Managing students in the classroom can be a challenge on its own, but teachers are now faced with the difficulty of facilitating students both in the classroom and from home in a hybrid school environment due to the global pandemic. Teachers have had to go back and forth between the classroom and at home to TFA -- Teach From Anywhere -- due to changing regulations, with students having to do the same. Although there are bound to be problems with communication, cutting-edge technology is making it a little easier for schools to adapt to the virtual classroom.
With the combination of advances in technology and logistical challenges of school closures and quickly changing regulations, the best solution teachers are finding is a Hyflex teaching model. By leveraging the advantages of hybrid and flexible learning, schools can create adaptable, personalized learning environments for students, wherever they may be.
The Hyflex teaching model is when teachers offer the same content online and in-person by streaming the course live online, combining hybrid (remote and in-person) and flexible (flexible times, learning styles, physical spaces, and more). Classes are recorded and can be viewed asynchronously after the lecture or class has finished, and students in the classroom can interact with those at home using video conferencing, online chat, and learning management systems.
When creating a hybrid classroom, you’ll need:
Video conferencing technology helps large numbers of people communicate, enabling group meetings to operate efficiently at home. Installation of video conferencing cameras and the use of video communication apps have made it possible for teachers to project the classroom to students learning at home.
Having a video option for class has become essential for those who are unable to attend in person due to staggered schedules, health reasons, or other student limitations. Video conferencing creates a flexible classroom environment, offering learning in formats that are accessible to students from home or the classroom.
To use video conferencing technology for hybrid learning, you can:
Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Skype have become household names for students and teachers across the country during the pandemic, but many other companies also provide video conferencing technology catered to school environments. 360-degree, high definition cameras like the Meeting Owl and built-in computer and external speakers paired with apps, like Zoom, make it easier for students and teachers to communicate in real-time.
In a hybrid learning environment, some students may not feel comfortable speaking in an online classroom. Students may have the option to turn off their microphone and camera, making class participation a little more complicated. This is why collaborative education tools can be a great way to encourage student participation and make students feel more comfortable in an online learning environment.
Collaborative learning tools include features like online chat, Q&As, virtual hand raising, and more to help students participate however they feel most comfortable.
Google Classroom allows teachers to facilitate learning by creating and assigning work to students. Each assignment has its own folder and students can navigate easily through the platform to find old assignments. Google Classroom has also integrated with Google Meet so students can now access video meetings through easy-to-use links. Teachers can take advantage of several features that help students actively and consistently participate online as well as in the classroom which include:
Blackboard is a Learning Management System (LMS) that allows teachers to manage courses and give out assignments on one platform. Teachers can post content that is easily accessible to the entire classroom and instructors can create a dropdown menu so that students can access grades and see assignments. Surveys and tests can help gather information from students and teachers can set up discussion boards and threads to boost student interaction.
With the recent rise in hybrid learning, a lot of collaborative learning is now done through video and audio connection. Set up the Hyflex classroom so that students and teachers can connect with peers working from home. Students should have access to laptops and cameras should be set up so that students can see the material on the board or in the classroom. This is also important for students learning asynchronously — leverage cloud-based apps where students can create presentations or access materials in real-time and collaborate.
Hyflex (hybrid-flexible) or flexible classrooms offer personalized learning and choices for students during the school day.
In 2021, many teachers are combining hybrid and flexible learning to best work with the resources they have available and address student needs during the pandemic. Flexible learning can improve student learning and knowledge retention as well as teacher effectiveness.
Hyflex helps students by giving them a chance to learn when, how, and where they are most comfortable, empowering students to participate in their preferred learning environment.
Hybrid learning is here to stay. Consult with your students when creating a hybrid learning environment to find out how they prefer to learn, socialize, and work together. Make sure all students have access to any needed technology and offer lots of ways to participate for your students.