Friday, December 11, 2020

Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams

Breakout Rooms is one of the most popular features of Zoom. A similar feature is now available in Microsoft Teams. Just like in Zoom you can assign your students to a specific breakout room or have them randomly assigned to a room. You can breakout and regroup as many times as you like during your meetings. 

A couple of good features of Breakout Rooms in Teams that you should note include the ability for students to use a whiteboard and the ability for students to ask you clarifying questions without disturbing others. During a breakout your students can jump out of the breakout room to ask you a question and you can answer it without having to bring the whole class out of their breakout rooms. 

Mike Tholfsen has a great video demonstration of how to use Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams. You can watch that demonstration on his YouTube channel or as embedded below. 

Mix Landscape and Portrait Layouts in Google Docs

If you have ever wanted to use landscape and portrait layouts in the same Google Document, you're going to like the latest announcement from the Google Workspaces blog (Google's official place to announce updates to Google Docs). Starting today and by the end of January all Google Docs users will be able to mix and match portrait and landscape modes within the same document. 

This feature is already available to some users. I haven't seen it in any of my five Google accounts, but I hope to have it soon. You can check if you have the feature by simply opening any multiple page Google Document that you own and then right-clicking on a page to look for a menu that allows you to choose a page layout for a section of your document. Take a look at Google's announcement of this feature to see an animated GIF of the new layout menu. 

Applications for Education
Being able to mix portrait and landscape layouts within the same document could prove to be helpful to students and or teachers who want to include landscape-oriented tables and charts in a document without having to write the entire document in landscape mode. For example, I can think of a few documents that I use in my networking course that would benefit from having diagrams in landscape mode instead of the portrait mode they're in right now. 

On a related note, if you've ever wondered how to change the default font on your Google Docs, follow the directions in this video

A Chat With Canada's Funniest Teacher!

Yesterday I wrote about a new show called Mr. D The Gym Teacher coming to Amazon Prime. This morning I got the chance to talk to the star of the show, Gerry Dee. Gerry was a history and physical education teacher for ten years before his stand-up comedy career took off. We chatted about his teaching experiences and how they contributed to creating a sitcom about teaching that is really enjoyable to watch as a teacher. I was super-excited and nervous to talk with Gerry but I enjoyed it and I hope that you enjoy the recording of our conversation. You can watch it right here on my YouTube channel or as embedded below. 

You can find all eight episodes of Mr. D The Gym Teacher on Amazon Prime in the U.S. right now! If you don't have Amazon Prime, you can get a 30 free trial right here.

Clips of the show are available on Gerry Dee's YouTube channel as well as on the CBC Comedy YouTube channel