Hybrid classroom: definition, importance, necessary equipment

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated our rate of moving onto the purely technological, and while remote working and learning can’t replace all forms of socialization, it exposed that fostering remote and hybrid working and learning can provide several benefits for all businesses and schools.

While we may think in-person learning is far more valuable than a hybrid set-up, incorporating more hybrid working routines by utilizing virtual conferencing and learning management systems is a beneficial way to unite students from all backgrounds and availability. 

Not only does this make learning more accessible for people who are unable to reach a classroom every day, but it can also make the learning experience a lot less daunting for those who value home comforts and would instead participate during lessons from the comfort of their own home. Now, we’re not suggesting that remote learning should completely replace all forms of face-to-face teaching, but adopting some hybrid working can prove valuable to both teachers and students. 

To help, we’ve created this complete guide to all things hybrid teaching. Today, we’ll be discussing the definition and importance of hybrid classrooms and will provide you with a comprehensive list of ways that you can include and optimize hybrid teaching and learning for your students. 

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What is a hybrid classroom?

Before we get into the specifics of how to set up a hybrid classroom, it’s integral that we first define what a hybrid classroom is. A hybrid classroom is a teaching and learning method that incorporates standard features of face-to-face learning and teaching and technology to unite both in-person and remote attendees. 

This is especially beneficial for students living overseas, those who cannot attend due to illness and isolation, or students that work part-time and are unable to meet traditional schooling hour requirements. Hybrid classroom ratios can vary. Some teachers may elect to have certain days where they teach entirely online, while some may choose to teach in classrooms with a mixture of both in-person and virtual attendees. 

We saw the rise of hybrid classrooms during the Covid-19 pandemic in an attempt to minimize contact with potentially infected students, with this teaching method now transcending lockdowns and making its way to the mainstream. Hybrid working and teaching models have been launched successfully worldwide, with many teaching institutions like universities adopting a hybrid working pattern in an attempt to boost engagement and accessibility for students.

While there are some concerns about hybrid teaching and learning’s impact on peer challenge, socialization and organization, hybrid teaching and learning models have several substantial benefits that make this option attractive for students and families looking for teaching on their terms. Hybrid classrooms allow for far more flexibility when compared to the traditional classroom. 

Now, students can participate and learn from anywhere in the world, making schooling in universities more accessible for international students. Additionally, this is a great way to incorporate students who aren’t able to join lessons for elongated periods of time due to illness or disability. Hybrid classrooms can also prove beneficial for students looking to cut down on the cost of commuting to and from their school, making it a budget-friendly option.

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How does hybrid classroom technology work? How can you set up a hybrid classroom?

So, how does a hybrid classroom work? Well, this depends on the technology that educators choose to run their hybrid classroom. Depending on their classroom set-up and in-person to virtual attendee-student ratio, teachers may choose to use varying technologies like virtual conferencing platforms and online workload management software to unite both in-person and virtual attendees.  

This technology works by using online platforms where students can submit work to the teacher or utilize their camera and microphone to participate in class and interact with their peers. Similar to how we interacted and worked via conferencing platforms like Zoom, Teams or Skype, schools use similar methods to give an in-person experience to virtual attendees. 

Setting up hybrid classrooms requires educators to consider many things, from the camera and sound quality to classroom layout and acoustics. To help you understand how to set up and optimize a hybrid classroom, we’ve created this list of considerations that you’ll need for your hybrid classroom. 

1. Organize the classroom

Before you invest in any technology, you should first organize your classroom to facilitate online learning. It’s likely that your current classroom is set out to deliver in-person lessons, with students placed in rows facing the front of the class. While this can be beneficial, it can make it harder to unite students who operate remotely. 

Instead, consider creating more of a board room layout, with in-person students on either side of a long tale with in-person attendees displayed on the board at the head of the table. This creates a more unified approach and not only gives the classroom a professional touch but also ensures all students can collaborate with ease. 

