a hybrid environment, mixing both remote and in-classroom education

a hybrid environment, mixing both remote and in-classroom education

adopted from https://www.the74million.org/article/schools-tell-ed-tech-leader-they-expect-lots-more-blended-hybrid-learning-in-the-fall-what-this-means-for-teachers-and-students/

Uncertainty surrounds the start of the 2020-21 school year. Districts around the country must prepare for three types of learning environments: the in-person style they’ve known for decades, the distance learning most were tossed into during the pandemic, and the most likely of scenarios — a hybrid environment, mixing both remote and in-classroom education. This is the style districts are least familiar with.

“I am hearing a recognition of blended hybrid learning will become the new normal for schools,” says Anthony Salcito, vice president of Microsoft Education. “I do think the future is going to require us to rethink what the role of the classroom will be” — so the solution needs to use the best digital tools to enhance in-classroom opportunities.

In a Microsoft survey of about 500 K-12 schools across the United States, 61 percent expect to start in a hybrid environment and 87 percent anticipate using more technology in the classroom than ever before, even when in-person learning fully returns. In fact, the company is adding features to its popular Teams platform, including an expanded audience view of up to 49 participants, data on student usage and virtual breakout rooms — some in response to educators’ requests since the pandemic struck.

The hybrid model involves taking the best of distance learning and merging it with meaningful in-person interaction between students and their teacher and with their peers, Salcito says, as he warns that students must not feel they are missing out, whether in the classroom or at home. Where schools struggle, he says, is when they try to simply shift the schedule and teaching style of the school building online.

Blending the power of technology — recorded lessons full of links, surveys and interactive elements that require students to respond and interact with one another through their own videos and comments — with useful meeting time that allows for student dialogue and presentations offers best-case uses for distance learning, Salcito says. That should remain the model in a hybrid format. “The blended model is going to be important,” he says. “You want to use that live time in a way that is meaningful and where students can be part of something together. That can happen when schools return. How can I use the power of storytelling and the power of collaboration of students and class time thoughtfully?”

Hector Lopez, head of the math department at El Camino Real Charter High School in Los Angeles, says improving teachers’ technology skills goes right along with improving instructional practices. “Having this opportunity has taught me to create new schedules and new modalities of teaching,” Lopez says. “I’m very happy to see the results.”

Salcito offered the example of a California special education teacher who created PowerPoint lessons for her students, full of surveys, forms and links. The students could progress through the lesson in the Microsoft Teams platform, and she could follow their work as it was happening, interjecting comments and assessing feedback. Group video conversations also helped students prep for future projects and discuss what they had learned. “She was having amazing success,” Salcito says.

Done right, technology expands the boundaries of the classroom, so students learn and connect no matter where they are physically.

“What we’re driving for is future readiness and also high-quality instruction,” says Ryan Coe, director of secondary curriculum instruction at the Fresno Unified School District in California. “And so a key understanding, when it comes to blended learning, is when to use technology and also when not to use it.”

Even without internet at home, students can keep learning

Even without internet at home, students can keep learning

adopted from https://www.blog.google/outreach-initiatives/education/offline-access-covid19/

If your school is operating virtually as a result of COVID-19, you may be wondering how to continue teaching students who don’t have access to the internet at home, or who only have low-bandwidth access. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep Chromebooks and Google G Suite up and running even when online access is slow or unavailable. We’ve pulled together ideas for educators and school IT teams who want to encourage all students to keep learning, regardless of their online access.

For edtech and IT teams: The basics of enabling offline access

Using Chromebooks and Google G Suite without Wi-Fi or low connectivity is relatively easy, but you may want to enlist your EdTech and IT teams to set up offline access for everyone. Here are the key steps in the process, along with useful Google support links.

Keep in mind that people need to go through this process while they still have online access. Consider taking a few minutes to guide students and staff through the process while they’re on school Wi-Fi networks.

Step 1: To help students, teachers and staff work in G Suite offline, the first step is to enable offline access for all users. Your IT or EdTech team can do this from G Suite’s admin console using these instructions for managed devices; in the Features and Applications section of the Admin console, administrators can click “Allow users to enable offline access.”

Step 2: G Suite users also need to download the Google Docs Offline extension for Chrome Browser, which will allow them to use Google Docs, Sheets, Drive and Slides without online access.

Step 3: Finally, people should turn on offline access for the G Suite applications they’d like to use before they go offline. Share these instructions for opening G Suite files offline. It’s a good idea to ask students to test that offline access is working properly; help them turn off Wi-Fi access and try to access a G Suite file. Students can download notes from Slides, Docs, and more, and download the lectures from Classroom and Drive to watch later if they do not have internet at home.

For teachers: Things to do offline

Remind students that even if they don’t have Wi-Fi access away from school, there’s a lot that they can do with their Chromebooks:

For edtech and IT teams: Chrome extensions that work offline

Encourage students to use Chrome extensions that help them do classwork while offline—and ask your edtech or IT team to push out the extensions to all G Suite and Chromebook users. Search the Chromebook App Hub or the Chrome Web Store using the “runs offline” option to find useful extensions, or start with Screencastify for recording and editing videos and Soundtrap for recording and saving audio files.

Tips from teachers

Teachers are already brainstorming creative ways to help students without home online access continue their studies:

Create a “file upload” feature in Google Forms: Eric Lawson, director of technology at Maine’s York School Department, shared that you can create a Google Form directly from Google Classroom. One of the question options in Google Forms is to create a “file upload.” This allows for students to work on podcasts, videos, journals, infographics, etc. and simply submit them to their teacher through a form. On a day where students may not have internet access, they can still work on their project offline on their Chromebooks at home and then submit the file when they have access.

Offer mobile hotspot access: At Grain Valley Schools in Missouri, Kyle Pace, director of technology, plans to remind students that they can check out mobile hotspot devices from the school’s libraries—just as they’d check out books.

If you use Google Classroom and want to make sure students can view assignments offline, follow this YouTube tutorial from Stewart Lee, technology integration coordinator with Anderson School District 3 in South Carolina.