Using information to provide the right supports for learners
Hybrid learning offers a way of designing for learning that isn’t determined by thinking about location in the first instance. The intention is to enable learners to be able to seamlessly transition between onsite and remote locations as their circumstances or needs require while continuing to receive quality learning experiences.
Personalised levels of support
Not every student will require the same level of support by the teacher – some will require less, and some will require more. The following research provides a useful representation of this.
From the research: Support communities for remote learning
Studies have indicated that student success in remote learning depends partially, at least, on their personal support communities. Research by Borup, Graham, West, Archambault and Spring (2020) suggested that a student’s ability to engage successfully in online/remote or blended learning courses increases with support from two types of communities. The course community (school community) includes those associated with the remote programme of learning such as teachers and school leaders. The personal community is made up of people such as parents, grandparents, siblings and friends. The people in these two communities have varied skills and abilities to support student engagement during periods of remote learning.
The other variable to consider is the ability of the student to engage with their work independently. The diagrams on the next page provide a representation of this.
The yellow circles at the center of the models represent the ability of the students to engage in their learning independently. Obviously, the size of this will vary for each student and in these diagrams one student (diagram 1) has a good ability to engage independently and the other (diagram 2) does not. The two support communities (the school is blue and the personal support community
is pink) can help students fill gaps between their independent ability and the engagement necessary for successful online learning which is represented by the black outer line. When the ability to work independently is smaller, the other two support communities need to be bigger if academic success is to be the outcome. When the skill and ability of the personal community to support
the student is limited then the school community support needs to grow to fill the gap (as in the diagram 2) to ensure quality learning is the outcome.
Follow the link below to read the full article.
Using support communities during periods of home learning
The above model is useful for teachers to keep in mind at times of hybrid and remote learning and as they prepare for such events. It helps teachers determine the level of help needed for each student. If students are highly independent, then they will need less from the other two support communities. If they have people living at home who are able to provide high levels of support for remote learning, then the input of the school community can be smaller. However, if a child or young person does not have a personal community able to provide the support needed for engagement in remote learning (they might be sick, be essential workers, have a new baby in the house, or lack the confidence and capability to help, for example), then the input of teachers will need to be
bigger. Each student’s personal community support will vary considerably.
NOTE: the research suggests that for quality learning to occur, it doesn’t matter which support community provides the support, as long as it is provided. Adjusting support to students’ needs
During a period of remote learning, educators will need to adjust the support they provide for each student. Some strategies and approaches are provided that have assisted kaiako and teachers to provide the right levels of support for ākonga.
- Ability to work independently – knowing each ākonga’s ability to work independently, what will engage them or support them to engage is important as teachers plan programmes of learning for remote learners. Understanding how learners engage (behaviorally, affectively and/or cognitively) will help teachers to determine the kinds of help and support that will be needed. Does the student need time management support? More engaging activities that link to the learner’s passions? More cognitively challenging work? Or instructional support to help them engage cognitively with the work? This is where teachers’ knowledge of students can help.
- Surveying students and whānau– seeking information from the students, whānau and previous teachers about what supported individual students in previous lockdowns – knowing what engaged them and what didn’t will be helpful to build a picture of supports needed.
- Knowing the availability of technology, devices and internet– and each student’s likely access to a device and internet prior to remote learning will help ensure school devices are distributed where they are most needed. Developing a distribution plan in advance would be helpful for a quick response and updating it regularly. If devices are not available, then a plan for providing paper-based learning and the delivery of learning packs will be essential.
Knowing students’ personal support communities (whānau, family & friends)
Knowing each student’s (likely) personal support community – Whānau/parents/ friends: Having knowledge (preferably in advance) of the personal support community that will likely be available to a student during a remote learning period will help teachers to quickly ensure that their support goes where it is most needed. Who will be available to support a student’s learning? How confident do they feel? What is their level of capability?
During lockdowns, educators spoke of providing layered support – a certain level of learning support to all students and then providing additional support to students who were less likely to work independently and/or who, for a wide variety of reasons, did not have a strong personal support network to support their remote learning.
