Even though many countries are lifting their lockdowns and schools are reopening their doors, some students may still not be able to get to, or feel comfortable in, the physical classroom. To create a flexible solution where everyone can take part in the learning process, some International House schools have started offering courses in a hybrid classroom.
What is a hybrid class?
A hybrid class is much like a regular class, with students sitting in the physical class – socially distanced – while other students tune in from home. They do this via the camera and microphones that are set up in the classroom allowing the student at home to see the teacher and interact with the in-class students. This method of teaching allows greater flexibility for both schools and students.
How does a hybrid class work?
The teacher will go through the learning points of the day as normal, standing in one position or area to respect social distancing rules. For the students in the classroom, this will be as usual, but the students at home will be able to watch the classroom via Zoom or another platform. Many IH schools have set up one – or multiple – 360 degree or wide-angle camera in the classroom so that the online students can have the full classroom experience and change between classroom views. As well as the mics in the ceiling, the teacher will also wear a mic so the sound for the student at home will create a better, clearer learning experience and is therefore more immersive.
Activities work much the same, with in-classroom students able to work with online students via iPads or laptops. In many schools, students will be offered this technology, which will have been cleaned with disinfectant, but are asked to bring their own headset or headphones. If they prefer, they could instead bring their own tablet/mobile devices to use.
To be authentically hybrid, the lesson quality for online students should be the same as for the students in the physical classroom. International House has quality charters for both types of learning which all schools abide by.
What are the benefits of a hybrid class?
With many big changes taking place around the world to make people safer due to covid-19, International House schools feel it is vital to look into all possible solutions and not limit themselves and their students to face-to-face or online options only. The freedom of choice about whether to come into the classroom or learn from home is the main benefit of the hybrid system. Students will be empowered to choose what works best for them based on what makes them feel most safe or comfortable.
The most important thing is that students feel safe and happy because if they are relaxed and focused only on the lesson, that is when the real learning will happen.
Hybrid classes also offer greater flexibility if a student is poorly with a cold or a cough, for example. With the new ‘stay at home’ regulations, they would have to miss their class. But with a hybrid lesson, as long as they have a laptop or tablet, they can tune into the lesson from home and keep up their studies. The same applies for any other external factors that could impact attending the classroom in person, like a public transport strike, for example. A student would feel reassured to know they didn’t have to miss their lesson.
If it had not been for the pandemic, International House schools may not have been inspired to look into a more flexible study option, but with such advanced technology at our disposal – not to mention 4 months’ of experience in innovation and implementing new ways of learning very quickly! – why not use it to help advance and expand learning options for students?