How to Set Up a Hybrid Classroom
In 2021, just over 30% of K-12 students attended a hybrid school. A hybrid teaching environment offers the best of both face-to-face learning and online teaching. But to get the most out of hybrid teaching, a standard classroom setup isn’t going to get the job done.
Creating an effective hybrid teaching environment requires careful planning and an investment in quality education technology. Let’s explore the benefits of hybrid teaching and what to consider when setting up a hybrid teaching environment.
What is a hybrid classroom?
A hybrid classroom, in which a mix of students who are present in the physical classroom and some participants attend the classroom virtually. Hybrid classrooms are a fantastic offering for teachers and institutions to be able to provide.
Benefits of a hybrid classroom
A hybrid classroom provides several benefits to the students:
- Flexibility: For students that struggle with pacing, illness, or family schedule, hybrid learning accommodates and ensures that these students get an education. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this flexibility allowed students to continue with school during the uncertainty.
- Increased access: By offering hybrid teaching, it makes education more accessible because it is no longer restricted by location.
- Improved teaching resources: Physical resources can be allocated where needed, and edtech can streamline learning materials.
- Reduced absences: Often, students and teachers miss school because of illness, bad weather, or other circumstances. Hybrid learning allows students and teachers to connect remotely so that learning opportunities aren’t lost. Plus, online modules can keep the student from falling behind.
How to set up a hybrid classroom
To set up a hybrid learning space, you’ll need to assess your school, its current resources, and any additional changes you might need to make to your district’s IT infrastructure.
Create a flexible physical space
When setting up classrooms to accommodate hybrid teaching, make flexibility a priority. The room should allow the teacher to move and adjust furniture and equipment to accommodate different activities and learning experiences. Mobile technology also encourages adaptability and movement to cater to the teacher’s needs.
Invest in video software and hardware
Because the teachers will be instructing online through streaming or modular lessons, they need access to good video software and hardware to create a suitable environment for learning. The video technology should be easy to hear any participants, cancel noise, and maintain a good connection.
Your IT team can begin by researching laptops with high-quality built-in microphones, external microphones, external screens that are easy to read, and clear projectors. Additionally, a smart board like Vibe offers a variety of collaboration software and hardware to boost hybrid teaching.
Collaborate using an interactive whiteboard
An interactive whiteboard allows touch display and real-time editing and action capabilities like a traditional whiteboard. This is especially helpful for teachers who will be teaching in class as well as streaming online. It can engage face-to-face students and online students.
Interactive whiteboards can also integrate with other learning apps and video conferencing to make the hybrid teaching environment intuitive and seamless. The Vibe Board is a feature-rich, interactive whiteboard with real-time remote collaboration and touch-screen capability.
Increase your internet bandwidth
Connectivity is critical to hybrid teaching. Without a good bandwidth provider, your teachers will experience disruptions, delays, and lost teaching time. To increase your school’s bandwidth, you’ll need to assess the current demand and the school’s bandwidth infrastructure.
Once you understand the needs of your school, you can install WiFi boosters, powerline networking, or MIMO access points to boost bandwidth. Another important step is to create a backup system if the network goes down. This is essential for providing a continuous connection for hybrid teaching.
Required technology for a hybrid learning classroom
These required technologies for a hybrid learning classroom are the basic necessities that the students, classroom, or both need to have for a successful teaching and learning experience.
A laptop or desktop computer is essential for a hybrid learning classroom. Their uses in the classroom include writing, note-taking, and performing independent research. While desktops are preferred, laptops do come with at least one distinct advantage: they usually have built-in microphones, speakers, and webcams, meaning that you don’t have to worry as much about accessories.
High-speed WiFi and internet bandwidth
When implementing a hybrid learning model in the classroom, having a high-speed WiFi connection is a must to ensure that no one gets left behind. Internet bandwidth, which determines how fast data is transferred between you and your students, should be high enough not to slow down anyone’s learning—the higher, the better.
Video collaboration technology
Video collaboration technology is a core piece for hybrid learning strategies that focus on student-centered learning. Students who can’t see each other will have a difficult time engaging and interacting. The video collaboration hardware and software that you choose should offer more than simply recording video. It should encourage active, synchronous collaboration.
