Saturday, September 26, 2020

Student Thoughts about Hybrid Learning

Week before last I asked students some feedback questions about hybrid learning. We are pivoting off of hybrid this coming week, so I really should have written this post last weekend, but the information I received is still relevant, as I will continue to use some of the things I implemented for hybrid learning AND I feel it is very likely we will have to move back into hybrid learning at some point.

I've said it before, but I love gathering student thoughts. Yes, they think and communicate like young teenagers, but I always get good information and ideas from them.

I asked students about four aspects of hybrid learning: how it was going for them, Zoom sessions, the Weekly Planner, and lesson videos.

The Hybrid Experience
Students enjoy the slower pace of remote learning. They only had to Zoom for academic classes, so they had periods of time during the day that had no official obligations. They like being able to sleep a little later. They like moving at their own pace.

Their favorite aspect of being at home? Being able to eat what they want when they want it.

They don't like not having direct access to teachers while doing their work. They don't like having to deal with sometimes-glitchy technology. They feel they are more distracted at home and have a harder time completing their work (I would agree).

Zoom Sessions
I specifically asked about the Zoom sessions for my class, because every teacher did it a little differently.

In general, they liked the length of my sessions. Since I flipped lessons, I took attendance, did some sort of warm-up/introduction, and then explained the day's tasks/assignments. Students were free to hang around and work on their assignments while still on the Zoom session, but they seldom did.

I didn't realize how much Zoom lagged for many of them. Many mentioned they missed things that were said due to glitches.

The Weekly Planner
The Weekly Planner is a huge hit. One student said, "I live by the planner." I was talking to a group of students about continuing the use of the Weekly Planner, and one student asked, "You haven't always used the Planner?!?"

They like the Planner being organized and being able to find their assignments all in one place. They like knowing if they have completed everything they needed to do for a particular day.

Several asked for due dates to be listed in the Planner. The due dates are on the assignments in Google Classroom, but it is probably easy enough to also add that information to the Planner.

Lesson Videos
I must admit, I was a little nervous asking about the lesson videos. I just wasn't sure this group was "jiving" really well with the videos.

My fears were unfounded. They like all the aspects of videos that are the reasons I use videos: going at their own pace, being able to rewind, having the videos available to watch again later. Yesterday a student wanted to ensure that I would still be doing videos even when we are not following the hybrid model.

Interestingly, several mentioned wishing there was a way to encourage them to watch and engage with the video instead of "clicking through." One class actually asked me to play a video from the board so they could watch it as a class. I think EdPuzzle would do what they're asking for, but then they lose the ability to watch the video at a faster or slower pace if they want??? I'm still thinking about it. The fact that they're self-aware enough to know they're doing something that is not in their best interest is positive.

I can say I am seeing growth in their use of the videos and the notes they take. I sometimes forget the learning curve for how to use an academic video.


Overall, I thought the feedback I received from students was positive. Most of them are doing what they can given the circumstances and are rising to the challenge. Most of them feel I am adequately meeting their needs.

This coming week I will get to see all of my students at the same time and watch them all work on the same assignment. Things are still not "normal," but I am thankful for any amount of time I get to be with them all together.

This school year will continue to require frequent reflection and adaptation, and we will all continue to take one class period at a time.

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