Simplify the Hybrid Learning Model

Dr. Lyne Ssebikindu
Dr. Lyne Ssebikindu
Elementary school principal; Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction
Teacher in a class with masks as well as on a video call.

Challenges Educators have seen with Hybrid Learning

Improving student learning environment has been one of the most challenging experiences in education today. With COVID-19, many school districts have struggled with student academic achievement. During the ongoing global pandemic, creating a hybrid learning classroom has been challenging. Though hybrid learning has been a challenge, it is one of the skills students will use throughout their lives. Hybrid learning combines in-person and remote learning.

During ordinary times, getting students’ attention for six hours is hard enough, but now, keeping students engaged is even more difficult with the lack of face-to-face interactions. One thing we have learned in 2020 is that hybrid learning has had a lot of challenges for many teachers.

In 2020, many educators were required to transition to hybrid learning. Teachers both new and experienced found themselves forced to switch to hybrid learning. The work has been very demanding for teachers and students. Teachers and administrators continue to work hard and there has been a lot of success stories.

Below are some of the challenges educators have faced in hybrid learning.

Technology

It is important for teachers to have tools and resources that will help them in their hybrid learning classrooms. Several school districts were not equipped with enough technology to address the needs of their teachers and students. Sometimes the technology did not work as intended or the internet was down. Parents, students, and teachers were frustrated.

Lack of Student Engagement

It is hard to keep students engaged for six and half hours a day. Teachers have had to come up with creative ways to keep students engaged. Students need to be up and moving to keep them from being bored. Also, teachers have implemented breakout rooms to differentiate their instruction.

Monitoring

Hybrid learning makes it difficult for teachers to monitor students’ understanding of the skills being taught. One of the ways to monitor student’s comprehension is for the teachers to teach students how to self-assess. Students need to use higher-level thinking skills, they should think aloud and then write down the information. It is also important to teach students how to ask the right question. Another way to monitor student’s understanding is for students to use the chat box to respond to the teacher’s questions.

Strategies to Simplify the Hybrid Learning Model

The hybrid learning model, if implemented right, can allow the teachers to teach as they normally would in a classroom setting.

Leaders need to be aware of the changing educational landscape, which includes societal shifts in technology use, advances in educational technology, and a new type of learner. Acknowledging and beginning to understand these changes are the first steps to developing a vision and strategic plan for creating a learning culture that provides access to tools that foster essential skill sets, celebrates success, supports innovation, and inspires students to learn and ultimately achieve (Scheninger, 2014).

Here are five tips that will broaden teaches’ knowledge of the hybrid learning model:

Engaging Parents, Students, and Communities

It is important to build collaborative relationships with parents and students. Creating a relationship with parents will help you create a connection with your students. Send a daily note to parents. You can also create a short video explaining who you are and your classroom expectations.

Students need to participate in classroom discussions. Collaboration helps with problem-solving and discussions. This is very useful during hybrid learning. Hybrid learning builds strong peer-to-peer relationships through projects and discussions.

Providing Ongoing Teacher Professional Development

During the pandemic, technology has taken a profound impact on teaching, infrastructure, resources, and our students. Teachers and students have greater access to rich, multimedia content resources. Online access is part of our daily lives now.

It is important that teachers receive ongoing training with technology. The average amount of time teachers and students are spending online has increased dramatically. The statistics verify a growing trend that a lot of our teachers and students are engaged on digital devices. Teachers should be offered technology training to improve what they have already been doing. Schools need a professional development plan to offer ongoing training for teachers, students, and parents.

One of the platforms that has been used in some districts is Microsoft Teams, a communication tool where you can collaborate, create team calls, share screens, and participate in discussion. It has features like recording the session, change background and invite participants. You can attach files and make assignments. Also, you can give grades. Students can raise their hands and participate in classroom discussions. This platform gives you notifications, and it puts all your appointments on a calendar.

Teachers’ Attitude

Educators have taken a risk in exploring different technology resources like Neopad and Kahoot. This helps their classroom to be as engaging as possible. Teachers have combined synchronous and asynchronous learning. Students can work with pencil and paper. This reduces the cognitive load for the students and teachers. Students can then share their work by holding up their paper or they can upload their work. Also, let the students look at different pictures. Students can analyze the pictures and then write a paragraph. Let them create presentations to share with their classmates. Allow the students to use Poll Everywhere using their cell phones. Microsoft Forms can be utilized for quizzes and exams.

Hold All Students to High Standards

Teachers should create student-centered classrooms. Student-centered classrooms help improve student engagement, student retention, and improved academic achievement.

Students should have control over their learning process. With hybrid learning you can find success working with a small group of students. Working in small groups help build strong parent and student connections and relationships.

Create small groups that meet 2-3 times a week for additional academic support. The teacher can put students in groups to solve problems and work on projects. Teachers can create an online discussion group to accelerate academic achievement. Educators need to add engaging discussions to their classes. Post discussion topics online, then follow up with a class discussion.

Focus on Learning

Teachers should not lower their standards or water down the curriculum. Instruct your students about different features like hand raising and the chat box. Teachers need to provide hands-on activities for their students.

Let the students watch a video on some of the skills presented in the lesson, and then students answer some questions about the video.

Another activity would be for students to create a website. Let all the members of the class contribute to the website and then share with the parents and community.

Introduce “Wordle” to your class. A “wordle” is a visual representation of words. Let the students pull out some vocabulary words from the text. Ask them to present to the class using “Wordle”.

Teachers and leaders need to implement smart board interactive content in their lessons. This will make the content enjoyable, meaningful, and interesting and it will increase student engagement. You can play games and videos. These practices will significantly simplify the hybrid learning model.

References
Sheninger, E (2014) Digital Leadership.Thousand Oaks, CA,Corwin
Parker, J (2010) Teaching Tech-Savvy Kids. Thousand Oaks, CA, Corwin
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