As we return to College after the festive period, Hybrid teaching is once more a reality. Some students are having to self-isolate, whilst others are struggling to return to the UK from abroad. Although hybrid teaching may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there are a number of strategies which teachers can use to support a student’s teaching and learning experience. The strategies suggested below are based on the discussions recorded during Golden Time – Eton’s internal CPD programme – in October 2020, as well as those recommended by the Digital Education team.
- Try to keep all students engaged by using a variety of digital tools.
NearPod: Quick Launch enables you to do a short answer question or even a drawing task.
Socrative: Short Answer questions allow voting so that students can reflect on their peers’ answers.
Quizzing tools like Quizlet or Kahoot! can also provide engaging ways of involving everyone simultaneously in a learning/informal testing activity.
- Simulate the physical schoolroom for students accessing the lesson remotely.
School iPads can be positioned so that the camera points to the schoolroom. However, this is only effective if an external microphone is used. If possible, you could also mirror the iPad’s screen to a projector in your schoolroom. This would mean that the students who are physically present can also see those joining remotely.
Another way of improving the audio for remote students is to have an external keyboard so that typing does not interfere with the sound.
- Create resources that can be accessed at any time.
Pre-recorded video clips and virtual lessons can be uploaded to Firefly or OneNote. These can be accessed by students in the schoolroom and those joining remotely. This is particularly useful for those students who are abroad and in a different time zone.
This can also be effective for practical elements of a lesson, for example in Science or Physical Education. These clips can also then be supported by worksheets and other resources so that students can show they have interacted with them.
Another way this can be achieved is through preparing lessons, where possible, entirely in NearPod. This allows you to combine slides and interactive elements throughout, whilst creating a uniform experience for both the students in the schoolroom and those accessing the lesson remotely.
- Have a clear start and end to the lesson.
One of the ways this can be achieved on Zoom for example, is to open a ‘Waiting Room’ prior to the lesson beginning. Welcome your online students like you would the ones in your schoolroom and also ensure that you say goodbye formally as well.
Plenary activities are especially important when hybrid teaching, as they not only allow you to check the understanding of all students but they also indicate that the lesson is finishing.
- Ensure that all students have chance to participate in class discussions.
If multiple students are joining the lesson remotely via Zoom, they can be put into breakout rooms to discuss various topics.
When hosting whole class discussion, encourage the students online to use the Zoom ‘Raise Hand’ function when they want to participate. On the other hand, for students who feel anxious about participating in this way, they can add comments or ideas using the chat tool on Zoom.
- Consider ‘cognitive load’ and try not to overwhelm students accessing the lesson remotely.
An engaging lesson in the schoolroom can sometimes be too much for those accessing the lesson online. Richard E. Mayer and Roxanna Moreno’s study on cognitive load and multimedia learning (2010) suggests that teachers need to ensure that they do not overload their students with unnecessary information when hybrid teaching.
They suggest the following strategies to help prevent this:
1. Audio-record instructions if there are too many instructions to present in one go.
2. Segment content i.e. more slides with less content.
3. Pre-teach complex elements of the lesson.
4. Weed out the extraneous material.
5. Signal the most important pieces of information for students.
6. Align text and images for correlation.
7. Eliminate redundancy i.e. do not double up on information.
As expected, there have been an increase in the number of studies published about hybrid teaching since the beginning of the pandemic. Here is a selection of further reading:
Emma Pass, The Hybrid Teacher: Using Technology to Teach in Person and Online (2021)
Chris Friend, Hybrid Teaching: Pedagogy, People, Politics (2021)
Douglas Fisher et al., The Quick Guide to Simultaneous, Hybrid, and Blended Learning (2021)
Hollie Woodard, Hacking Flex Teaching: 10 Solutions for Your Blended, Hybrid, or Distance Learning Classroom (2021)
 Emma Pass, The Hybrid Teacher: Using Technology to Teach in Person and Online, (New Jersey: Wiley, 2021)
 Richard E. Mayer and Roxanna Moreno, ‘Nine Ways to Reduce Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning’, Educational Psychologist, (2010), Vol.38, pp. 43–52.