I began my day with the voice of Stephen Hurley of voicEd.ca, in conversation about “rhythm”. And that had me thinking about schedules and cycles within education. Then, when I listened to CBC Radio One, near the end of the day, it was Bruce Sellery talking about Income Inequality in Education with Gill Deacon on Here and Now.
The latter conversation, where many models of education were discussed, had me thinking about the two models we are using now, and the third that is a possible option moving forward.
In this model, in our online school, our students are almost halfway through a Quadmester, where they are taking two courses which will be completed in mid-November. Every two days our students participate in three synchronous classes of 75 minutes each, and one asynchronous session, presented either in Brightspace (D2L) or Google Classroom. Over the course of 20 school days, a student will see their teacher synchronously for 30 periods, and asynchronously for 10 periods.
This model was prescribed by the Ministry of Education, for school boards in areas where the incidence of COVID-19 is high. It is also a Quadmester, where students take two courses. However, in one week they attend in person for two back-to-back periods on one day for one course, and on the next day for their second course. Every afternoon consists of one asynchronous period, and then one synchronous. And on every other Wednesday they get a bonus day of face-to-face double periods, adding the equivalent of two face-to-face classes every four weeks. Over the course of 20 school days, a student will see their teacher in person for the equivalent of 10 periods, synchronously online for 10 periods, and work asynchronously for 20 periods.
This is the model currently in use in many other school districts, where the online and adaptive are combined within a single school. Teachers teach face-to-face, to a small group in person, while at the same time streaming the lesson to students who are working from home. This preserves the school community, is infinitely flexible for students, and ensures that support resources are close at hand. In this model teachers would be utilizing face-to-face instructional tools simultaneously with online tools. Where fewer than 50% of the students have chosen an online option, the timetable would be identical to the Adaptive Model. If more moved online, then teachers would no longer need to provide two cohorts with instruction for each course, freeing up time for more online synchronous sessions.
Having written this out, I am VERY impressed with the rhythm of our online school. Our students are able to develop relationships quickly. Their teachers are able to respond with agility to their needs. And there is a consistency to the routine that provides for a calm, safe learning environment.
Which model are you teaching with? What do you think are the strengths of each?