Online learning has taken over the schooling system worldwide, with teachers implementing virtual classrooms into their everyday schooling. In order to incorporate small group collaboration into virtual learning, breakout rooms are essential. They allow students the ability to speak their own ideas with their peers more freely, while not feeling the pressure or intimidation. Managing virtual breakout rooms can prove to be challenging, as student engagement and following of instructions can often suffer. Here, the educational technology professionals at SchoolMart outline five leading practices for managing virtual breakout rooms to make your online classroom more productive and comfortable. 

Set Clear Expectations & Provide Adequate Time For Reflection

Establishing a set of ground rules, expectations and breakout room etiquette to share with their students should be a primary objective for teachers engaging in virtual learning, as many students are still relatively new to online classroom platforms, such as Zoom, WebEx and Google Meet. Assigning clear and individualized tasks, reminding students to unmute their microphones and providing assistance for technological problems can also help promote a healthier breakout room environment and make it an easier learning experience for all students. 

In order to make group work collaborative and interactive, teachers should grant students enough time to reflect on the posed questions or tasks assigned. Critical thinking and communication are crucial learning skills for students of all ages to develop. By allowing students an adequate amount of time for reflection and evaluation, teachers will not only be able to facilitate more interactive discussions but provide students with a more meaningful virtual learning experience.

Add Elements To Encourage Personalization & Engagement

To further enhance the personalized learning experience, teachers should form breakout rooms where students can join those which best fit their needs and learning styles. Giving students the option to choose the rooms where they can identify most with their peers of the same learning style can allow for a more free and comfortable learning environment and possibly promote more interaction and productivity. Additionally, adding digital tools such as interactive apps and graphic organizers can help enhance engagement within the online classroom. 

Realize That There Is No Perfect Method Of Teaching in a Virtual Classroom

As with many other things in life, nothing is ever perfect and there is always room for improvement and change. Many teachers may even avoid utilizing breakout rooms altogether due to the fear of unproductivity and the inability to engage with every student in the same space. Even though this fear is quite natural, teachers must remember that even if they were teaching in person, it is still a struggle to keep an eye on every small group at all times. It is important for teachers to learn how to go with the flow and realize that there is no perfect method when it comes to virtual learning, as it is constantly changing and evolving. 

Learn How The Ed-Tech Experts at TechMart Can Help You and Your Virtual Classroom

Online classrooms and virtual education have presented many challenges for students and teachers alike, as it has truly thrown a learning curve into the traditional schooling environment. Breakout rooms are just one aspect of the virtual classroom experience, which can serve as both a daunting task but also a beneficial addition to online learning. To learn more about how you can manage breakout rooms to your best ability and maximize their potential, contact the ed-tech experts at SchoolMart today.