The move to online delivery for the majority of our teaching means that we need to consider how best to support students’ learning, whether they are ‘on campus’ and having a blended learning experience, or are fully digital learners. Although educators strive to create an ideal learning environment for every student, the realities of budgets, time, and talent constraints require a dose of realism. Some school systems lack the digital infrastructure, resources, or local expertise to roll out online learning. For them, the ideal remote-learning model may combine use of the mass media, simple phone-messaging apps, and paper handouts. Remote and hybrid learning are more than just digital versions of the classroom. When the pandemic struck earlier this year, many educators had little choice but to move existing classes online. Now we have the opportunity to design better solutions to maximize student learning in remote and hybrid settings.
With schools all over the world redesigning because of COVID-19, blended learning is becoming a new normal. Blended learning has been around for a while and is the combination of traditional face-to-face instruction with aspects of online instruction all while students are in the classroom with the teacher. Blended learning strives to provide students the best of both face-to-face and online learning experiences. Blended classrooms include face-to-face instruction techniques such as direct instruction or lecture, group discussions, and small-group work while also using technology to provide in-class online learning that students can do at home provided they have access to necessary technology. Online instruction is often facilitated by a Learning Management System or LMS. An LMS is where the instructor puts all the lessons and activities that students must work through to successfully complete the course.
Many schools, even before the pandemic, could point with pride to classrooms where innovative practices engaged students in interactive learning experiences solving real life problems. However, the bigger challenge remains how to move this from a few bright spots of innovation to a pervasive shift in thinking and practices that impact all learners. Changing practices requires a re-culturing for students, teachers, families and community not just changing structures and processes. The framework describes the conditions needed to mobilize Deep Learning exponentially across schools and districts including policies, practices, and actions. Deep Learning takes our best selves—a hybrid of synchronous and asynchronous, virtual and bricks and mortar which explicitly embraces effective Pedagogies, Partnerships, Environments, and Digital to allow ALL learners to access, understand, create, co-create and refine new knowledge. It is the cornerstone for a new educational paradigm and allows teachers and learners to pursue possibilities previously out of reach for all but a few learners.
reading materials on blended/hybrid learning
Blended learning in the age of covid-19
“… The course, offered by Reimagine WA ED, a Jeff Utecht Consulting Co., called Shifting School: Implementing Distance Learning, gave us strategies to support our students during their forced at-home-online-learning.
One of the big takeaways for me from the course that applies to online learning and therefore blended learning is what they call the Core 4 of distance learning. School districts, or at least schools, should agree on what systems they are going to use to provide online learning. First, schools need to determine which LMS they will use so that all students, regardless of grade level or teacher, are using the same system. Many schools that already used Google Education tools chose Google Classroom. Second, schools need to determine what teachers and students will use for file storage and sharing. Google Education schools used Google Drive, for example. Third, schools need to determine how teachers will connect with students synchronously for online meetings. Many schools used Zoom or Google Meet. Fourth, schools need to determine what teachers will use for recording video lessons for asynchronous learning. Chrome users use Screencastify for screencasting (recording what you are doing on your computer screen), but services such as Loom and Screencast-O-Matic were also quite popular…. “
Back to school: A framework for remote and hybrid learning amid COVID-19
“… Educators have long understood the value of tailoring curriculums and classroom environments to the needs of different age groups, students, and school systems. There is similarly no one-size-fits-all strategy for determining the optimal model for learning in the COVID-19 crisis. What we do know, from our own analysis and data tracked by UNESCO and NWEA, is that certain groups of students have suffered greater setbacks and will continue to face more obstacles in remote-learning environments. In areas where disease transmission is under control and administrators can resume classroom learning, these students need to take priority. “
“Opening schools should not be an all-or-nothing proposition…. “
Education Reimagined:The Future of Learning
“… Over the last few months, system leaders, educators, students, and families across the globe have demonstrated incredible energy, commitment, and flexibility as they quickly responded to the need to move to remote learning. During this shift, technology has played a critical role in enabling students to stay connected, engaged, and motivated. Teachers around the world are continuing the learning journey for their classes by integrating video, game-based learning, and powerful collaboration tools into their virtual lessons, and students are experiencing a new type of learning, which will have an important, lasting impact.
Institutional leaders have told us that going online was about more than remote instruction –it was about implementing solutions that would keep departments running smoothly and evolve with the changing needs of students and staff. Even with all the incredible fast work, administrators and leaders acknowledge they are navigating unchartered territory, and there is more to be done to ensure all students can participate…. “
Disruptions and Opportunities : Key Lessons
“… Today, in the wake of COVID, and in the face of our new landscape for education, we know that all of us confront a newly transformed educational landscape. Hybrid models of learning that blend remote and classroom education, new approaches to pedagogy, and new ways of doing the work of education, from the macro-issues of administration to the everyday lesson plans, are going to be rebuilt and reinvented as we go. This will not be a simple task, and it is incumbent on decision-makers to offer platforms that can make a difference, no matter how subtle, because the task before us is tremendous, and it will not end with the coming of a viable vaccine .
