Hybrid Learning – Introduction
On Tuesday, February 15, I took part in the #TeamsEduChat monthly tweet meet exploring Hybrid Learning. One of my friends suggested my name as a host for this month’s chat because of my interested in technology and learning. During the chat, I offered up a few different tools and strategies I use within my classroom to support students. As I step back into blogging, I thought I’d share what I have done in the past couple years with bridging the gap between face-to-face and online in a series of blog posts.
First off, my definition of Hybrid Learning:
the use of technology to connect students to learning when students are face to face and online.
Now this is pretty simple and there is more to hybrid learning but I’ll start here. As I go through the tools I use, you’ll see, hopefully, that the foundation is relationships with students and providing them with voice and choice in their learning. For a more thorough exploration of Hybrid Learning, check out the Microsoft Hybrid Learning: A new model for the future of learning. Note, there are many different options for learning about hybrid learning, this is just one option.
In my classroom
I currently teach a grade 4/5 split class of 25 students. We have access to laptops and a stable infrastructure in the school. We have excellent support from our IT Department and are able to access a number of different tools for learning. The first tool I am going to explore is Nearpod.
Nearpod is a tool I use almost daily with my students. I use it for pre-teaching, formative work with students, and even doing some summative work. Below is the launch page where different lessons I’ve created are stored. Each lesson is stored in a folder for the subject.
On the left you can see there are a number of different folders that a teacher can access for teaching and information. I use My Lessons, Reports, Nearpod Library, and Teacher Resources regularly. I haven’t used the Sub Plans just because I use another format for those. My Lessons have the different lessons I have created for classes. A Lesson consists of either including some content or activities for students to complete.
Below the three images you see are the different options for uploading content. As you can see, there are a number of options available that give a teacher a wide range of options for including content.
One of the options that I really like is the integration of so many different types of content options. Especially with the ability to upload Audio, Web Content, Video, and different visuals including PDFs, slideshows and Sway, there is very little that I cannot include when it comes to content. With video, I can have students watch and then respond to different questions at different parts of the video. This example below shows one of the questions that I used for a video on Estimation.
Another option that I really appreciate about Nearpod is access to a library of different videos and lessons that I can use to supplement the learning we are doing in the classroom. So for example, for Black History Month, I was able to access videos and information where students were able to be introduced to important information related to Black History Month.
Having access to such information is incredibly helpful as it provides options for students to choose from and gives me different options for creating lessons that allow them choice. Although some people might say that I am still limiting students choices, I have found that unlimited and open boundaries can be limiting and for a number of students, creates anxiety as they have too many possibilities. Because the students are aged 9 – 11, providing them with options for choices helps them to develop decision-making skills as they learn to research, fact check, and other important critical thinking skills. And, if a student has a particular topic, person, idea they wish to pursue, we figure out how to make that work!
The enemy of Art is the absence of limitations.Orson Welles
When it comes to activities, there are a variety of different options for students. Many of the activities I use are formative assessments to help students with the concepts and ideas we are learning. However, the many options available through Nearpod also gives me the option to create summative assessments that include audio responses, visuals, video, and written responses. Nearpod also allows for the integration of Flipgrid which is a great way to have students include an video response along with a written, visual, or spoken response.
The Collaborate Board has been a great way to have students who are in class and online connect and share with each other. In this space, students can provide ideas and responses while also seeing what other students are responding. It’s like a big corkboard with sticky notes where students can share and interact. In an Open Ended response, students have the option to both write and leave an spoken response which give students the option to do one or the other or both. In the Draw It response, students can respond using drawing, highlighting, or text and you can also include a background image, such as a drawing, which students could label, draw on or use to explain a particular concept.
Another nice feature of each lesson is that I can include a number of different activities and content types in one lesson. This means that students can watch a video, respond using Flipgrid, then do another short formative activity or a reading activity or do some writing depending on the content and what we are working on. I can also make an activity the whole class will take part in or have it so individual students can work at their own pace.
I especially like these two options when introducing content. We can do work together as a whole class and then students can move on to work at their own pace on individual work. Another nice option for the Student-Paced work is that I can ensure students don’t skip work through making it a requirement to finish one activity before moving on to the next activity.
Another important reason I especially like using Nearpod is the ease of integration with Teams. I can integrate a Nearpod assignment within the work we are doing in Teams simply by inserting using the Teams option when sharing. The image above shows the various ways I can share this lesson with students. Because I use Teams as a main point of connection with students, the integration of Nearpod makes it much easier for students to work, collaborate, share, and submit their work as they work at their own pace. This frees me up to work with individual students and gives me the opportunity to provide feedback. It also allows me to individualize for students who I know will need certain supports to be successful in what we are doing. I can also manage the length of time the assignment is available to students. I don’t often use this option except when doing something for reading comprehension or a short quiz. The great thing, is that I can adjust the time it is available for students. This has been especially helpful when dealing with students who are away. I can ensure they have access to the materials no matter where in the world they are or when they are able to access it. Currently I have a student who is away in another country for an extended period of time and using Nearpod allows me to ensure she has access to materials and gives me the option to extend the days when she has been unable to access the internet.
Did I also mention that Nearpod also uses Immersive Reader? Well it does. And, I can record instructions for explanation for students when I am creating assignments. I can do this in Teams and Nearpod. One of the things I really like is being able to see what students are doing and then provide them with feedback as they are working so they can make adjustments before they submit anything.
Nearpod is one of my favourite tools for hybrid learning because of its versatility and how it integrates with Teams. It also allows for formative feedback which is especially important for supporting learning. If you have any questions, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time remember, Every day is a PD Day! #MyPDToday