2. Provide the technology for displaying multiple video feeds

Not only is it integral to ensure that your virtual students can see and receive all the learning materials from the classroom, but it’s also essential that in-person attendees can see these students. This creates a more collaborative and equal learning environment that promotes socialization and peer challenge. 

To do this, ensure that you have the correct technology that can easily display multiple video feeds. We recommend making use of an interactive whiteboard or video walls and video wall technology to ensure you have a wide enough surface area to display a large number of virtual students. 

3. Provide electronic devices for the students

One of the essential parts of creating a successful hybrid learning model is ensuring that all students have access to the necessary devices and online learning material. 

This technology tends to include access to a laptop so they can participate in lessons, the learning software you intend to use for turning in assignments and monitoring student progress, a camera to see the classroom and the student, and a microphone so students can readily participate. 

Educational institutions should provide this equipment to ensure students with all budgets can easily access learning materials.


4. Provide the electronic background for students to collaborate

Providing electronic background knowledge is integral to a successful hybrid working model. Students need to know how to leverage online learning materials in order to collaborate successfully. Consider delivering some face-to-face or virtual training sessions to students to teach them the best ways to use online learning equipment to collaborate with their peers. 

This is especially important if you’re choosing to abide by an online teaching model that caters to younger children who may not have the technological know-how to collaborate efficiently via online platforms.

5. Set up cameras to show remote students all learning materials 

When creating a hybrid learning set-up, it’s essential to give your online students as much visibility of learning materials as possible. To do this, you should position all cameras to display as many in-person learning materials as possible. 

This should show footage and images from your whiteboards of interactive learning platforms, video walls, projectors and any other learning material display resources to ensure both in-person and virtual students get the most out of the lesson. Ensure that your cameras are good quality to avoid blurry images or slow frame rates, as this may impact the learning experience. 

6. Find a classroom with good acoustics to minimize noise disruption.

One of the things you’ll need to think about if you’re looking to adopt a hybrid working model is classroom acoustics. Good acoustics are necessary to carry sound efficiently without the impact of echoes or background noise that causes disruption. 

You should ensure that you find a classroom with good acoustics to avoid echoes and sound travel that disrupt microphones, as this may stop virtual attendees from immersing themselves in the lesson. 

You should also ensure that your technological devices don’t interfere with your microphones or speakers, as feedback can distract learning for both in-person and virtual students.


7. Make use of user-friendly conferencing platforms

Conferencing platforms will be central to your hybrid learning model, as you’ll need a centralized platform that ensures your students can speak, listen and collaborate. When finding a virtual conferencing platform, try to use user-friendly software and collaboration tools to ensure students can easily participate in lessons. 

This conferencing platform should also have no bugs or technological glitches that impact performance. Glitches and performance problems can disrupt the flow of your lesson, making it hard for students to concentrate.

The future of hybrid learning: will it stay with us? 

While you may associate hybrid learning with the after-effects of the pandemic, most students are actually in favor of adopting this way of working well into the future. While some may struggle with engagement, many students now associate hybrid working with better work-life balances, more positive attitudes towards learning and fewer costs associated with visiting their school in person.

A study carried out by UNESCO showed that 82% of students worldwide favored a hybrid or completely online learning approach, with only 18% saying they wanted a return to complete in–person studies. However, a third of universities worldwide offer exclusively in-person teaching for courses, but experts expect this to shrink as the decade progresses.

Only 21% of senior university officials said that they expected to offer fully online models by 2025, so it looks as if the in-person model is here to stay for now. 

Despite this, hybrid working and learning have proven themselves to be valuable weapons in our attempt to keep up with technology and changing work-life balances, so we may see an increase in the adoption of these working models later in the decade.

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Final thoughts

Finding ways to make hybrid learning more interactive and dynamic can be tricky, but using the right technology to change up your learning environment is a positive step in the right direction. DEXON offers a host of useful video wall technology that can take your hybrid learning to the next level with engaging visual content. 

Why not check out our video wall matrix switchers, processors and controllers to see how you can revolutionize your display and unite your virtual and in-person attendees with great conferencing equipment? 

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