Distance and hybrid learning
Enable synchronous learning with real-time virtual classes
July 14, 2020
The upcoming semester is approaching rapidly, and many school districts are beginning to release their plans, which vary from fully on campus learning to fully remote learning. In some cases, districts have implemented hybrid models or options where parents can choose between in person or remote learning for their children.
Even if classes do resume in person, many schools have planned how to incorporate social distancing, which may require students to spread out throughout the school campus. Whatever the format, it’s clear digital devices will continue to play a key role in learning, and teachers will need the right technology to maintain education continuity for their students.
“This blended education approach is going to require we have fully integrated and flexible tools. The classroom must be a seamless experience when you need to go virtual. And at the same time, the virtual classroom needs to feel and behave just like you are in a live classroom.”-Coby Gurr, General Manager for Lenovo Software.
Adopting synchronous learning methods
There are two main approaches to distance learning – synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous learning occurs when an educator teaches in real-time, while asynchronous learning refers to a method of providing students with work they can complete independently without direct involvement from the teacher.
When schools suddenly closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many teachers adopted an asynchronous learning approach to avoid overburdening parents and students who may not have equal access to digital devices. The educators we’ve spoken to have told us that while asynchronous learning worked as a stop gap, the lack of real-time interaction resulted in limited success. This model required more prep time from teachers and meant that students had to be largely self-motivated to complete their assigned work. It also made it much for difficult for students to ask questions and get quick responses to help clarify the lesson. Experts recommend a balanced combination of the two teaching methods to ensure the best student outcomes.
“Synchronous experiences, even for less than half an hour, also allow students to check in on their fellow classmates and get assurance that their teacher is doing okay. Particularly for younger students, it can be useful to maintain the rhythm of a traditional school day with an introductory chat, mimicking the transition from getting off the bus.”-Jennifer Kolar Burden, Curriculum Director for the Illinois Virtual School
As remote and hybrid learning continue, schools will need to support their teachers as they incorporate synchronous learning into their curriculum. Transitioning to synchronous learning will require teachers use video conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. To help, we’ve created a guide on using each platform in conjunction with LanSchool Air to make your virtual teaching experience as similar to in-class learning as possible. Previously, Lenovo Software offered Airclass which acted as a virtual training tool. Although Airclass is no longer supported, we included its screen sharing technology in LanSchool Air to better support distance learning. The combination of LanSchool Air’s classroom management tools and a conferencing tool like Google Meet or Microsoft Teams helps provide a comprehensive synchronous learning experience.
Distance learning using Microsoft Teams with LanSchool Air
- Work with your IT department to make sure Microsoft Teams is set up for your school. Create a new Team for your class or use an existing one.
- When it’s time for a synchronous lesson, log in to LanSchool Air and create a class. Add students or devices to the roster from Class Settings by searching for them by name. Click “Start Class” and confirm your students are logged in and online.
- In Microsoft Teams, go to Calendar and schedule a new Meeting. Add your students to the required attendee list and click “Send.”
Right-click the “Join Microsoft Teams Meeting” link select Copy Link Address. Then use the “Push Website” feature in LanSchool Air to send that link to students to put it front and center for them.
Here’s a quick video showing how to use Microsoft Teams with LanSchool Air.
Using Google Meet with LanSchool Air for remote learning
- When it’s time for a synchronous lesson, log in to LanSchool Air and create a class or sync with Google Classroom. Start Class and confirm students are logged in and online.
- Generate a Google Meet link directly in Google Classroom, or by going to meet.google.com.
- The teacher should join the meeting first to retain control of the participants. Be sure to allow access to your camera and microphone when prompted.
- Copy the Google Meet link and use the “Push Website” feature in LanSchool Air to send the link to students and ask them to join the meeting.
Here’s a quick video showing how to use Google Meet with LanSchool Air.
Ensuring education continuity in classroom and school at home environments
Although there are many unknowns going into the next school year, teachers have proven their resilience and adaptability over the past few months. With the right tools in place — and ongoing support from administrators — remote and hybrid learning will continue to evolve, ensuring student learning doesn’t miss a beat.
Ready to see how LanSchool Air can support your distance or hybrid learning program? Try our software free for 30 days and help ensure education continuity in the upcoming school year.