Going into the researching stage, I wasn’t sure how much information I was going to find about hybrid schooling platforms. My approach was to begin by researching homeschooling methods instead and see where it led me. The first article I read focused on student voice and web connectedness, which is essential in the homeschool and hybrid programs. Online connectedness is paramount to homeschoolers and how they connect and maintain a sense of community and their methods could be directly applied to hybrid schools. After reading more research on web connectedness, I have decided to create parent discussion forums for my classes for next year that will allow parents to communicate with each other as well as myself in order to develop good relationships, which in turn will cultivate more effective learning (hopefully).
After exploring ways to improve work outside of the classroom, I took a stab at looking for tips for blended learning platforms. Going through some of the material was slightly disheartening as it requires access and funds that my school currently doesn’t have. It’s very clear that while my particular school is still at it’s beginning stages; I will have to put in a lot of extra work to start moving towards creating a more stable environment for the students. However, it was good to read about goals I should begin to set for myself as well as suggest to the school.
There were a few constants in all of the articles that I found that I could continue to improve now which required no funding. Some of these include, encouraging mentor programs between students, tailoring learning to each particular student (should class size permit), and having teacher workshops where ideas can be shared between the staff to continue improving the learning environment. There were a number of articles that didn’t necessarily provide any valuable information pertaining to improving a hybrid program but praised different aspects of the program and how those options add value to the community. I wanted to see if there were any studies that did a comparison of hybrid schooling versus traditional homeschooling and found one from 2013. The result of hybrid student performance versus strictly online school student was a 14% higher positive outcome.
Anyone interested in the study can find it here (if you’re a UGA student): “Moving from Online to Hybrid Course Delivery: Increasing Positive Student Outcomes”
For my last bit of research I wanted to delve into the benefits strictly for high school students and online feedback in public forums. I was able to find a summary of the study, full access is only available at the UGA Library. The study took a 12th grade AP English class and recorded students reactions/thoughts to the comments they received after posting their work online. The study took into account not only the quantity of comments but also the quality. When I’m back on campus in July, I am going to make it a point to read through the study to see if I can get some good pointers before I begin teaching again in the Fall.