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How to Set Up a Hybrid Learning Space

Hybrid learning is quickly becoming one of the most important teaching methods to use. Because it is associated strongly with technology it may be scary to adapt this change, especially if you already are already facing other challenges in the classroom.

Knowing how to set up your hybrid learning space is key for not only avoiding future issues, but also it is essential for enhanced student-centered learning. Thanks to reliable EdTech and strategic classroom design, hybrid learning is made easy. With these strategies and design, your hybrid learning space is going to be optimized.

Read on to learn more about hybrid learning and the hybrid learning space. Or see ViewSonic’s hybrid learning solutions.  

Hybrid learning is a newer teaching strategy using technology. Because many modern classrooms now use technology, teachers are coming up with new ways to shift the paradigms of education so that they are more student-centered. A part of this paradigm change is hybrid learning.

Hybrid learning is beneficial to all kinds of students. Whether they are receiving special education, are A+ students, or are the lovable troublemaker, hybrid learning offers a solution for them. Most importantly, hybrid learning offers flexible teaching strategies and classroom setups for teachers.

A part of this hybrid strategy is to know how to format your students’ learning spaces. This is important because half, if not more, of your students are not physically present in the classroom. Without proper classroom design, distanced students will be bored, perform poorly, and potentially even fall behind. Thankfully, we have some tips and suggestions for you!

Brief Introduction to Hybrid Learning

Hybrid learning is a type of blended learning that refers to implementing synchronous lessons that are taught simultaneously in-person and online.

Hybrid learning is great because it allows the children who need face-to-face instruction to receive that while those who desire a more flexible approach can receive that as well. Hybrid learning also allows for varying teaching strategies to be used with only a fraction of the challenge.

You can also learn more about synchronous and asynchronous learning here: Asynchronous vs Synchronous Learning” What’s Best for Distance Education?

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Why Are Hybrid Learning Spaces Beneficial?

Hybrid learning is beneficial for several reasons. One of the most bragged about reasons hybrid learning is encouraged is that it increases flexibility for students. This is because flexibility is an important part of a student’s learning experience. Whether it be for pacing issues, scheduling due to family matters, chronic illnesses, or other factors, hybrid learning closes the gap for these students.

But flexibility is just one of the many benefits of hybrid learning. Some of these include more inclusive classrooms, student-centered pedagogy, increased student collaboration, active learning and so much more! Here are 4 more benefits to hybrid learning you should know!

How to Set Up Hybrid Learning Spaces

Hybrid learning seems great on paper, but there are some challenges you should consider when adapting to a hybrid learning strategy. The biggest factor is the learning spaces involved and how to utilize them productively. Learning spaces for hybrid learning should consider not only the physical location, but how these physical locations interact and build upon one another.

Hybrid Learning at Home

Creating a hybrid learning space at home is probably one of the more difficult learning spaces to set up. You, as a parent, or a teacher offering suggestions, must consider what is the best option for the student. For example, if the student has poor microphone quality or video quality, then it can be difficult to be heard or seen in the physical classroom and so on.

Ensure at the bare minimum, that your student has a decent computer and a functioning Internet connection so that they will not be left behind in class. And consult with all students about what their capabilities are. Do not use lessons that can only be done with one type of technology. Always be considerate of accessibility as well as the living situation for the student.

What is also important for the home learning space is where you choose to learn. Let the student pick the spot that is most comfortable to them. Whether it is near a noisy window or a peaceful corner, they know where they feel more comfortable and productive. Khan Academy provided 7 tips for setting up a productive learning space at home if you’d like to learn more!

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Hybrid Learning in the Classroom

Hybrid learning in the classroom means deciding what technology you will use. It also may involve determining if this subject is really fit for hybrid situations. Some lessons can only be taught face-to-face, however, most can be adapted and modified to hybrid learning environments.

After you have set up the frameworks, you can start to consider the technology you need. However, there are three main technologies your classroom will need for successful hybrid learning.

Interactive Whiteboard

Interactive whiteboards are a catch-all term for interactive touch displays that respond to real-time action and act like traditional whiteboards. Every classroom needs a chalkboard or a whiteboard but transforming it into the digital is highly important. With a high functioning and high-quality interactive whiteboard with the right software, you can promote student collaboration, share content, use remote teaching strategies and so much more on a single device.

