Have you been using Zoom breakout rooms in your teaching? Have you found that when your students are in their breakout rooms, they forget the details of the task or they get off-track?

Zoom has added a new feature which enables you (as the host of the main Zoom session) to communicate and share information with students while they are in breakout rooms. This includes sharing your screen, sending a text message, or broadcasting a mic audio message to all open breakout rooms.

This will be great for teachers. They will now be able to share their screen to all the breakout rooms to include the instructions for the task the students should be working on, broadcast audio warnings of how much time is left on a task, or clarify instructions to the whole group while they remain in breakout rooms. This has not been possible up to now so this update will greatly improve the productivity of group work in Zoom breakout rooms. 

Jeremy Hind, Manager, Application Services (Learning & Teaching)

And it’s obviously not just for teaching; if you are hosting any Zoom meeting and you have participants in breakout rooms, this feature will be useful in that context too!

How to share your screen to all breakout rooms

Once the breakout rooms are open to participants, the host or co-host can share their screen from the main session directly into all breakout rooms.

Click on Share Screen at the bottom of the page and tick Share to breakout rooms.

A message will pop up confirming what will and won’t be shared.  Click Share

Note: The selected content will be shared to all breakout rooms. Any active shares in any breakout rooms will be interrupted for the host’s/co-host’s shared screen. Annotations or whiteboards are saved before the host’s shared content is viewed. 

If you are sharing a video, you will also need to tick Share sound and Optimize for video clip.

How to broadcast a message to all breakout rooms

There are two types of messages the host can broadcast to all breakout rooms, a text message or a mic audio message. 

Note: You will need to ensure you are using Zoom version 5.11.9 or higher to be able to use Broadcast Voice. Follow these instructions to update Zoom to the latest version.

Broadcast a text message

To broadcast a text message, click on Breakout Rooms and click Broadcast.  Then select Broadcast Message.

Enter your message and click on Broadcast. Your message will be sent to all participants in breakout rooms.

Broadcast a mic audio message

To broadcast a mic audio message, click on Breakout Rooms and click Broadcast. Ensure that your mic is turned on from the Zoom main page. Then select Broadcast Voice.

Click on the Play button to begin broadcasting your voice to all participants in breakout rooms.

When you have finished talking, click the Stop button.

This excellent new feature gives a great way to support all your students simultaneously during Zoom breakout activities. Perhaps you have experienced this on Zoom before: the class is given an activity; you send them off into breakout groups; and when you check in or call them back, they didn’t recall the task properly or got wildly off topic! Until now, my suggestion to alleviate this has been to share details of the activity in the Zoom chat before you send them off, but this is clunky and additional work for teachers. This feature will reduce cognitive load for both you and your students – win:win.

Linden Misselbrook, Learning Designer, MQBS

More about teaching via Zoom

Zoom teaching quick start guide – for those new to teaching via Zoom.
Visit the Zoom website for Quick guides on using all the features of Zoom.
Zoom for teaching – a self-paced 45 min module (available in iLearn)
Zoom teaching in 1CC (Central Courtyard)
Even more about Zoom

Posted by Alison Hayward

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