Breakout rooms are smaller sub-sets of a larger meeting. They facilitate collaboration in live web-based conferencing applications. Moderators can use breakout rooms to divide participants into smaller groups and let him/her roam between rooms. They also provide the ability to assign content to the rooms, and the ability to review content from breakout rooms in the main room.
Huge online classes can be overwhelming, not just for teachers but also for students who learn better when interacting with others. These rooms thus have the potential to increase engagement by allowing simultaneous small group discussions. Improved online interaction is clearly an objective when we are discussing distance learning. Now, you can create Break Out rooms in Google Meet ahead of time through Google Calendar. Teachers and other related professionals can make use of these rooms for the preparation of their learning materials. This is also helpful for them since it prevents wasting time making the rooms while on the video call.
How to create Breakout rooms?
1) Make sure you are using the Google Chrome browser
2) Download the Google Meet Breakout Room extension here.
3) Go to calendar.google.com so you can make an event on the Calendar.
4) Now, proceed to “Add Google Meet” video conferencing.
5) You can now add participants to the meeting.
6) Next, head to “Change Conference” settings, then click “Breakout rooms.”
7) Now, select your desired number of breakout rooms to proceed.
8) Then, choose the option by placing the participants in the rooms and entering their names into the chosen room. You can also use ‘shuffle’ the group.
9) Lastly, save your settings if you are already done.
Watch this video to find out how to use them…
Notes for teachers
I suspect at the Primary School level, you could theoretically use these rooms with Year 5 students to facilitate at least two different discussions at the same time. However, I think, these tools are more useful at the Secondary level as some younger students will find them confusing. From a teachers perspective, creating the rooms requires planning time to set up and of course, they will also indirectly create an issue in terms of collating the main points learned within the discussions and forming a conclusion. I suspect that at the Primary School level, completing all of these tasks together in one online lesson could well actually confuse your learners. A lot will depend on how long the online lesson is. It would be possible in a double-lesson with Year 5’s – however, the discussions probably wouldn’t be very deep. At the Primary School level, I would prefer the kids to have a full and rounded understanding of one topic and as such, I would NOT use breakout rooms. My subject (ICT) is more vocational and kids usually want to know what to do and how. Discussions are less common than in other subjects. For more information, please do contact me.