Photo by Elijah O’Donnell from Pexels

A few weeks ago I curated some resources around the hybrid classroom in a pandemic teaching situation. I have had a lot of people asking to see it, so I figured I’d share it here.

You can read the document in Google Doc format here.

Premise

Schools are in a position where there are a variety of factors that impact their ability to provide quality instruction and build/maintain community. Multiple modes of instruction are all on the table: fully remote, in-person with adjusted rostering and scheduling and a blended, hybrid model. Each mode has its own challenges and potential. We also understand that families will need structure for their child(ren) in a remote learning situation and that the school should provide for that.

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide resources to consider when planning for a hybrid learning model in the 2020-21 school year. At the bottom of this document are recommendations to consider as well.

Privacy Considerations

FERPA recommendations from Dept of Ed

While independent schools are not beholden to FERPA laws, these are considered the benchmark for student privacy and should be considered in this unique teaching environment if classrooms are to be streamed/recorded. 

Guiding Questions: 

  • What PII (Personally Identifiable Information) is the school collecting and sharing? 
  • How is the school communicating with families regarding the information being shared through online platforms?
  • How is the school maintaining transparency over the process by which the school is protecting student PII? 
  • Does the school’s current policy regarding photographing and recording students include language regarding storage and sharing of these recordings? 
  • Does the school have a policy or vetting process for the tools and services that it uses with students?
  • What have been the school’s policies and procedures around student illness and making up work in the past and how would the current needs be similar or different?
  • How might the marketing use of student images & recordings be similar or different from classroom recordings?
Streaming vs Recording: A Comparison
StreamingRecording
– Opens up classroom to be viewed by parents and potentially other members of the household
– Provides a way for students to be present in class and engage with the teacher and classmates during the lesson
– Requires enough bandwidth to stream the lesson across multiple classrooms
– Requires a secondary device dedicated to recording/streaming
– Requires coordinating of the streaming/recording (can be done by students in middle/upper school)
– Opens up classroom to be viewed by parents and potentially other members of the household
– Provides a way for students to access the lesson asynchronously should they be sick or need to miss class for any reason
– Requires a secondary device dedicated to recording/streaming
– Requires coordinating of the streaming/recording (can be done by students in middle/upper school)
Pedagogical Considerations

Blended, Flipped and Remote Learning, What is It? – An overview of the three basic non fully in-person options for schools. Though the blended or “hybrid” model can use aspects of Flipped Learning successfully.

  • Participants may find it hard to follow a dynamic classroom lesson or discussion in a recording, 
  • Younger students will struggle with following a recording or even a streamed lesson/class the most and benefit from one on one support or small group instruction in a virtual/blended model.
  • Students joining remotely from home can be projected on the board so the whole class can see them and they can engage with their classmates and the teacher. This would be a projection of a virtual room
  • In a Flipped Classroom model, most if not all direct instruction is done asynchronously with class time used to unpack the direct instruction. This allows all students to have a shared experience offline and online that is potentially more equitable.
  • How would students use the recordings and how often? 
  • How many students do we foresee needing access to a recording? Does the school have this data from remote instruction in the Spring?
  • Recordings would provide students a way to catch up with what they missed. Also, this would prevent teachers from having to re-teach to kids who are absent.
  • Do we want teachers to have a window into their classrooms all day? How might that impact instruction and the level of discourse in the classroom?
  • Do we want students at home glued to a virtual live classroom all day, or do we want them able to take screen breaks throughout the day?
SEL Considerations

Students who can’t join class in-person may feel disconnected from class. In a hybrid model this can be exacerbated. 

Does a recording act as a stand-in for feeling “part of the class?” What if students had an option for attending either the live class or live office hours?

Instill a “buddy system” for students so that they have another student to reach out to in case they must go remote suddenly or if they are remote semi-permanently? This could also be the person in class who checks in on them to make sure that they are doing OK during the class if they are joining remotely.

Do fun, community-building activities that are accessible by and intentionally incorporate remote participants. This could be as simple as projecting students attending remotely on the board in the classroom during a game or activity.

SEL and Distance Learning resources from Edutopia

Articles/Links
Food for Thought

Lisa Nielsen works for the Dept of Ed in NYC. Lyn Hilt is Program Administrator, Office of Professional Development & Curriculum at Berks County IU & a former elementary principal. Brendan is an educator in Chicago Public Schools. Shira Wolf-Cohen served as principal of New Foundations Charter School in Philadelphia until the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

Recommendations

Recommendation #1: Every classroom teacher has a dedicated folder for class recordings that is shared with their department head. All recordings are placed here and named with a schoolwide naming convention (i.e. HertzLiteracy09-23-20). Class recordings that contain student likenesses and voices are deleted by the last day of the 2020-21 school year, if not before.

Recommendation #2: In upper grades, in a hybrid model, all students receive the same pre-recorded, asynchronous material at home (direct instruction) and class time is devoted to unpacking that content. This gives both in-person and out-of-school learners the same baseline instruction with the opportunity for personalized differentiation in class and during office hours. Remote students can join the class virtually through a dedicated device in the room so they can participate in discussions, ask questions, etc… Little class time in this model is spent on direct instruction. Grade level or content area teachers can share the responsibility of creating and recording instruction. 

Recommendation #3: Collect feedback at a minimum of weekly per class to take the temperature of how students joining remotely feel about their ability to engage with peers and content and adjust accordingly.

Recommendation #4: Make sure that all communication and agreements between families and school clearly lays out the school’s policy on streaming and recording classes. 

Recommendation #5: Limit recording of children under 13 as much as possible in a classroom setting. For fully remote lessons, students can turn off their video.

Recommendation #6: All learning is treated as if it is fully online, even if it takes place in the classroom. Students learning face to face will access the same digital classroom and resources as kids learning from home. 

Recommendation #7: Provide teachers with extra release time and class coverage for preparing digital materials and holding office hours. This may mean more personnel is needed to cover classes. Assistants could also assist with uploading recordings and managing students accessing the class remotely. 

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