Hybrid classrooms, where in-person and remote learning are combined in one classroom, have become the new norm in education. This approach offers flexibility and accessibility to teaching and instructing but also presents its own unique challenges. A fantastic tool that can help bridge the gap between in-person and remote students is the versatile visualizer. Visualizers, also known as document cameras, are innovative devices that project documents, images and live demonstrations onto a screen or through a video conferencing platform. These devices have become invaluable in a hybrid classroom for their ability to make even the most mundane demonstration interesting. Here are some best practices for using visualizers effectively in hybrid classrooms to make sure all of your students benefit.

1. Choose the Right Visualizer

Not all devices are created equal. When selecting a visualizer presenter for your hybrid classroom, consider factors such as resolution, zoom capabilities, connectivity options and ease of use. A high-resolution camera guarantees that remote students can see clear and detailed images. When paired with good zoom capabilities, you can focus on specific details of various objects that might be difficult to see even in person.  You also want to make sure that your visualizer has compatible connectivity options (USB, HDMI, etc.) with your existing classroom setup.

2. Set Up for Success

A practical yet comfortable setup is important. Be sure to place the visualizer on a stable surface where it can comfortably capture the entire workspace without obstructing your view. The lighting in the room should be adequate but not too harsh, as shadows and glare can sometimes obscure the image. Test the device before each class to confirm it’s working correctly, especially if you are not the only one using it!

3. Integrate with Other Technology

Visualizers work best when combined with other classroom technologies. Connect your visualizer presenter to an interactive whiteboard, projector or video conferencing software to share the lesson with both in-person and remote students at the same time. Most modern visualizers are designed for easy integration with popular platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.

4. Engage Students with Interactive Lessons

One of the biggest advantages of using a visualizer is the ability to create more interactive and engaging lessons. Use the visualizer to display and annotate documents, demonstrate experiments or showcase student work for all to see. Now you can incorporate different objects into your lessons, without worrying about it getting damaged as it’s passed from one student to another. You also don’t have to worry about remote students feeling left out, as they can easily follow along on their screens. 

5. Record Lessons for Future Reference

Many visualizers come with the ability to record lessons. Take advantage of this feature to capture your presentations and demonstrations for the future. Recorded lessons can be a valuable resource for students who miss the class, need to review the material or simply want to revisit complex topics. 

visualizer communication

6. Use Split-Screen Functionality

Some visualizers offer split-screen functionality, allowing you to display two different sources simultaneously. This feature can be particularly useful in a hybrid classroom. For example, you can display a live demonstration on one side of the screen while showing related notes or diagrams on the other. This helps students follow along and makes for a more organised and cohesive class. 

7. Clear Communication is Key

Good communication is essential in a hybrid learning environment. Use the visualizer to help you narrate your actions and explain what you’re doing in real time. This helps remote students stay connected to the lesson and better understand the context of what they’re seeing. Additionally, regularly check in with your online students to confirm they can see and hear everything. The last thing you want is students falling behind because their internet connection failed long before you realised.

8. Foster Collaboration

Hybrid classrooms thrive on collaboration. A visualizer can help to facilitate group activities where both in-person and remote students can participate. For example, you can display a group project through the visualizer projector and have students contribute ideas and solutions. Tools like digital whiteboards can complement the device, allowing students to annotate and interact with the content collaboratively. Students can easily present their work, share their ideas and demonstrate their understanding of the material. 

Portrait of cute boy using laptop and wearing big glasses while studying at home, remote education concept

9. Technical Support and Training

Not all educators may be familiar with using a visualizer, so training sessions might be the best way to help everyone get up to speed. Choose a product that has technical support readily available to address any issues that may come up during class. 

10. Adapt to Different Learning Styles

A visualizer presenter caters to various learning styles. For visual learners, the ability to see detailed images and live demonstrations helps them better understand certain concepts. For kinesthetic learners, participating in hands-on activities can be highly beneficial. Adapt your teaching strategies to incorporate these different learning styles and brainstorm creative ways to engage remote learners in activities.

Integrating visualizers into hybrid classrooms can enrich the learning experience for educators and students alike.  These devices allow you to create engaging, interactive and inclusive lessons that bridge the gap between traditional and online education. With the right approach, visualizers can become an indispensable tool in your hybrid teaching toolkit. Shop high-quality visualizers at PPM Audio Visual, or get in touch with our friendly consultants if you have any questions.