Challenge – Giving presentations on subjects which they have researched themselves is helpful for learners, giving them applicable life skills both for future employment and further study. In the physical classroom the teacher might make use of selected printed texts for research, and then enable groupwork and a concluding classroom presentation. In the online classroom it is possible to guide learners to research information online, working in groups with breakout rooms, and using breakout rooms then as ‘presentation spaces’ for other learners to visit and listen.
Tools Used – Zoom Breakout Rooms, Internet Searches (guided), Zoom ‘move breakout rooms’ tool
In this example, learners had watched a video (from the ESL Brains website) about modern art and whether it can be considered art or simply a prank. They had learnt vocabulary around this theme. They were tasked with being gallery owners with one piece of controversial art, which they had to research and then present to each other in their different ‘art galleries’ (breakout rooms), using vocabulary from the lesson and their research.
Before the Lesson:
1 – The teacher prepares the guided research material — for example, a set of google slides or a google doc — with images of the piece of artwork (which the learner will use to present from later), questions to direct their research (what is the name of this piece of art; why is it famous, etc) and one or two links to websites with the information they will need (ideally appropriately graded for their level). For a class of 12 students, three or four different works of art would be perfect. The link to this document can be shared in the lesson or in the breakout rooms as needed.
1 – Earlier in the lesson (or before if the attendees are already known), the teacher will need to divide learners into groups of three or four (writing down the groups to refer to later). In the Participants page of Zoom it is possible to rename learners, most simply by adding the name of the artwork they will research after their name, which helps with grouping and moving around breakout rooms: for example, ‘Khalid Rabbit’.
2 – The first stage of the activity is the research stage. All members of the same ‘art gallery’ will go to a breakout room and undertake research on their specific piece of art. One learner in each room can share their screen and the group can work either together or individually to gather the information needed.
3 – The teacher should move between rooms and monitor the progress of the groups. When each group has a good understanding of their topic, the teacher can explain that some learners are going to stay in the gallery and present their piece of art to some ‘visitors,’ and others are going to visit other galleries to learn about their art. They should listen and decide whether the piece of art is really art, or just a prank.
4 – At this point the teacher should use the Breakout Rooms page to move learners between rooms (or ‘art galleries’). It will probably be necessary to make some notes on paper to ensure that each learner gets a chance to present and listen, and ideally hear about each piece of art. NB – Each learner will need to have the capability to share their screen, which is harder to achieve with patchy internet or from a mobile phone. If necessary, the teacher (or an assistant) can attend the room for this presentation and share the screen for them.