How to Set Up a Hybrid Classroom
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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 hybrid teaching?
Hybrid teaching is a combination of in-class face-to-face teaching and online teaching. And in some cases, the teacher is doing both at the same time. How the school district decides to set up the learning environment is unique to each district.
One of the biggest benefits hybrid teaching offers is flexibility. Hybrid teaching can be a combination of any of these options:
- Face-to-face classroom teaching
- Online lecture modules
- Real-time streaming teaching from a classroom or remote location
- Online assignments completed in a classroom
- Teaching in a face-to-face classroom while also streaming to online students
By embracing a hybrid teaching model, you’ll be able to accommodate and teach students in a variety of circumstances.
Benefits of a hybrid classroom
A hybrid teaching environment 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.
Ways to help your teachers embrace hybrid teaching
Creating and building an entirely new teaching environment can seem daunting to even the most tenured educator. Help your teachers embrace hybrid teaching by taking these actions.
Invest in education technology that engages students
School administration and IT teams should research and gather input on the best teaching technology with a proven track record of engaging content and strong usability. You’ll want to ensure that you are buying tech that both enhances your teachers’ ability to teach effectively and helps their students.
Provide access to reliable hardware and software
As we mentioned earlier, there’s a lot that can go into the best setup for your school district. Some edtech items to consider when assembling an optimal learning environment include:
- video conferencing equipment
- smart boards
- screen-sharing tech
- online whiteboards
- learning management systems
- education apps
Once you have the appropriate hardware and software, create a plan or system for distribution, engagement, and management. Allow the teachers to pick the tech they feel will best suit their classroom and student.
Provide your teachers with proper training and resources
For many teachers, the COVID-19 pandemic thrust them into the center of an online teaching environment that they were not prepared or trained to handle. Sending your teachers to regular, on-going training will help them master the necessary tricks and techniques to engage and teach their subject matter.
Show patience as staff works through the learning curve of hybrid teaching
The process may take time as teachers and aides learn and try different techniques. Encourage experimentation and allow failure as teachers find the right hybrid combination for them and their students.
Introduce hybrid teaching gradually (if possible)
Don’t try to learn everything at once. Create a tiered plan for how you envision rolling out a robust hybrid teaching environment that includes incremental steps. This will help both your teachers and students adjust to new teaching methods.
Encourage students to engage
To encourage students to engage in a hybrid classroom, teachers should try the following techniques:
Give clear and consistent goals, instruction, resources, and assignments
When you have a well-executed plan, syllabus, and resources, the students will appreciate the structure and know what is expected. Ensure you write all of these expectations and rules for students, parents, and guardians and place them in a visible place online or in the classroom.
Create other ways for students to engage non-verbally when participating
When you offer alternatives to verbal communication, you create a safe environment where students will open up more to share their ideas and questions. Some non-verbal communication can include group chat, text, blogs, and social media.
Enable small discussion groups among peers to build peer relationships
Studies have found that small discussion groups can encourage and facilitate effective collaboration and enhanced learning environments. It also gives the students an opportunity to socially bond with other students in a constructive way.
Provide breaks for students to move physically and rest mentally
Sometimes in hybrid classrooms, the teachers and students will push forward to the next module or engage for long periods of time without a break. Studies have found that giving students breaks can improve memory, reduce stress, boost energy, improve health, and performance.
When the hybrid teaching pattern is consistent and predictable, the students will feel comfortable and open to learning. If there is too much disorganization, the students will struggle with how to engage in learning.
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 high-quality 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.
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!