What is a Hybrid Classroom?
I suppose if you’re coming to a site called HybridClassroom.com, the least I can do is explain what a hybrid classroom IS.
True Confession: I don’t know.
I don’t know, but I think I have some idea of what it looks like, and once in awhile, on a good day, it looks like my classroom… and my website.
And that’s the key of course. On the spectrum of learning situations, with the Teacher-in-a-Clasroom on one end and exclusively online-based learning on the other, the Hybrid Classroom floats around somewhere in the middle. The Hybrid Classroom is one in which the teacher meets with students, but also conducts some significant portion of the teaching process online.
And that’s it. That’s all there is. HybridClassroom.com was begun to offer suggestions about how to begin conducting your own courses as hybrids, and encourage discussion around the topic. Toward those ends, you’re going to find all sorts of information here, from Words of Wisdom from other hybrid teachers, to technical how-tos, to links to the sites of other people who are thinking about and doing the same thing. This is going to be great.
I have two things that I’ll reveal right here, before we get into the nitty-gritty in the next few postings. The first is this:
Work With What You Got
There’s no one right way to go about becoming hybrid, and that’s a good thing, because we’re all in different situations. Public school vs. private school, desktop vs. laptop, Mac vs. PC (vs. Linux!), Elementary vs. High School, English vs. Math, motivated vs. at-risk students, supportive vs. indifferent (vs. combative!) administrators… We all have to take advantage of the resources we have, and navigate with strength and creativity the obstacles with which we’re faced. Wherever you are, that’s where you start, and you decide which way you want to go.
But… you have concerns.
- Do I need to host my own website to be a Hybrid Classroom teacher?
You don’t need your own domain name for your website. One of the most active hybrid teachers I know runs much of her 9th grade English courses using free (occasionally ad-supported) web-based services such as Blogger, Google Docs, and Wikispaces. (Of course, owning your own domain name does give you certain advantages, and we’ll be talking about some of those soon.)
- I don’t know how to program computers, though!
You don’t need to be a programming whiz. Another hybrid teacher and former colleague uses Moodle as Course Management Software (CMS) for his AP Chemistry course. Moodle is free, open source, and once installed on your system, a snap to use.
- I’m not very good with technology, though.
You don’t need to be a geek. One of the best websites at my school is that of a History teacher who has almost no technical skill (no offense, Garine!) She prepared the content for her site, had some ideas on how to organize it, and talked a more-capable friend into helping her get it all loaded up into Google’s free Sites.
Wherever you are, that’s where you start.
Becoming a Hybrid Teacher is an Iterative Process
No one that I know of got home from a hard day of teaching one day and said, “You know, tomorrow I think I’m going to switch to Hybrid Teaching.” It doesn’t work like that, because there are just too many things to be done, and you can’t do them all at once. So for anyone who’s maybe a little geeky, a little high-tech, and thinking about incorporating some technology into your classroom or teaching, you have permission to be patient with your progress. Do a little at a time, and over the course of a day, a week, a chapter, a semester, a year, three years… you’ll make your way towards your goal.
What might a Hybrid Classroom include? There are lots of ways to make your classroom hybrid… and that’s what we’ll begin to address next time.
In the meantime, stay geeky…