The Teacher’s Guide to Remote and Hybrid Learning

Are you struggling to engage students in your remote or hybrid classroom?  Is your school planning on integrating a Hybrid Learning model as students come back to the school for the first time in a while?  In this blog post, we share the The Teacher’s Guide to Remote and Hybrid Learning which includes:

  • Definitions of the most commonly used jargon words associated with Remote/Virtual/Hybrid Learning
  • Remote/Virtual/Hybrid Learning set-ups and equipment 
  • Resources to support you in your Remote/Virtual/Hybrid Learning journey

We get it, teaching in a remote or hybrid setting is not ideal.  We are limited in terms of time, opportunities, and methods, but there are still ways to facilitate an effective lesson!  With this guide, we acknowledge the challenges that face a remote or hybrid classroom, while embracing solutions still available to us.

Join us on this Remote/Virtual/Hybrid Learning adventure as we break down these teaching strategies into definitions, equipment, and resources.

Definitions and Models

As educators adapt to new teaching practices and strategies, they are also required to learn the newest jargon that goes along with the educational reform.  Oftentimes, the jargon word is a new twist on an existing practice.  Let’s take a look at some of the terminology that goes with our current educational settings.

Virtual or Remote Learning:  

Remote or Virtual Learning is where the student and the educator are not physically present in a traditional classroom environment.  Content and instruction is relayed through technology, such as discussion boards, video conferencing, and online assessments. 

Hybrid Learning/Simultaneous Learning:

Hybrid Learning is where students learn through both in-person and online activities. Students are encouraged to learn collaboratively during in-class instruction.  During the online sessions teachers utilize various technology tools to enhance and reinforce discussions.   

Simultaneous Learning is everything mentioned in hybrid learning but often challenges teachers to perform both in-person and online responsibilities at the same time.  There are many hurdles for teachers to overcome such as finding their stride, style, and technology “go-to” tools.

Asynchronous and Synchronous Learning:

Asynchronous and Synchronous Learning are opposite learning strategies that can be utilized during virtual/remote learning and hybrid learning.  Asynchronous Learning does not require a set schedule of time to complete prescribed tasks.  Teachers often provide pre-recorded lessons and activities through the use of a screencasting tool (Screencast-o-matic, Screencastify, Loom and a new tool on the block RecordCast) and communicated through a Learning Management System (LMS). Synchronous Learning is the idea that instruction and learning occur at the same time, but not in the same location. Synchronous Learning is a digital, online learning situation where students learn from instructors, colleagues, or peers in real time but not in the same place.  Typically, tools like Zoom, Google Meet, and Webex Meetings are used to carry out this type of instruction.

Equipment

The equipment for remote or hybrid learning situations will fluctuate depending on the budget, what is already available to you, and the level of technology in which you are comfortable with.

Level 1 Setup

What you’ll need: Laptop

Optional stuff: Headphones and a second screen

This is the simplest option for running a remote or hybrid classroom.  Technically all you need is a laptop with access to the internet and either Zoom or Google Meet.  Here is how it works:

  1. Turn on your computer and decide what virtual meeting tool to use.  Your school district will likely have already told you what to use and provided training.  Zoom is the most popular and can be downloaded here.  If you are a Google school, then you might also be able to use Google Meet, which has come a long way in recent months.
  2. Optional: If you have head phones or earbuds, plug them into your lap tops headphone jack.  If your headphones have a built-in microphone (like the white iPhone earbuds shown below) that works really great too.
  3. Optional:  If you have a second screen like a second monitor or in-class projector, plug that in to your lap top as well.  There are many ways to do this and it depends on the type of connection and cables your second screen requires.  Check with your school-based tech team if you need help figuring this part out.
  4. Start a virtual meeting before class starts and share the join link with your students.  Your district should provide more specifics on how this should be done.
  5. As students enter your meeting, make sure your microphone and built-in laptop webcam are turned on.  Start your lesson!

This set-up works best for a fully remote group of students.  You can share your screen via the virtual meeting so that they can see whatever is happening on your computer screen as you narrate.

This can work for a hybrid setting too but is a little clunky since you will be forced to stay in front of your lap top so that the remote students can see and hear you.  If you need to write something on a whiteboard-style workspace, consider using a virtual option like whiteboard.fi or Jamboard.  Share a whiteboard.fi room code or the view link to your Jamboard with the whole class.  That way all of the students, whether remote or in-person, can see what you are writing and hear you narrate.

