The “World After Quarantine” Definition of Hybrid Learning


How does the school world look after quarantine? Everyone is planning some sort of hybrid model of learning, but definitions of hybrid learning may be forever changed. In this episode of the Learning Counsel’s virtual discussions, some of our nation’s brightest education leaders discuss what is to come, and how they plan to make a new version of hybrid learning work in the aftermath of school quarantine.

According to LeiLani Cauthen, Publisher and CEO at the Learning Counsel, “When we look at hybrid, we've identified the three main types, and this is what we're going to want the panelists to talk about. The normal one that's in practice right now is there are basically two lanes. You're either on campus and you're using some online and digitized pieces. All the kids are in batch mode and the teacher is leading that all. So, they're the lieutenants running each individual batch of kids age, grade class structure. Or you have an online and remote version, either fully separate school attached to your district or the state or it's, these courses are online and they're different. Then there's the one lane hybrid. It's the same teaching structures or teachers are the center pin of that, and the teacher assigns those autonomous learning pieces, courseware, something in your LMS, maybe Google Class, maybe Microsoft, and they do all of that. So, it's a digital hybrid and can be remoted anytime, but it's still structured around classes and grades.

The new thing to discuss right now is the flipped hybrid. So it’s student driven, it's all built around the student. At its peak level, it's what we call Uberization. It's using form workflow and each individual child is on their own individual pathway. And as they arrive at certain groups of points, it triggers a teachable moment, that might be whole group and might be small group or it might even be direct instruction for that one struggling child. So, it's a different structure altogether.”

Ben Fobert is the Principal at Mountain House High School, a part of Lammersville USD in California. Fobert said, “The first thing that really comes to mind is the consumerization of public education in our country. When Mountain House High School opened six years ago, we were kind of competing with another public school in our area where students still have the right to go to. And so we immediately felt that consumerization. We had to sell ourselves. How are we different? And I think that is what's happening right now. This situation really has driven people to start thinking, well, if, if my kids are gonna have to be at home and the school is trying to do exactly what they've been doing face to face in an online manner, forget it.

It's too hard,” said Fobert. “Especially in the K eight level. I'm not just the principal at the high school here, I have seven children of my own and some of them are in elementary school and our elementary school kids at home did not fare as well as our high school kids. Just because you can't do the same thing. You can't give the same kind of responsibility to a K-5 K-6 kid that you can to a seventh through 12th grader. We decided to start implementing not just blended learning strategies into our school, but make the public high school the one stop shop for every kind of learning a kid might need: credit recovery, fully online programs, hybrid programs, and putting it all together in one comprehensive high school where students can be part of the overall school community and at the same time engage in the learning in the way in which they desire.”

Dr. Mark Benigni, Superintendent of Meriden Public Schools said even when they were doing in-person learning, “I would like to think we were in the two-lane hybrid approach during the pandemic. We're probably much more in the one lane approach, but I think some of the things we had done before the pandemic put us in an advantageous position. Meriden Public Schools is small urban district between New York City and Boston, we have about 8,500 students. 77 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced meals. So definitely making sure that all students have devices, that they have access and that the district is providing digital content that can be engaging and also adaptive were critical to us. Our 6 through 12 students had devices that they kept with them and they keep them with them even over the summer months.

I think for us, we want students to embrace our core values, we want them to be able to learn anytime, anywhere and we want them to be able to do that with flexible learning spaces now in their own homes. Teachers are using Google Classroom and Google Hangouts and Meet. Students are accessing assignments at times that are convenient for them and their families. So I know having two children in our district, a seventh and an eighth grader, that my son will want to get up first thing in the morning and get right to his work. My daughter would rather sleep to in and get to her work later, but we want that flexibility to be in place for all of our students. We want them to access the assignments at a time that works well for them.”

Kurt Madden is the Chief Technology Officer at Fresno Unified School District. According to Madden, “if you're only going to have half your students at school at one time, then you have to deal with faculty care. Are they going to be, two days a week or one day a week? We think we're heading down the path of saying, we assume it's going to be two weeks, two days a week. We're hoping it's not one day a week, but that means that three days a week your students are at home. So the question we're trying to address is what does it look like for a teacher to have five to 12 students in their class all day and then have to keep up with the other 10 or 20 students that are at home? Do you have class with those five to 12 students and then the teacher in in the afternoon is checking in with the other, uh, 10 to 20 students?”

Watch the video

It seems the new normal is anything but normal. Schools in this next academic year will be moving to a hybrid learning model. But what does that mean in the year of COVID-19? Listen to the discussion and see what some of America’s top districts are doing to define Hybrid Learning in a world after quarantine.


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