Hybrid Instructional Model
The district decided to open the 2020-21 school year in a Hybrid Instructional Model. Our hybrid model includes two cohorts, A & B, which alternate between local and virtual (remote) attendance on opposite pairs of days at the beginning and end of each week, with all being virtual on Wednesdays. All teachers instruct from their classrooms in school, and the model for instruction has two components. It is a scenario where the teacher may leverage the new 75" Clear Touch panel recently installed in every classroom. It calls for the classroom teacher to have two concurrent Google Meet videoconferencing connections, one on their laptop and the other on the PC attached to the classroom interactive panel. We have provided each teacher with a laptop from a shared laptop cart, as the iPad each teacher already has creates lower quality video and is less reliable. The teacher's laptop (with camera and mic) can be placed on a desktop among the physically present students in the room facing the teacher - the teacher looks out a the local students, as well as into the camera so that the remote students are addressed in the same way as the local students. All remote students are in tile view on the 75" wall-mounted panel.
The second component involves the teacher's use of the PC connection in the Google Meet and presents that screen, which in this case is the 75" Clear Touch interactive panel, both local and remote students will see the same thing simultaneously. Although the PC connected to the interactive panel in this scenario has control of the presentation, using any content from the Internet, subscription-based content, video or interactive tools from the panel itself, the teacher's spoken word comes through via the secondary laptop connection.
It is also very important in the Hybrid Model for students in the classroom to be able to interact with the students that are at home as well as see the class lesson. This can be achieved by our teachers via the classroom laptop that may be easily rotated away from the teacher and pointed at the students in the room. An alternative to this involves the addition of a web cam to be mounted on top of each Clear Touch board, connected to the attached PC. The audio and video come from the board and the teacher can use one Google Meet connection through the classroom PC. We have acquired several webcams per school to pilot this.
The tricky part involves new classroom management techniques that involves managing an interactive panel, a laptop and a desktop computer. As both computers will be in the same room and simultaneously participating in a Google Meet videoconference, only one device at a time may generate audio as to not create feedback. As the mic on the laptop will be the only source of classroom audio, it will need to remain unmuted when the teacher is speaking, whether using the panel or the laptop to present. The panel's onboard speakers must be disabled as when audio generated there is not intended to be part of instruction. If audio from the panel is required, e.g., showing a video, etc., the laptop's mic will need to be muted. These techniques have been built into our mandatory staff PD programs, and instructional coaching and support for teachers, students and parents is provided in an ongoing fashion by our technology specialists.