If you are looking for a high functioning and high-quality interactive whiteboard with pre-installed software, check out ViewSonic’s ViewBoards for Education.

Video Hardware and Software

Having good video recording or live streaming hardware is extremely important for hybrid learning spaces. Since half or more of your students will be presented on video, one of the biggest challenges of hybrid learning is getting everyone to hear one another, canceling out noise, and loss of connection.

To help solve this issue, purchase laptops, interactive whiteboards, or other hardware with built-in microphones, as well as consider investing in professional external microphones If you are using recordings. You can also use external screens and use a projector so that all in-class students can easily see distanced students clearly.

If you are interested in a projector, check out how to choose the perfect education projector, or learn more on why videos are so important in hybrid learning with video-assisted learning.

ViewSonic has developed the myViewBoard Suite, a group of apps designed to facilitate learning in a broad number of configurations. For a hybrid learning space, myViewBoard Classroom has been specifically developed with a number of tools to ensure students get the most out of each lesson.

Assistive Technology

One of the benefits of hybrid learning is the ability to create more inclusive classrooms. This is because we can utilize more types of assistive technologies in the classroom or make lessons available to students who have difficulty being physically present in the classroom. Assistive technology is defined as any device, piece of equipment, or system that helps to enhance and accommodate people with special needs, impairments, or disabilities.

Assistive technology in this case can be the laptops, video equipment, or other technologies you use to include students with certain needs into your classroom. Not to mention, the ViewBoard has functions like live-closed captions, recording, screen sharing, and other functions to easily modify your lesson plans to fit all students whether they are distanced or in-class.

If you’d like to learn more about assistive technology for all kinds of situations, you can learn more here.

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Hybrid Learning as a Workspace

The final hybrid learning space you need to consider is the workspace. The workspace, in this sense, refers to how students will work and collaborate with one another. This means targeting more of the classroom design rather than the hardware required. However, you should consider your and your students’ hardware and software when creating an optimal classroom design for collaboration between students.

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Think-pair-share is one of the most common group collaboration strategies around. This strategy requires a few minutes of individual thinking, pairing two or more students, and then sharing ideas among themselves. The benefit of this is that it is easy to pair distance students with in-class students. You can even mute the distanced students for them to discuss among themselves or other variants of the process.

When deciding on this classroom design, you can use traditional design formats. This can be all desks facing the front towards a screen. You can also consider using varieties of what are called SCALE-UP classrooms. However, these kinds of set up are best suited for schools that can have access to tablets or laptops for individual students.

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Jigsaw is also sometimes called “snowballing.” This form of collaborative strategy relies on students building upon each other to create the final concept. The two teams are broken into what are called “home” and “experts”. To use the jigsaw method in groups, one or more students who are the “experts” will leave their group, collect information on a particular topic then return to their “home” group to share. Once discussion has finished, all groups will share and collaborate to finish the “jigsaw.”

When setting up a classroom for jigsaw strategies, it would be best to have two displays of some kind, whether it is two interactive whiteboards or two projectors. Place in-class students in the middle while the distance students will be on the outside or projected on the wall. That way everyone is visible in various directions.

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Fishbowl method is unique in that it can use both strategies of think-pair-share and jigsaw. However, it focuses highly on discussion and creativity.  You can use fishbowl for several different reasons such as text readings, discussion, collaborative problem-solving, and more. Most importantly it is a fun way to encourage students to communicate and not to be shy when sharing their ideas.

Fishbowl may be more difficult to design in hybrid learning as it is meant to be in a circle or “campfire”. However, if you have multiple classroom tablets, or if all students have a cell phone or other video/microphone technologies, each distance student can be paired with an in-class student. There are multiple different ways you could emulate a fishbowl in your hybrid learning workspace.

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Final Considerations for Hybrid Learning Spaces

Hybrid learning spaces are ideal for a multitude of scenarios. So, if you ever feel your setup or strategy is not working, try another one! Hybrid learning allows teachers and students to have more freedom and options in their learning and teaching experiences.

If you would like more information on how hybrid learning can benefit your students, or would like to contact us for more information on how to get accessible EdTech solutions, visit our hybrid learning education solutions page to get all that and more. Or learn more about the distance learning component of hybrid learning here.