Level 2 Setup

The Teacher’s Guide to Remote and Hybrid Learning

What you’ll need: Laptop, webcam, and an external microphone

Optional stuff: Second screen and speakers

This option is a little more complex but can really expand what you are able to do with your students.  Even though you’ll need some other equipment to make it happen, all that’s really  required is plugging some extra USB cables into your laptop.  Here is how it works:

  1. Turn on your computer and decide what virtual meeting tool to use.  Your school district will likely have already told you what to use and provided training.  Zoom is the most popular and can be downloaded here.  If you are a Google school, then you might also be able to use Google Meet which has come a long way in recent months.
  2. Connect the external webcam to your laptop.  Many webcams simply connect via USB and require no special download or installation.  It also helps to attach the webcam itself to a paperweight or textbook with double sided tape (see image below).  That way you can spin the paperweight to point at different things around your classroom.
  3. Connect the external microphone to your laptop.  We recommend a Snowball omnidirectional microphone that connects via USB cable and will pick up sound no matter where you are in the room.  It will also pick up sound from the in-person students as they speak so that remote students can hear them too.
  4. Optional:  If you have a second screen like a second monitor or in-class projector, plug that in to your lap top as well.  There are many ways to do this and it depends on the type of connection and cables your second screen requires.  Check with your school-based tech team if you need help figuring this part out.
  5. Optional: Connect external speakers to your laptop as well.  Your classroom probably already has these built in to it’s projection system.
  6. Start a virtual meeting before class starts and share the join link with your students.  Your district should provide more specifics on how this should be done.
  7. As students enter your meeting, make sure your microphone and webcam are turned on.  Start your lesson!

This set-up works extremely well in a hybrid setting with some in-person students in the room with you and some remote students in your virtual class meeting.  If you want to write on your classrooms whiteboard, simply point the webcam at the whiteboard and teach normally.  Your remote students can see you through the webcam while the microphone picks up your voice.

If you want to run a classroom discussion, ask your remote students to turn their cameras on.  Use a second screen or projector in your classroom to show the in-person students the video tiles of your remote students in the virtual meeting.  Also point the webcam at your seated students in class so the remote students can see them.  As remote students speak, they will have their voices heard in the classroom as the meeting audio is projected through the speakers.  As in-person students speak, the microphone will pick up their voices for the remote students to hear.  Your discussion is ready to start!

These are just some ideas to get you going, but there are lots of possibilities with this setup.  Good luck and let us know if you find something that works.

Recommended Hardware

Here is some of the hardware that we are using in our classrooms.  You may have to purchase some of these yourself, but of course consider asking your school administration if they can help.

Headphones / earbuds with mic

If you have a cell phone, chances are you already have these.  If not, you can find a high quality pair on Amazon for $20 or less.

Snowball Microphone (omnidirectional is best)

Webcam with microphone

Notice that my webcam is attached to a piece of last year’s Christmas tree trunk.  This allows me to swivel and turn my camera to point at different areas of the classroom at different times.  This particular webcam has a built-in mic that picks up a lot of sound from the classroom.  It would eliminate the need for a Snowball Mic.

 

Templates and Videos

We know that it can take a lot of time to modify your class materials so that they work in a remote learning setting.  Even something as simple as converting your printable Microsoft Word worksheets into Google Docs can take an annoying amount of time.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot we can do about that besides trudge through and do what we can with the time we have.

That being said, GotTechEd the Podcast can offer you several templates for classroom activities.  We’ve done the hard work for you by setting up these documents and providing you with a link to easily make your own copy.  Check some out, click on what you like, and edit them to make them work for your class!

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more GotTechED Tips & Tools!  Check out some of our most recent by clicking on any of the following videos!

Check out our Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher!  Here are some of our most recent podcast episodes that are all about hybrid and virtual teaching best practices! 

The Edtech Roundtable Crossover Episode Scott Nunes

Making Students Content Creators During a Pandemic

Roshni Desai

Episode 69

Episode 68 Professional Development

Hybrid Learning Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Check out Our Website www.gotteched.com for more Free Templates and “How To” Guides.  Check out some of our most recent by clicking on any of the following posts!

GotTechED Freeby Template Ideas

GotTechED Freeby Template Ideas (3)

GotTechED Free Template Bitmoji Scenes Choice Board

The post The Teacher’s Guide to Remote and Hybrid Learning appeared first on Welcome to GotTechED.

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Author Of this post: Eric Guise

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