Really enjoy the idea of break-out rooms and that our facilitators for the day allowed us to try them. Thank you heaps... I appreciated their courage to use them, especially as I hadn't seen them used before. It was a valuable session.
Break-out rooms have obvious facility and application. They provide additional opportunity for students to contribute.
Thoughts for pondering before using a breakout room
- Facilitating the group (turn-taking): We still found that we hesitated to start... not because we didn't know what to do, but more because ours was not the responsibility to direct other students. I personally am quite comfortable to take a semi-facilitating role in a group, but not over the top of someone else who may appreciate the opportunity. So, we all hesitated; finally someone stepped in and we moved forward. So, this leads to the next thought to ponder.
- Solving a problem: We were asked to discuss an idea, which we did. (However, my ideal about how long is reasonable for one person to 'hog' the microphone may be different from classmates, and therefore I felt a slight sense of frustration when a speaker's thoughts were not so collected leading to more time than what I considered was a fair share.) But that's beside the point.... this experience has taught me to think about instructions. In my break-out rooms, how directive and specific should I be? My instructions might look something like this: First: select a group facilitator (to guide turn-taking and help with keeping to the topic and summarising, Second: discuss the ... [task]... Thirdly, At [specify a time], use the whiteboard to summarise the discussion... etc. To finish: At [specify a time] return to the main class.
- Bringing the class back together at the end of the session: Wow! it had never occurred to me that bringing everyone back together (especially once they've started) could be an issue. Using a timer was a good idea, I'll do that. But also... perhaps, could the facilitator visit each group individually (don't know what the Elluminate's facility for doing this is...) and gently break into the conversation, and get the group to begin feedback on the main whiteboard while he or she visits the next group until they have all joined the main class and everyone has made it back. (Would this be possible? or is the software a little limited for this?)