Active Learning and Zoom
Nepris realizes teaching through Zoom can present its own set of challenges. With that thought in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the most common active learning ideas to help make Zoom and Nepris part of your learning community.
The goal of active learning is not to have students complete busy work, but to think about what they are doing in relation to your classroom activity. As you learn more about tested strategies, consider how effective each would be in promoting desired learning from your students.
The Nepris Team
A minute paper is a short “paper” that students complete in a minute (less than five in reality). This active learning strategy allows you to quickly check your students’ knowledge. Minute papers can be assigned at the start, during, or at the end of your online class session.
How to Implement
Write open-ended prompts students can respond to in less than five minutes. You can target specific knowledge or big picture responses.
Example prompts include:
- What questions about today’s topic are you most interested in exploring?
- What was the most important point of today’s lesson?
- Share an experience from your everyday life that relates to what we learned today.
Polling is a quick, easy way to check the opinions or thought processes of your students. Simple polls can be used at the start, end, or at select points during a session to engage and assess your students.
Zoom Polling Feature (Click the link to learn more about Zoom Polling)
You will be able to see, in real-time, the number of students and the percentage of the class that has responded to the poll, the time elapsed, and the results of the poll. Be sure to directly address the poll's results and relate them to the classroom activity or real-world experiences. Students remember lessons when they connect with them.
Alternative Tools for Polling
- CourseWorks (Canvas) Quiz has a survey feature that can be used both synchronously and asynchronously.
- PollEverywhere can be used for more advanced polling activities such as using open-ended text questions or images.
Small Group Discussions
Pose an open-ended question or problem, or provide your students with a scenario or case study to work through. The duration is dependent on the task. Groups should present their results or findings to the rest of the class. This increases accountability and interaction.
- Zoom’s Share Screen feature
- Zoom’s Breakout Rooms feature
- Zoom’s Nonverbal Feedback feature (including hand raise)
- Google Docs, Sheets, Slides (collaborative documents)
Box of Lies (Click the title to see Jimmy Fallon and Chris Pratt play this game)
A big struggle with online learning via video is keeping students' focus and attention, especially to the finer details. The game “Box of Lies” would be a creative way to see if students are paying attention. The premise would be that the teacher then has to describe the object for students to guess. You could do this with all sorts of other ideas from historical figures to using descriptive words in another language.
Breakout a Digital BreakOut EDU
BreakoutEDU engages students by creating a series of clues and challenges that the students have to uncover. Teachers could leverage the “breakout” room feature with a Digital BreakOutEDU and have teams solve the challenges within a certain timeframe. Clues can be given around a particular career or real-world connection to engage students. Using the breakout rooms in Zoom will allow students to engage in smaller groups. Breakout EDU is a great way to engage students in classroom discussions and have great questions to ask industry professionals.
Who doesn’t love a good game of BINGO? While this isn’t the classic game with numbers, balls, and clever calls, it is using the set-up of Bingo as a way to review facts, geographical locations, scientific terms, or even mathematical applications. Using the Flippity.net bingo tool, you create what goes in the squares and then read out the clues while students fill out their digital square or print a game card. Flippity lets you send out the cards via a link or QR code as kids can fill in their cards digitally. Then when it’s over, have them share their screen and review their answers to see who wins! A fun and interactive way to have students connect with careers and professionals.
Quickly fill out the category list with answers that begin with the same letter. Score points if no other player matches your answer. The person with the most points at the end of the time wins the game. This online generator allows you to adjust the timer and number of categories. Students type their answers into the chat on Zoom, but do not submit them until the timer runs out. . Check out this video on how to use the online generator.
A mind map is an illustration with a keyword or phrase in the middle, lines connecting from the middle to the main idea, and even more lines connecting from main ideas to details. Building out from the center, mind maps are often said to look like sunbursts or even spiderwebs. Mind maps can have three levels: middle, main ideas, and details. Click here to watch a short video to see how mind mapping works
Reflect on How They Learned
Students need to take time to reflect on how they learned. Taking time to do this reflection will help them develop their metacognition skills. The following questions, sentence stems, and resources can be used by students to support their reflections. A helpful reflection list can be found here.
- Reflection Questions:
- What did you hear that surprised you the most?
- What new questions do you now have?
- How has your understanding of (career or job) changed?
- What new perspectives or insights did you gain?
- How will you use what you learned?
- Reflection Stems:
- Something unexpected I heard was _____.
- I used to think _____. Now, I think _____.
- I remember _____________ about today’s lesson. It’s important to remember that because____.
- The most interesting thing I learned today was ____________.
Identify and Assign Roles and Responsibilities
Along with establishing protocols, students can also generate and assign individual roles and responsibilities for the visit. For example, they can determine who will introduce the speaker, who will serve as the room host, who will ask the questions, who will monitor the chat, who will set up and test the equipment, who will facilitate the Q&A session, and who will confirm plans with the guest. You can use and modify this Group Roles and Responsibilities template to create role cards. These cards can be given to students to serve as visual reminders of their responsibilities during the visit.
Asking questions and keeping students engaged during a virtual meeting can be a challenge. It can be difficult for students and speakers to ask questions that aren’t too personal but still enable everyone to feel at ease. Below is a list of questions that might help break the ice and make connecting easier. Prepare the presenter by sending questions to them ahead of time to increase your chances to have a successful session. (See Identity and Assign Roles and Responsibilities to ensure everyone gets involved) To see a complete list of questions go to Livestorm
- Who are your role models?
- What three superpowers would you choose to have?
- If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
- What qualities do you most admire in others?
- Who’s someone in your profession you admire?
Let’s Dig Deeper
- What are the biggest decisions you’ve made over the last year?
- What’s your secret to dealing with disappointment?
- What makes your job exciting?
- What’s the single most important quality a leader can have?
- How do you develop a strong culture within a team?
- What strategies have had the biggest impact on your success?
- How well have you maintained a positive work-life balance throughout it all?
- What early setbacks later gave you an advantage?
- What one piece of advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?
- How do you avoid being complacent in your role?
- What is one piece of practical advice you would give to someone starting?
- Did you ever doubt yourself?
- Are passion and determination enough to make you successful?