wise and the learned. The air was always electric with the sound of lively debates and the halls echoed with the footsteps of students rushing from one lecture to another.

Then one fateful day, a shadow crept across the land. A wicked curse known as the Corona Pandemic forced the village into a deep and lonely slumber. The once lively school stood desolate; their grandeur with nary a soul to fill them.

But in their greatest hour of need, a mysterious entity made its presence known. It was called Hybrid Teaching, a powerful magic which could be in many places at once. This conjurer offered the school a spell that could unite the physical and the virtual, creating a bridge across the chasms of isolation.

The grand wizards and scholarly mages of the school were wary at first, for they cherished the sacred tradition of face-to-face enlightenment. Yet, with the curse showing no signs of weakening, they conceded to the will of the times. They embarked on a grand quest to erect the necessary totems—from speaker-tracking cameras to software woven with intricate algorithms – that could merge two worlds into one.

Slowly, the gears of this new magic began to turn, and the wizards found themselves enamored with the enchantments of Hybrid Teaching. They rejoiced in the way it connected them with learners from across distant lands, and the halls of the school hummed once more with the sounds of education. The wisdom of the sages could now reach the furthest corners of the world, and the learners could drink from the fountain of knowledge without leaving their hearts.

For a time, it seemed as though a new golden age had dawned upon the school. The love affair with Hybrid Teaching was passionate and all-consuming. This new magic had brought them together in the darkest of times, lighting a torch in the oppressive gloom of the pandemic.

Yet, as the seasons changed and the curse of the pandemic was slowly lifted, a sense of longing began to stir within the walls of the school. They had been bewitched by the convenience and the reach of Hybrid Teaching, but their heart yearned for something that the magic could not provide. They missed the essence of their true calling—the intimate and intricate dance of in-person learning.

The spell of Hybrid Teaching, as potent as it was, could not mimic the sparks of inspiration that flew when eyes met in understanding or the warm camaraderie that blossomed in the libraries and cafeterias. The school remembered the laughter shared over spilled ink and the profound breakthroughs that only happened when minds and souls collided in the same space.

With a heavy heart, the school came to realize that Hybrid Teaching, for all its grandeur, was not the destined partner they sought. The charm was wearing thin; the virtual connections, once a lifeline, now felt like echoes of the true symphony of learning they longed to conduct.

So it was, with the gentle turning of the pages of time, the school stood before Hybrid Teaching. With gratitude for its service during the darkest nights, they whispered a solemn farewell. The breakup was tender; there was no anger or spite, for both knew that this conclusion was inevitable.

The school reopened its ancient doors, inviting the world once more to sit within their walls. The teachers were ready to pass on their wisdom in the way they knew best, with chalk in hand and a sea of eager eyes before them.

And what of Hybrid Teaching? It stepped back into the shadows, its task completed. It became a legend, a tale to tell of a time when the world stood still, and learning had to find a new path.

The school flourished once more, their unique spirit of togetherness and shared discovery renewed and reinvigorated. They had been transformed by the trials they had faced, emerging with a renewed appreciation for the magic that occurs when people come together in pursuit of knowledge.

As for the villagers and scholars, they would often speak of the time when Hybrid Teaching walked among them. They would speak of it with a fondness for the solace it provided but with a recognition that some enchantments are meant only for a season and that the truest magic lies in the human connection that no spell can replicate.

Written for OEB Global 2023 by Vincent Meertens.

2 Responses

  1. Brian Mulligan

    And those students who had to care for children or parents, or had to work to survive, or lived far away in the distant woods, went back to their difficult lives studying or gave up and looked from afar at the privileged children having great fun at the school. (paid for by the taxes being collected by the well meaning king).

  2. Jef Staes

    I agree … this is happening. But it is the result of zero experience in disruptive innovation. The same would have happened with the talking movies if silent actors had to become talking actors without the passion, the talents and the competences. The ‘talking movies’ would have been so bad that everyone would return to the age of ‘silent movies’!

    Education lacks the courage to cast and protect … to organically evolve to ‘blended / hybrid’ with the right actors at the right time. Even the current state of e-learning technology is not adapted to the need of passionate and talented students & teachers but to the needs of a system that thrives on discipline and intelligence to deliver a workforce that is able to function in a ‘function description. The museum wins … 😎


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