Michelle H. has been a teacher for over twenty years and now works as an education interventionist which means focusing on the students that need the most help. In her assessment, “We are not going to get back to brick and mortar and say, okay, now we’re not going to use this anymore and throw it away. I don’t believe that, so. Being in a leadership position, I feel like when September comes around, new teachers and veteran teachers are going to have a lot of questions and I want to be able to be in a position to answer them instead of saying, “I don’t know how that works.” I don’t want to do that..…. “
Choosing appropriate learning activities for blended and digital learning
“The move to online delivery for the majority of our teaching means that we need to consider how best to support students’ learning, whether they are ‘on campus’ and having a blended learning experience, or are fully digital learners.
While this presents a considerable challenge in terms of logistics, including, and not least, staff workloading, there are also some positives: many aspects of good practice translate readily to online learning, with programme level approach’s concentration on the student experience, its conception of a ‘whole programme’ and its intention to streamline assessment being just three”
“As educational institutions transition to hybrid models, they have the opportunity to reimagine education and build a learning environment that incorporates all of the dimensions of a quality learning experience. Schools and institutions of higher education can create strong learning communities focused on core concepts and centered on solving authentic problems. Students will gain valuable life skills, preparing them to positively contribute to their communities and to be successful in their future work”
Global Directors, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning
The how ?
helpful materials in hybrid/blended learning
In a course, offered by Reimagine WA ED, a Jeff Utecht Consulting Co. called : “Shifting School: Implementing Distance Learning” . They introduced on what they call the Core 4 of distance learning.
|Core||What are the cores ?||The technologies that may be used|
|1||Schools need to determine which LMS they will use so that all students, regardless of grade level or teacher, are using the same system||Microsoft Team, Google Classroom, Class dojo,|
|2||Schools need to determine what teachers and students will use for file storage and sharing||Microsoft Team, OneDrive , Google drive, Dropbox|
|3||Schools need to determine how teachers will connect with students synchronously for online meetings||Microsoft Team, Google Meet, Zoom,|
|4||Schools need to determine what teachers will use for recording video lessons for asynchronous learning||Microsoft Team, Microsoft Powerpoint, Camstudio, Screencast|
After confirming the technologies for the above 4 cores. You may read the article : “Choosing appropriate learning activities for blended and digital learning” prepared by The University of Sheffield. They highlight the various steps, documents and framework on creating the activities for blended learning. ( tip : click on the + Top Tips at the site to reveal more helpful resources )
Below are the courses offered by Microsoft around Microsoft Teams, It is well designed with simplified contents with short videos to complement the learning. Please click on the course title to access the courses :
|This course is designed to help schools set up and running with Office 365 Education. Office 365 Education gives schools a free set of cloud services including everything from email and document storage, to innovative apps for teaching and learning.|
|Transform Learning with Microsoft Teams||Learn about Microsoft Teams and how it can be used in classrooms and schools.|
|Hybrid Learning in the Primary Classroom||This course expands upon the introduction course for hybrid learning, with a specific focus on creating a dynamic learning experience for students in primary grades.|
|Hybrid Learning in the Intermediate Classroom||This course provides educators ways to use Hybrid learning in the intermediate classroom. It expands on the Hybrid learning introduction course by focusing on the needs and understanding of the learners in the intermediate grade levels.|
|Hybrid Learning for the Adolescent Learner||This course expands upon the introduction course for Hybrid learning, with a specific focus on creating a dynamic learning experience for students in grades 6-12|
|Supporting learning initiatives with Staff Teams||Learn how Microsoft Staff Teams can be used by administrators, leaders, and teachers to collaborate on school initiatives.|
Building Wilburton Elementary School
This video documents the work that Microsoft engages in with school leaders and educators around the world to support Flagship Schools and demonstrate what’s possible to transform learning
Reimagined learning experiences
The shift from a focus on knowing to a focus on doing requires our learners to navigate the volume, velocity, and the variability of knowledge. This highlights the growing global skills gap. Listen in the video as Mark Sparvell, Education Leader at Microsoft speaks more to the need for reimagined learning experiences
Tomorrow Great Thinkers
With the help of tools that personalize learning for every student, young people of all backgrounds, genders, and abilities are able to collaborate and learn in new ways, developing life ready skills they’ll need to thrive in an increasingly complex world. In this video , meet just a few of tomorrow’s great thinkers, who are using technology to take charge of their own futures.