Covid: Hybrid Sessions at CoderDojo Bruges MaM
Due to Covid-19, we cancelled our CoderDojo sessions from March until June 2020. And after one live session in September, the second lockdown started, and we started having our sessions online.
We did this for four months (Oct-Jan), and although it was very different from live sessions, it was great fun. But some coaches missed live events a lot. So we decided to explore all options.
Belgian law currently doesn't allow live sessions for ninjas that are over 12 years old. And among those up to 12 years old, many aren't comfortable meeting in person yet.
This situation faced us with a decision:
- no live sessions; only online sessions for all ages (as we were doing),
- live sessions for up to 12 years old; but no online sessions for the > 12 year olds,
- go hybrid and combine both.
We decided to try the hybrid version. 😎
But there are some significant differences between the online and the live sessions.
It's not a one size fits all
Difference 1: Glancing at ninjas working
Live this is very easy to do by walking around;
Online one ninja can share their screen at a time, and they need to execute an action for that.
Difference 2: Conversations
Live it's easy to talk to ninjas individually.
Online only one person can speak at a time.
Difference 3: Hardware
Live it's easy to use hardware (E.g., Micro:bit, Makey Makey)
Online it's much more difficult. It takes work and planning to distribute the devices, and coaches can't offer physical help during the online sessions.
The differences made us organise two flows within one CoderDojo session.
Welcome: We separated the welcome. In the online format everyone joins easily. Physically it's harder to get everyone set and focused from the first minute. Also the topics to discuss are different.
Action: The online flow is separated into breakout rooms. Within a room we try to have ninjas to work on similar content, so that there is some interaction. (Scratch, Web, ...). The live session allows for more individual choices.
Show & Tell: If both the welcome and the action is separate, is there actually a hybrid shared session at all? Good question, and the answer is: yes! By having a shared show & tell, we all get to see each other's work.
Tip: have a hybrid coach
There's an exciting role for a hybrid coach. This coach visits the online rooms while being at the live event. This coach can then identify opportunities to share video between live and online participants. But more psychologically, this coach provides the glue between both flows. It all feels very natural.
I hope this quick write up might inspire you to experiment with this concept as well!