Way Forward: Hybrid learning

March 2, 2020: As the pandemic rolled into Japan, we had to hunker down into our first round of online schooling. Classes were in the middle of understanding complex concepts. The abrupt transition to online teaching made teachers all over the world innovate, experiment by trial and error, I believe at least for the first few weeks, until we figured out what works best for the students. 

End of May, we went back to half days in-class at school. I did not drastically shift the gear back to in-class teaching as we continued to provide an online education option for families who may require these accommodations. The result was a quiet familiar “hybrid teaching” which is a combination of traditional in-class and on-line teaching, which went full-fledged as we finished our academic year strong.

What is hybrid teaching: According to the course- The Toolbox: Teaching Hybrid in Extension (ORG_2299) provided by the Oregon State University, hybrid learning explicitly engages students in learning activities both online and in the classroom. It encourages active online interaction among learners and between instructor and learners.

Coincidentally or I should say ironically when the pandemic started, teachers at our school were half way into a teacher-driven professional development book study program on “NOW Classrooms: Lessons for Enhancing Teaching and Learning Through Technology” by Meg Ormiston. The book focuses on four essential skills (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity), to take instruction and learning to the next level using technology. Each chapter emphasizes strategies to develop authentic learning experiences using digital tools in the classroom. The book also emphasizes giving high school students opportunities to exercise their voice, choice, and creativity using multimedia and digital tools; and foster digital citizenship.

The learning spectrum in any classroom can be categorized into 4 spaces– In class (face-to-face), Blended style of learning, Hybrid learning and Online learning. (For many, “hybrid” and “blended” styles mean the same, but the difference is based primarily on the proportion of face-to-face and online sessions and/or instructional material in a given course. Hybrid refers to teaching that is roughly balanced between its two formats (50/50), blended refers to a mostly traditional face-to-face course that also incorporates a few class sessions’ worth of online instruction (think 25/75).

Here is a great graphic representation of how a hybrid learning environment can transition easily into online, as the need arises.

An Introduction to hybrid learning; Learning technologies, College of DuPage

Transitioning from a “face to face” space to an online platform would be overwhelming to both students and teachers (as it happened during the first wave of the pandemic), while shifting from a Hybrid learning environment to an online platform should be much easier. We are still in the throes of the pandemic. Though many schools are going back to their classrooms, it is wise to be prepared for any subsequent waves or quarantine situations, that our schools and classrooms may have to face in the coming future. Hybrid learning would be the best way to go forward.

Two years ago, I wanted to have a  paperless classroom. Digitizing assignments, worksheets seemed like a mammoth agenda. Though I’ve taken small steps in hybridizing my classroom, I was no means ready for the onslaught of the pandemic associated online teaching scenario. This pandemic has given me the impetus to rush headlong into the paperless digital world.

Here are some resources and tips to fully engage in a hybrid/online classroom scenario.

Hybrid teaching
Engages students in learning activities both online and in the classroom

Strive to become a paperless classroom: Digital notebooks, lab records and worksheetshttps://scientificteacher.com/digital-notebooks/

Connecting all assignments virtually Google classroom is the best for HS!
Google Classroom is great for streamlining the management of classes, assignments, grades, and parent communication, Seesaw shines as a digital portfolio tool that incorporates teacher, parent, and student feedback.
Flipped classroom:: “Flipped” and “hybrid” courses certainly have significant overlap; many “flipped” education programs are hybrid, and many “hybrid”
programs are flipped
Here is a short video from the University of Texas.
Some of the basic resources for making flipped classrooms are:
 Edpuzzle, BrainPOP, Ted-Ed are on the top of
my list. Explain Everything, Khan Academy , Clarisketch, TES Teach with Blendspace; The Doceri ipad app, ShowMe, Loom, Hippo Video,
PlayPosit and of course You tube helps you
create your own video lessons.
Labs in-class and also virtual lab with online lab records: Explicitly integrates online content and activities with in-class content and activitiesPhet Interactive Simulations, Gizmos, Labster, EduWebLabs, BioInteractive – HHMI,
Interactive Media – Virtual Labs Stanford,
NOVA interactives and many more.
AssessmentsGoogle forms can be used for both formative and summative assessments
Class presentations: In- class and also recorded presentations (podcast/vlogs)My students were comfortable working with Wevideo for recorded presentations.

John Dewey once said ‘We don’t learn from experience.  We learn from reflecting on experience.’ This pandemic has definitely taught us teachers to harness the strengths of this digital age to provide a robust and productive learning experience for students.

Please feel free to message me at deenavardhini@gmail.com if you need any help finding resources for your hybrid classroom.

Published by A Science Pedagogy

I am a science educator and researcher who is passionate about learning. This blog is intended to trace my journey in teaching high school science, providing a gist of my reflections on the dynamics of teaching and science pedagogy.

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