Building Community in Hybrid Learning Environments

Building Community in Hybrid Learning Environments

Learned a lot at the Social Media Summit yesterday as part of the HERDI conference. Discovery Education hosted the event which included sessions on Going Digital: The Next Chapter in Teaching and Learning, Networking and Visualization, Putting the “Social” into Social Learning, and Building Networks with Twitter.

This change in the role of teachers as described by one of the presenters really summed up the event for me:

Sage on the Stage
Guide on the Side
Meddler in the Middle

There was a lot of conversation around building community in hybrid learning environments with the emphasis on shared responsibility for learning and how to use resources to address differentiation. This term resonated for me: Social Knowing – knowledge isn’t in our individual heads, it resides in the space between us.

So, how do we act as Connectors? Social media tools help students and teachers interact in a plethora of ways including blogging, twitter, video and video chats, virtual internships and on-line guest lecturers. Many of these tools leave artifacts students can include in their portfolios when they hit the job or continuing education markets. I’ve added links to the blogroll: Google + is great for out-of-class work sessions, Feedly collects and aggregates digital media so it’s easy to organize and use, Remind 101 is a quick contact tool for one-way messages to students, Social Cam makes it easy to create 20-30 second videos to update students between classes, and Evernote is a great tool for audio assessments. Students can receive an MP3 from you with reactions and comments about projects – faster then written assessments and a pleasant change of pace.

It can seem overwhelming to indulge in all of these new tools, but the biggest takeaway is that by building learning communities, this work is not all on the teacher. The Sage on the Stage is repositioned to facilitate exploration and overlap – everyone’s a teacher and everyone’s a learner. If you want to hear more about the conference – hit me back.


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