One of the biggest challenges we hear from educators is how to get students engaged with distance learning. To solve this, many districts and schools are turning to hybrid learning as a way to bring their students together safely and keep them more engaged and socialized.
Hybrid learning, also often referred to as blended learning, is the combination of in person, socially distanced activities with remote work. In the current situation, the seated portions of instruction are moving to remote spaces, leaving an opportunity to bring kids together (6 feet apart!) for interactive games and collaborative experiences.
In an Unruly Splats survey of more than 200 principals and teachers heading into the 2020-2021 school year, 83% said that they are looking to implement some form of hybrid learning into their classroom, rather than strictly remote or all in person instruction.
As one educator said in our 2020 school year study, “learning is itself social.” The benefits of hybrid learning are that it maintains in-person collaboration while having a significant portion of the work done remotely. It also serves students’ social emotional learning to socialize and collaborate with other students on projects.
We have 3 tips for making hybrid learning for kids the most effective it can be and plenty of resources to help you implement it.
Make the time in the physical classroom count with hands-on games and activities! Unruly Splats firmly believes in the power of play as a teaching tool — It’s the bedrock of our mission, in fact! — and research shows that students perform better when actively involved in a project.
Unruly Splats’ programmable floor buttons combine coding and active play through code-able games. Students code Splats to light up and make sounds when they are stomped on our pressed. In addition to pre-loaded games, students can code their own like whack-a-mole, relay races and musical chairs.
Through these games, students learn the foundations of coding but also develop broader skills in problem-solving, not to mention creativity. To accommodate hybrid learning, we’ve updated our best practices guide to include social distancing tips, sanitizing tricks, and virtual-friendly activities.
Take our splat game The Rainbow Keyboard for example, in which kids code a series of musical sounds coordinated with different color Splats. While typically done in a live classroom with Splats and quite a bit of stomping, the game can easily be separated into two sections. Students can work on coding processes at home and later present the project in class, either remotely or in-person with their peers.
The best part? You can still use Unruly Splats without physical splats! Students can program from home and use Virtual Splats with the Unruly app. For more information on using Splats remotely, check out our Splatting without Splats guide.
No matter what activities you choose, leaving space for fun and silliness is a must.
In our 2020-2021 study, one of the questions we asked teachers is: Is it important to have students collaborating with other students during distance learning?
90% of those surveyed said YES!
Collaboration is a key part of learning, and distance doesn’t have to get in the way of it. Hybrid Learning can retain collaborative portions while keeping everyone feeling safe.
Hybrid Learning for kids works best when the least interactive portions are the ones held remotely. If there is a portion of your lesson plan where you had planned to have the students seated and listening, make that the core of your remote work. Then have students come into the classroom and do an activity that wouldn’t be as effectively done being at home.
Unruly Splats activities combine both coding and collaborative play, making them great for a hybrid learning environment. Using our Splats iOs or web app, students can follow along with the coding part of a lesson through video or on their own and play the games they coded in person with classmates.
For example, in our STEM and fitness activity pack, students learn to code their own countdown timer and stopwatch to create a fitness circuit. The fitness circuit could include doing jumping jacks for 30 seconds and using their stopwatch to see how long it takes them to do 10 pushups. After creating their own challenge, students can try each other’s challenges in person. No matter which Splats activity you choose, your students will get the chance to work
together and problem solve.
In addition to hybrid learning, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is one of the biggest topics in education right now. Teaching kids to have self-awareness, empathy and responsibility lays the foundation for a new generation of global citizens, who can problem-solve in compassionate ways. Leave time in the planned activities to discuss the impact of the projects and how they can be beneficial long term for STEM learning, problem solving and project development.
Now more than ever, allowing students to share any of their feelings in response to the pandemic is a critical part of SEL. You may have students experiencing isolation and loneliness, and it may be helpful for them to share their frustrations with their friends or a trusted adult. Leave the floor open for sharing, or let kids have a small group session where they can talk with one another without pressure from the rest of the class.
Need inspiration for SEL exercises? Check out our SEL activity pack. These games all focus on play and collaboration and can be done virtually as well as in a classroom.
Have tips for hybrid learning for kids? Write us and we can add them to this post at firstname.lastname@example.org