Split Learning: Which Teacher Has the Best Setup?

With distance learning and in-person learning combined, it can be hard for everyone to see each other. Many teachers are finding ways around this, but what setup works the best? 

Rebecca Harris, Columnist

With Horizon Honors being split between in-person and online learning, teachers have to get creative with their setups. Some teachers place a camera in their room for the online students to see their peers, while others are projecting the Google Meets to the in-person students. In some classes, online students can see their peers but in-person learners can’t see the online students, creating an “I can see you but you can’t see me” scenario. It all varies from teacher to teacher. But there is a lingering question, with an answer that might improve the overall learning experience (for both sides): which teacher has the best setup, and why?

Maya Wells (seventh grade): “I believe that the teacher with the best setup is Mrs. Baird. She always has everyone sit down in their seats at the start of class while all of the remote learners start coming on the Google Meet around the same time. She has her desk in the corner of the room where a camera is set up as well as a stand for her computer near that area which has the online students. The camera at her desk gives a clear view of all of the students in-person for all of the students online which can be pleasant for the remote learners to see their peers as well as Mrs. Baird walking around the room.  The computer on the stand near her desk is logged onto the Google Meet and is also facing the projector screen, so remote learners can see what in-person learners are looking at.  It is also another way Mrs. Baird can interact with and look directly at them. Last, she has a second computer logged into the meet that she presents her screen on for the remote learners to look at and in-person learners to see on the projector screen.  Mrs. Baird is funny while being a really awesome teacher at the same time, yet she still is finding ways to make the remote learners included as well as teaching everyone valuable pieces of information.”

Sarah Spresney (seventh grade): “I like the setup of where the teacher has one camera facing the class and one camera facing the teacher. For example, Ms. Wood’s…class.”

Emma Childress (eighth grade): “I think that the camera showing the classroom is the best setup because it makes other students online feel like they are in the room with the other students!”

Liam Coffey (eighth grade): “Mr. Lorenzo. He just teaches class normally, standing in front of the projector screen and I like that.”

Tejas Velagapudi (eighth grade): “Mrs. Baird, because she has one side of the room with the projector and the other side whiteboard, so it keeps me engaged to be flipping back and forth. Otherwise my attention slips when I am constantly watching one screen.”

Anderson Conkle (ninth grade): “In my opinion, Mr. Henderson has the best hybrid schooling set-up. He has one account logged in to the Google Meet on his laptop, which he usually uses to draw out graphs on, and this works out even more perfectly since he presents the material for class from that laptop. It is projected onto the screen, where he has an iPad, also logged on to the meet, set right on the screen in a way that online students can see it as well. From my experience as an online and in person student, the lesson is always visible for everyone, both in the room and out of it. One benefit from presenting onto the screen instead of also presenting on the meet, is that he can switch the presentation view so that everyone online can see everyone in person, and everyone in person can see everyone online. This enhances the full feel of the classroom while including the online students as well.”

Antonio Arellano (ninth grade): “I really like how Mr. Adam sets up his room for guitar class. He has a camera right in front of him so we can see what he plays on his guitar. He also has a camera facing the class so we can see everyone in person. Then the in-person students can see all of the online students on the projector. I find the way he sets up his room very helpful, especially when trying to learn how to play an instrument online.”

Anonymous: “I believe Mrs. Buttrey has the best setup for online students because she has a camera positioned so we are able to see her, the in-person students, and either the drawing we need to follow along with or the directions for the day.”

Kaitlyn Ankrom-Hadden (10th grade): “I think Mr. Henderson has the best set up because he has a camera in the middle of the room so the online students can see the in person students, but also he projects the online students on the screen so we can see them too.”

Sasha Well (10th grade): “I believe that Mrs. Driggs has the best set up because she makes sure that the online students can hear everyone. She has all of us in-person students grab computers, log in to the Google Meet, and unmute when we are answering her questions. It is much more inclusive.”

Anonymous: I think that Mr Henderson has a great set up in his classroom. He does a great job with including both the in person and distance learners and makes sure that everyone understands what we’re learning. In his layout, both sets of students are able to hear each other. Along with that, he is also making sure that everything is going to be okay and in order while he’s going on leave.”

Rachel Harris (11th grade): “Out of all of my teachers, I would say that Mr. Henderson has the best setup. He projects his lessons and sets the camera up so that we can see them as we would if we were in a normal class, and teaches like he normally would. In addition, he also shares the Google Meet screen with his in-person students so that we can all see each other.”

From the overall survey, Mr. Henderson has the best setup, from students visually seeing each other to how he projects his lessons. Almost every student said they enjoyed it when they could see their peers, whether that be by projection or cameras. Many students also said they liked it when their teacher taught the class as they usually would, and that can bring a sense of normal life to these crazy and unprecedented times.