In our opinion Hybrid Classes are the most effortless type of learning for students today. As teenagers we base everything around technology and the internet; we live on our phones, tablets, and laptops. Hybrid classes were first introduced to us this year; we had the opportunity to participate in hybrid classes with Marketing, Business, and Entrepreneurship classes as part of the Maryknoll Mx Business program. These classes implement a teaching and learning style where half of the time we are in class-face to face with teachers and the other half we are completing work online. This type of class taught us how to develop as an individual while learning time management, responsibility, and how to utilize components of technology in a productive way.
Time management is enforced in Hybrid classes because assignments are not necessarily assigned during scheduled meeting times. At Maryknoll the courses all have one assigned day every week when assignments were due; as a result students have to be proactive and check regularly to see what is assigned. We both learned how to manage our time well because we got to decide when we wanted to complete our assignments. In a hybrid class it is up to the students to use our time wisely and complete the work. As the majority of the assignments were online we had to become independent learners committed to seeking out information outside of the classroom.
In other classes, teachers guide their students throughout a lesson, every day, in every class. In the end, there is barely any room for independence. With a hybrid the teacher no longer tells the student what to do; instead the teacher provides us with instruction into the skills we need to complete an assignment. It is up to the student to work on projects, develop new ideas, and conduct research to complete the tasks assigned. For us this gave us glimpse into what college classes will most be like. Professors no longer hold students’ hands and guide them every step of the way. The responsibility lies in the hands of the students. With our hybrid classes it was up to us to commit to our own education and do research on our own time.
Finally, hybrid classes teach students how to utilize different components of technology. This happens through assignments being done online rather than on paper. For example, in marketing class we completed a comprehensive analysis of a market and ended the semester by writing a 15-page research report. Through this we learned how to use the Microsoft Cloud & Office technologies including Word, PowerPoint, Teams, and Excel. We were able to discover hidden features that we had never been introduced to before, these features will help us in college when we have to cite our research and design interesting publications. Another great thing about our hybrid is we learned how to use free digital resources, like the ones available through the Hawaii State Public Libraries. At the end of the semester what was so powerful is that we both learned there are so many other technologies and applications that exist; we had no idea what our computers, phones, and systems could do. Through the hybrid class we were able to learn how to use our technology more productively; instead of constantly staring at social media we learned the power of connected media.
afterword by Ms. Robyn Gausman-Burnett
For parents and educators, working with students who are digital natives is the biggest challenge. Teenagers would rather use their phones to write a paper than type it out on a laptop. A majority of the Maryknoll students have grown up with technology from infancy. Most kids are so fluid in their use of social media that as teachers and parents we can forget that it is up to us to teach them how to use this tool for its most important purpose: the acquisition of knowledge.
I believe that my job as an educator is to present students with the time, space, and skills so that they can utilizes technology to learn what was presented yesterday, today, and whatever they may want to learn about at any point in the future. With that in mind I developed the Mx Business & Diplomacy courses as hybrids so that students were forced to engage with technology in a new way. Students cannot be passive learners in a hybrid course, unlike the traditional classroom. The learning space is online and for our 21st century learners it has become a collaborative, informative, and social space.
In my digital classroom we use online discussion and digital research resources as a primary content and assessment tools. I do this because it helps me achieve several goals I have for my business students:
1. Teach students how to express themselves and their ideas in their writing
2. Communicate efficiently and effectively by utilizing technology
3. Reflect and Incorporate research into their analysis
Together by creating a class where a majority of the research, evaluation, and communciation is online I also help students prepare for a future when:
- According to Cisco “The digital forces changing business are so strong that you can even argue that all companies bight one day become technology companies.”
- In 2015 Fortune Magazine said “The Fortune 500 will become the Digital 500”
- In the 2016 Fortune 500 Survey, 75% of CEO’s said that “… a trio of technologies – cloud computing, mobile computing and the Internet of Things—will be either ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’ to their businesses in the future.”
I believe that we fail our students when we do not expose them to the near future. Their future is digital and learning will be driven by technologies that have yet to be invented. If we can give them a taste of that future in their classes today we know that they are more prepared for the world they will face tomorrow.