Economics Teacher Listens With His Eyes

Downing Family Faculty Chair in Economics Dee Mecham uses Google Slides “as a collaborative whiteboard” in his Zoom breakout rooms for small group work on particular questions and problems. He can see at a glance the live action in each, and give feedback or redirect student work, much like he would if the students were grouped together in his classroom.

Mr. Mecham explains, “When we teach in-person and have the class work in small groups, we can listen in on multiple conversations or see the work they are doing on the board and know which groups are making progress and which ones need a nudge to either get to work or to redirect their focus. Zoom breakout rooms take that away from us, but simultaneously using shared Google Slides with the Zoom breakout rooms can help get that back by ‘listening in with our eyes.’ We can move in and out of breakout rooms more intentionally vs. randomly.”
He assigns a slide or slides to each group with a problem, task or discussion prompt. When students take notes and show their work on the slides, he can see the progress in real time on his screen. Mr. Mecham continues, “I ‘walk around the room’ by clicking on each group’s slides and seeing (rather than hearing when in-person) where some support might be needed.” He feels the slides offer an “ease of switching between each group.”
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