My Approaches to Hybrid learning
Updated: Feb 16, 2022
In this month's blog post I explore my approaches to hybrid learning. My reason for choosing this topic, Was partly as I'm currently having to deliver hybrid lessons, it however is also this month's TweetMeet topic.
So what is hybrid learning?
For me, ‘Hybrid learning’ is when you have some of your students connecting to your class remotely from home and the remainder of your students being in the classroom with you.
This is not to be confused with ‘Flipped learning’ where you would share online resources and activities that students are expected to engage with or complete before arriving in the classroom. Or blended learning where students engage with a mixture of online activities and face-to-face activities whilst being in College or School.
With the ongoing pandemic we continue to see students and staff having to isolate at home, with the latest variante of COVID resulting in mild symptoms the students are well enough to join the lesson remotely.
The College where I work uses Office 365 as it's main productivity tool so in most my approaches are going to refer to how I use Microsoft teams, however most of these techniques could be similarly applied if your School or College has Google apps and makes use of Google meet.
Despite being in different locations I am really keen for all the students to feel part of the class being able to interact with all aspects of the lesson. One of the ways to achieve this and to make sure that all students have an opportunity to contribute to the class. I do this through the use of a randomizer wheel that picks out the names of students for me to involve. I use wheeldecide.com . I like it because it is easy to use. I can add names of the students in advance, it generates a unique URL and then I can't paste it into my presentation and launch the wheel with ease.
Here is my video guide to Wheel Decide
As an analogue alternative I've also got a jar of lollipop sticks with students names on I pull one stick out at random and at the end of the lesson I can see at a glance that I have included all students within the lesson regardless of whether they are in front of me or connecting to the class remotely.
So I don't have to control two computers and advanced presentations separately for those at home and in the class. I launch Microsoft teams and use the screen share feature to share my presentation.
Here's my video guide to using the share screen for presenting in Microsoft teams.
I typically like to start my lessons with an activity, something to get the students engaged with straight away. I use this to either check on what they remember from the previous lesson, or if it is a new topic I will see what in the way of prior knowledge they have. This typically takes the form of a Mentimeter and a Quizizz quiz.
For a new topic, I get the student to list all the words they associate with that topic, the word cloud feature in Mentimeter works really well for this, you can see the word cloud form as the students contribute their words and you can also see how many students have contributed.
When it comes to sharing the link to the mentimeter or to the Quizizz I either put a joining link in the chat on Teams or I add a QR code to my presentation. The QR code is automatically created in Microsoft Edge, you can access it by clicking on the QR code symbol that appears in the right hand corner of the address bar. I find students typically prefer to connect to the activity via their mobile phone so that they can keep the Teams window on the presentation or the view of the class.
Here is my video guide QR code creation using Microsoft Edge
If I have multiple students connecting remotely to the lesson, then I find it is useful to make use of breakout rooms. They are easy to create and I can either assign the students in advance or as I create the rooms.
One disadvantage of using breakout rooms is that sometimes the students are not focusing on the task at hand and it's only when you join that breakout room that they return to the topic. To counter this I like to provide them with a means of capturing their discussion. I do it in two different two ways .
Either I create a padlet style PowerPoint which features shapes for them to populate with key points from their discussion, I'll get them to do a similar thing using Microsoft whiteboard. With Whiteboard, I find I get a better response if I upload an image in the background that helps them to scaffold their notes.
Here is my video guide to creating Padlet style collaboration space in PowerPoint
One question I always get asked when discussing hybrid lessons with colleagues is where they should point their webcam and position their microphone.
Typically I will have the webcam pointing at me and I'll make sure that either I'm speaking loudly enough for the microphone to pick me up or I will position myself near it when I am talking to the whole group so that the remote students can hear what I'm saying.
When it comes to camera positionI have seen some colleagues try to position the webcam so that students can see the whiteboard and the projector screen, this does not work particularly well as the lighting is poor. If I need to write on a whiteboard for part of an activity I will use Microsoft whiteboard or more frequently use the draw feature available within PowerPoint that way enabling all of the students regardless of location to clearly see my notes.