I love creating new words! If we can say ‘imprisoned’, why can’t we say ‘inhomed’?
Teachers around the globe are massively migrating to online classrooms. While Zoom still remains the number-one tool, it’s undoubtful that using it requires training. In other words, it’s too difficult to just jump on it and teach as you go. Therefore, I decided to go for Hangouts since I’ve used it before and found it extremely easy and user-friendly.
So what makes Hangouts a really good tool for teaching online?
- It’s linked to your Google Calendar. Yes, Zoom has this feature as well, but it’s much easier to schedule a meeting in Google Calendar using Hangouts.
- Breakout rooms. In Hangouts you can be present at all breakout rooms at the same time! So basically, you can monitor all your students. What I usually do is ask students to mute themselves in the common room and move to the private rooms. I join the private rooms as well but mute myself in there, as well as in the common room. When needed, I can unmute myself in one of the private rooms and help the students. Of course, you can’t set up random grouping like in Zoom, but you can just nominate students and give them the link to their room via chat. Only takes a couple of seconds! To get the link to the private room, click on its link with the right button and choose ‘Copy link address’.
- The interactive whiteboard is also there! Not in the app itself of course, but I am just using an empty deck of Google Slides. I share it with my students beforehand (don’t forget to set their status as Editors), and then all of them can type and draw in there. We had a lot of fun this Tuesday when drawing timelines for Past Perfect. For group written exercises, you can use a shared Google Doc.
- Sharing your screen is also super easy and only takes seconds. You can share either your browser tabs or the screen of some app you’re running on your computer (e.g. a video player).
Some other online resources I’m using:
1. https://www.random.org/ – this is a random number generator; I use it when I need to assign some task cards to students; they seem to like when the cards are assigned in a truly random way 🙂
2. https://www.timer-tab.com/ – this is a very stylish timer/stopwatch/alarm clock; when the time is up, the chime bell tolls. You can set any other sound or song instead.
3. https://wheeldecide.com/ – this is another randomizer that looks like a wheel with coloured sectors.
4. https://www.random.org/dice/?num=1 – an online dice for playing board games in an online classroom 🙂
Alternatively, just type ‘dice roller’ in Google and enjoy a nice animated dice (you can choose how many sides there should be):
5. https://padlet.com/ – in case you’re not satisfied with Google Slides / Docs, you can use Padlet to be your interactive whiteboard.
6. https://www.hangmanwords.com/create – and finally, a classic hangman, but online. Create and play!