3 Ways to Use Your K-12 LMS for Concurrent Teaching Models
What is the Concurrent Teaching Model?
Schools have faced many challenges over the last year as they shifted to remote or blended learning and continue to educate during the COVID-19 pandemic. A key challenge for nearly every district has been determining the most effective format for delivering instruction to students. From entirely in-person to completely remote and everywhere in between as part of a Hybrid Education program, schools and districts have attempted to calibrate their delivery model to their students’ needs and their staff’s abilities.
The way that my school, like so many across the nation, decided to formulate a school schedule as we returned last fall was through something popularly termed “concurrent teaching.” Concurrent teaching is “delivering instruction simultaneously for students in-person, on campus, and virtually, at home.” Educators also refer to it as a “Concurrent Hybrid Model.”
Undoubtedly, concurrent teaching is a challenging instructional model, but given limited resources and a desire to provide flexible options for students and families, it’s a reality. The good news? You’ve got some tremendous 21st-century technology that can help. Here are three ways to leverage your learning management system (LMS) to be effective in a concurrent teaching model.
The Concurrent Flip
In the now-traditional flipped classroom model (how time flies!), students watch recorded direct instruction screencasts asynchronously at home. They then do their homework and other activities—like labs—during in-class time. The traditional flip is not concurrent teaching because all students are either working asynchronously online—outside of class—or synchronously in the classroom. In this model, the LMS is generally limited to a repository for the recorded screencasts and other synchronous or asynchronous activities.
The flipped model looks different during concurrent teaching since one group of students will always be present in the classroom while the other is online. How might you go about doing this? Dr. Catlin Tucker has published “a three-part flipped lesson in a concurrent classroom”, including a pre-video activity, such as an online discussion or another hook, the flipped lesson, using Edpuzzle, a guided video lecture, and a post-video activity, like traditional individual practice or collaborative work. The idea is that you move in and out of asynchronous and synchronous learning with both the online group and the in-person group depending on student learning needs and the lesson's requirements.
Concurrent Hybrid Communication Strategies
As with most things in school and life, good communication is key. In a concurrent hybrid model, it’s vital. The good news? Your LMS is designed to empower you to be an absolute communication rock star in the concurrent classroom.
Although geared toward the higher education audience, I think Baylor University has aptly summarized the goals of concurrent classroom communication in their so-called “three C’s... Clarity, Consistency, and Connectedness.” Your K-12 LMS is made for this! Let’s apply these concepts to the K-12 world:
Clarity: Use your LMS to post and establish clear course expectations, daily routines, and create and host video instructions. All K-12 students benefit from clear expectations and directions. An LMS is a much better location to organize for clarity than repeated email communications or live announcements, for example.
Consistency: Every time students log in to your LMS, they should know what to expect. So, it’s critical to be consistent when you present class information and content, what the daily routine looks like, and how students are expected to engage with and use the LMS. This doesn’t mean you can’t change up the routine every now and then, but students should recognize that you are purposeful in the approach when that happens. For example, my kindergartners thrive on routine. When they joined their class virtually during a COVID shutdown, their consistent morning routine was kept stable by having their “morning meeting” regularly via the school’s LMS. It helped make a difficult situation smoother for everyone.
Connectedness: Your learning management system should make it easy to pre-schedule posts and other class communication, engage in online discussion boards, and schedule various post-class follow-up communications. The LMS is the golden thread that connects all learners and the teacher during a concurrent learning model. Stay connected to your students by leveraging it.
Stations for All Ages
As a high school administrator, I often want to see more station-based teaching in classrooms. Stations are flexible. Stations provide lots of natural breaks during instructional periods, helping students stay engaged. Stations can be intrinsically motivating. Critical to the concurrent classroom at all grade levels, a station-based approach works great when teaching students both in-person and online.
When it comes to planning station-based activities for the concurrent classroom and considering the current COVID-19 restrictions, Dr. Tucker points out that your goal is to plan activities that shouldn’t be dependent on physically moving about the classroom space. That means planning something like a teacher-led station, an online station, and an offline station—physical movement not required. Here are a few ways you can use your LMS to make your concurrent stations work more smoothly:
- Post station procedures and any requirements specific to the day’s lesson (use the LMS as the hub for all step-by-step activities).
- Record and post videos, not only for the online-only station but as a quick introduction for the other stations, as well.
- Conduct a synchronous videoconference.
- Provide links and additional resources to pique student curiosity, encourage further learning about a particular topic, and encourage participation in enrichment activities, particularly for students who may complete station rotations quicker than others and would like to challenge themselves.
Lean on Your K-12 LMS
Concurrent teaching is difficult, and there’s no way around that. I have worked with teachers this year who have had a difficult time simply understanding all the ins and outs of Zoom etiquette, let alone how to deliver high-quality instruction. So, let’s make it a little bit easier and take full advantage of your K-12 LMS. Your learning management system is your database, your central repository, your hub for all learning activities in your classroom, and beyond. When teaching concurrently, an LMS role in K-12 education is to function as your primary tool for connecting with every student, every day, in the most efficient and meaningful way possible.