Showing posts with label Breakout Rooms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Breakout Rooms. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Five Ideas for Online Breakout Room Activities

Breakout rooms in Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet provide a good way to get students talking and working in small groups. For some students, talking to a couple of classmates in a small breakout room is a lot less intimidating that talking to you "in front" of the whole class. Small breakout rooms give students a chance to talk and test ideas with a couple of classmates before subjecting their ideas to the silent or spoken criticism of the whole class. There are lots of other ways to think about using breakout rooms, here are some of my ideas for using breakout rooms with students. 

1. Digital Scavenger Hunts/ Digital Breakout Games

Get students working together to solve problems as part of a digital scavenger hunt that unlocks little rewards. If you have a Breakout EDU account, you might find some good digital challenges there. Otherwise, consider using Flippity's online scavenger hunt template to create a game in which students solve problems to unlock each part of the game.

2. Peer Review

We often associate peer review with writing. There are plenty of other areas in which peer review is an appropriate activity. I'm having students conduct peer review of the apps they're designing in my class. You might have students conduct peer review of short videos they've created. 

3. Three Color "Quiz"

A couple of years ago I was doing some reading on formative assessment methods and came across a paper published by the University of Nebraska Digital Commons (link opens a PDF of the paper). In that paper was the outline for an activity called a three color quiz. I started using that activity in my classroom and found it quite useful in determining which of my students knew material on their own and which ones needed help. The premise is that students spend a few minutes writing about a topic on their own in one color. Then they spend a few minutes writing while consulting a couple of classmates. That writing appears in a second color. Finally, they spend a few minutes writing while consulting classmates, their notes, and textbooks/websites. That writing appears in a third color. 

4. Project Planning/ Progress Monitoring

One of my classes is working on year-long independent and small-group projects. I use a SMART project planning and monitoring framework with them to try to keep them moving on the projects. Using breakout rooms is a good way to give students a time and place for discussions about their projects. 

5. Virtual Social Time

One of the things that a lot of kids are missing right now is the experience of social interactions with classmates. Yes, many of them are Snapping, TikTok-ing, and texting their friends. But that doesn't replace having a conversation with classmates who aren't in their current circle of friends. Consider giving your students 5-10 minutes for casual conversations to interact with classmates they might not otherwise be communicating with. 

How to Create Breakout Rooms in Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet

Breakout rooms can be useful to get students talking and working in small groups in a virtual class meeting. Here are directions for creating breakout rooms in Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet. 

How to Create Breakout Rooms in Zoom
To create breakout rooms in Zoom you'll first need to make a small change in your account settings. The change is to enable the breakout rooms option so that a "breakout rooms" button appears in your meeting controls during your meetings. 

To enable breakout rooms in Zoom:

  1. Open your account settings. 
  2. Select the "Meeting" tab. 
  3. Select "In Meeting (Advanced)."
  4. Move the Breakout Room slider icon to the on position. 
  5. Breakout rooms should now appear as an option in the meeting controls for every meeting you host. 

How to Create Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams
This is a new feature in Microsoft Teams. To use the breakout rooms function you need to be using the latest version of Microsoft Teams (check with your IT admin if you're not sure that you're on the latest version). Then you can follow the detailed directions that Mike Tholfsen (product manager for Microsoft EDU) provides in this video

How to Create Breakout Rooms in Google Meet
Google Meet offers a breakout room functionality only for those people who are using a paid version of Google Workspaces or G Suite for Education Enterprise Edition. If your school has the paid version, you can enable breakout rooms by clicking on the "activities" icon during a call. You can find more details about the feature here

For those who are using the free version of Google Workspaces or G Suite for Education, there is a third-party Chrome extension for creating breakout rooms. The latest version addresses some of the problems with previous iterations. One thing to keep in mind when reading reviews of third-party extensions is that developers are often at the mercy of Google's constantly evolving policies and programs. That means that sometimes an extension stops functioning correctly not because of something the developer did but because Google made a change that the developer hasn't yet responded to. 

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.