Webcams often come standard with laptops. But if you’re using desktop PCs in your classroom, setting up cameras for your students is essential for collaboration and active learning. For the teachers, a high-quality webcam is important so that the remote students can clearly see what’s happening in the classroom.
Microphones are another important component of a hybrid learning approach. While many technologies have built-in microphones, they might not be of high enough quality for classroom use. External microphones function more efficiently by blocking out the noises you don’t want them to pick up.
The right technology for your collaborative efforts is something that every hybrid learning classroom needs. This technology could be free resources like Google Classroom or customized video collaboration software purchased by your school. Interactive whiteboards, like Vibe , often come complete with pre-installed collaboration software to use in your classroom.
In-class displays are a must-have in the physical classroom. There are various displays to consider, including:
- Interactive whiteboards are large displays that offer the same functionalities as a regular whiteboard, but they also encourage collaboration between teachers and students with their interactive screens and built-in software. Having an interactive whiteboard in the classroom helps students brainstorm and share notes with each other when they are distanced.
- Projectors are a staple of classrooms, new and old. While outclassed by newer technology like interactive whiteboards, projectors offer a budget-friendly option to display at-home students in the classroom.
- Wireless presentation displays are similar to interactive whiteboards, but they don’t have touch capabilities. These displays work well for presenting lecture-style lessons that don’t benefit from interactivity on a large screen for students in the classroom and at home to clearly see.
Supplementary tech for hybrid learning classrooms
While not a requirement, this selection of supplementary hybrid learning technology can increase the comfort and productivity of your students.
There are various computer accessories to enhance teacher efficiency and student participation, including the following:
- External mouses are not only more comfortable to use than laptop trackpads, but Bluetooth-enabled ones can be great for teachers who like to walk around the classroom while they speak. They can quickly direct students’ attention to a specific point on the screen from anywhere in the room.
- Headphones are a great accessory for students who get easily distracted by outside sounds. They help keep their attention and ensure that they don’t miss any part of the lesson.
- Audio fencing technology in the classroom helps filter out unwanted noise and distractions so that students and teachers alike can focus on the lesson at hand.
Touch monitors are great for encouraging interactivity in a hybrid learning classroom. And in some cases, touch-enabled monitors have better ergonomics so that your students stay healthy and productive. You can even add external touch monitors to many interactive whiteboards.
Tablets may be more limited than a computer, but they are still highly functional and extremely portable. While you shouldn’t necessarily rely on tablets as a primary teaching source in the classroom, they are a great option for note-taking, reading, and other non-intensive activities.
Smartphones don’t have to be a distraction in the classroom. They are a great way to encourage your students to keep learning outside of school with educational apps and games. Many teachers choose to assign self-study programs rather than additional homework.
Cart-based technology is an efficient and cost-effective option for schools that can’t provide microphones and cameras to each classroom. It allows teachers to move those accessories around to different areas easily using an AV cart.
Learning management systems
Using a learning management system (LMS) offers numerous advantages in hybrid learning classrooms. They can:
- help hand out and track remote learning objectives
- offer additional e-learning tools
- store, track, and distribute information across all teachers and students
There is a variety of learning management systems to choose from, all offering various levels of collaboration and interactivity. Make sure that your school’s preferred LMS is compatible with any new hardware or accessories you choose for your classroom.
Hybrid classes will continue to influence how we teach
While more and more schools are returning to in-classroom teaching , hybrid classrooms is here to stay. It’s also essential to have a plan and the technology in place if schools ever need to return to a hybrid or online learning environment again.
To create the best hybrid teaching environment, invest in quality technology and proper training to support your teachers in the classroom.
Vibe offers a collaborative solution combining an interactive digital whiteboard and innovative smart software. Increase engagement and efficiency at your brainstorming sessions, virtual training, and classroom sessions by integrating your favorite applications with video conferencing and an infinite, mess-free writing canvas. Collaborate today with Vibe.
Looking for the latest in interactive whiteboard technology? Check out Vibe today!