Art teachers have faced an inordinate amount of information as they head back to school. With new technologies, initiatives, learning plans, and protocols, our minds feel as if they are at capacity. We’re simultaneously learning and doing new things, not knowing if it’s going to work. We might even be closing our eyes and just hoping for the best, and that’s okay, too.
One of the new challenges has been learning how to give instruction using a hybrid learning model effectively. Each school district has taken its own spin on the hybrid model, so my experience probably looks different from yours. At the core of it all, you probably aren’t having the same students in attendance every day as they are on a rotational schedule where they are at home some days, while other days they are at school.
Hybrid learning and blended learning are often used interchangeably, as they share many common instructional elements. But they are different. Katherine Boyarsky from Owl Labs describes it best. She says, “Blended learning combines in-person teaching with asynchronous learning methods, where students work on online exercises and watch instructional videos during their own time. Hybrid learning is a teaching method where teachers instruct in-person and remote students at the same time. In hybrid learning models, asynchronous teaching methods can be used to supplement synchronous, face-to-face instruction.” From that description, you’ve probably identified a mixture of methods your school is using.
Asynchronous Art Activities for the Hybrid Setting
The challenge in the hybrid setting is finding meaningful activities for your students to do while they are not physically at school. Technology is going to play a huge role in being able to accomplish this. In a true flipped classroom, the activities students would be completing at-home would help inform the lesson they are doing at school. Or, you might even take the approach of having technique building activities or projects that students only work on while at home. Whatever approach you take, it is essential to organize your online classroom or LMS in a way that makes sense for your students. Do not assume your students will remember what they need to do. Make it a practice to clearly mark what students should be doing when in class and at home.
Skill-building activities that focus on exploring new techniques and mediums can be an excellent way to plan for asynchronous learning activities. Try setting them up as recorded flipped videos in an art boot camp style that allows students to explore media while providing choice. For students to find success with this, you will need to provide clear instructions on how they should set up this practice in their sketchbook, or you may consider providing handouts to serve as templates. Here are some specific asynchronous learning activities you might try:
1. Line Drawing Techniques
Drawing techniques can be used with almost any medium. Consider guiding your students through a drawing activity, as seen in this video. Guide your students to set up pages in their sketchbook or provide them with a handout. One of the best things about drawing is that various media can be used to try out these techniques. Students can explore how creating line techniques with oil pastel differs from ink or pencil. At the same time, an activity like this might be medium-specific to fit with a current lesson.
2. Oil Pastel Techniques
Another strategy to use recorded instructional content is to incorporate a watch-and-do-style video model. This means students are actively working with the video. Here is an example of an oil pastel technique video students can work through on their own. Find the oil pastel technique handout in this PRO Learning Pack. To fit with the hybrid model, this is an activity students would complete at-home to prepare them for an in-person lesson using oil pastels.
3. Watercolor Techniques
Transporting and accessing paint can be difficult. However, sing watercolor can help! As it is a relatively low-maintenance material, as long as students have a watercolor set, they can complete this activity anywhere. Consider an asynchronous activity that allows students to focus on exploring watercolor techniques. While more advanced watercolor techniques might require additional materials like salt or plastic wrap, these are common items that are usually found at home if not provided from the classroom.
4. Color Exploration
Color mixing is a concept that can be explored with any medium. Students can learn a lot about the properties of a material by comparing it to others. Color mixing will occur differently with watercolor compared to colored pencils. Students might not realize this until trying it out themselves. You can use the download below to try color mixing with any material.
5. EdPuzzle Activities
Because we want to maximize instructional time with students, we don’t always want to spend an entire class lecturing. While introducing new processes and artists are vital to the artmaking process, this can sometimes take a lot of time. However, it’s still important our students are getting that information. EdPuzzle is a great tool to ensure this is happening.
If you’ve never used EdPuzzle before, watch this video to see how it works.
EdPuzzle is a tool that ensures your students are watching the videos you create. Using a video found on YouTube or one you create, you can assign an EdPuzzle assignment for students to complete. Throughout the video, you can include questions or notes that force students to answer before they can continue watching the video. This feature also ensures that students can’t just skip through the video instruction.
Creating Equitable Instruction
The hybrid model of learning makes it even more important to ensure equitable learning occurs. Even if your students are given 1:1 technology devices, this doesn’t mean they have the internet at home. Or, students might have to help siblings with their work throughout the day, leaving less time for themselves. While school districts can provide hotspots and other resources to create a more equitable environment, you will still come across issues. In these instances, it’s important to communicate with your students and be flexible.
Create a space where your students feel comfortable telling you they can’t complete an activity at home because something is getting in the way. Make accommodations for them. This might mean providing them more time, showing them how to download something to access offline, or creating paper instruction that doesn’t require technology. No learning environment is going to be perfect, but we can find ways to help.
Teaching in a hybrid model is only one example of how the educational environment has shifted. This school year will require us to pivot, adapt, and stay flexible. One thing, however, won’t change: we must do our best to meet our students’ needs as best we can.
How do you set up independent learning activities for students?
What kind or asynchronous activities are you providing for students in the hybrid learning model?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.