Recording the information in an easily accessible, online format which teachers will be able to access from home, if needed – such as on online student profiles, or a table on Google docs – will aid responsiveness.
Watch this video of Urs Cunningham share Amesbury School’s approaches to supporting their school community during times of lockdown and remote learning. Find out what they learned.
Transcript for Urs Cunningham, Principal of Amesbury School. Interviewed by Dr Lesley Murrihy, Ministry of Education. On Remote learning: Parent, whānau and ākonga support.
We try and make it really clear that for both of those conferences, they are optional, we are not going to chase you or judge you if your child isn't on the conference. But what we have said we will do is we do check-in.
So we'll talk about the check-ins in a minute.
Just to check that if children don't make the conference because they forgot or they didn't particularly want to, that's fine. But if children aren't making the conference time because there's something that's not working well for them or they're struggling, we just want to make sure that we
can help families with that. So again, that's something we've tried to balance being in touch enough with families that they can tell us if there's any issues, but also not chasing families doggedly. So they think they're being pursued if they're not doing everything.
We're just still learning how to get that balance. Every school will have had this. We had to come to terms with the fact that we were never going to create the perfect product because what some people wanted was really different from others.
And for some families, we had very little engagement from the students because for their children, because they were doing completely different home learning as a family, which is awesome. They were, they had just they looked at our home learning and said mmm it doesn't quite fit our context. We will do this will keep them learning, but we'll do it in a different way. We were really happy with that.
But for some students, we just wanted to check, Are you not engaging because you're doing different things? Or are you not engaging because there's something that's stopping that? And we need to help. And I think we haven't, we still haven't yet quite got the right balance of the amount of communication you need to be able to tell that I'm not pursuing you doggedly, but I'm just checking in.
Or, you know, for another family, I'm not just completely ignoring you, but I do know that you are doing amazing learning. You've talked about what you did last time. We're kind of just letting you go because I know that you guys are all on track with different things.
So I think it's just constantly trying to personalize it enough in a manageable way, which is really difficult. And you can never quite get that, I think. Lesley Murrihy:
Your school is highly multicultural. So did that, you know, did that impact how you responded?
It certainly was one of the reasons why we were trying to be very careful around not setting up the home learning in a rigid way that would look in a certain way because we were very aware. I was one of the people helping to create the learning packs, and I was thinking about how I would do it, you know, with, in my context, with my family. And that comes at it from a particular perspective. And I knew that a lot of our families weren't coming from that perspective. They had different people involved, a completely different setting at home.
So it was probably one of the biggest reasons why we were trying to walk that very fine line between trying to give you enough structure that you can work with it and you feel OK, but do it in a way that fits your context.
Yeah, I think, and I think, to begin with, the learning that we were sending home was probably more consolidating learning than pushing ahead with new learning. We were much more tentative with that in the last lockdown because we didn't want to rely on families.
Not all families had parents who could sit right through the day and support their students. We didn't know how confident parents were to help with the ongoing learning.
Remote learning: Parent, whānau and ākonga support.
Interview by Urs Cunningham, Principal of Amesbury School
Where might you start?
If you haven’t already:
- Survey parents/whānau, students and check in with previous teachers (if necessary) to gather information that will support quality remote learning
- Create a spreadsheet or table to record the information for easy access
- Put the table online for anywhere, anytime access by all teachers and school leaders (in case they need to take responsibility for your students) and for quick and easy updates
- Continually update the information and note that information about the personal support community may be very fluid depending on their health/work circumstances etc.
- Use this information when planning programmes of learning for remote learners
- Develop a plan for the delivery of devices/paper-based learning packs if necessary
Follow the link below and go to pages 10 – 11 for an example of the kinds of information it would be useful to collect for each student. Provided by Derek Wenmoth
- Borup, J., Graham, C. R., West, R. E., Archambault, L., & Spring, K. J. (2020). Academic Communities of Engagement: an expansive lens for examining support structures in blended and online learning. Educational Technology Research and Development. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-020-09744-x
- Getting Started with Hybrid Learning by Derek Wenmoth, 2022. https://futuremakers.nz/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Getting-Started-with-Hybrid-Learning-compressed-1.pdf