The chat feature in platforms like Zoom has become a very popular way to engage participants in responding to questions. Especially helpful with large audiences, it allows everyone to respond without having to spend time waiting for individuals to unmute, ramble on, and then be reminded to mute themselves again. However, these chat responses often reflect lower level thinking and don’t lead to deep learning.
One chat protocol that I have used successfully looks like this (always posted on a slide for clarity):
Always remember to allow some silent think time after sharing the question and before the chat begins. I call this a Purposeful Pause. Depending on the question, I might ask for a 10 to 60 second Purposeful Pause.
When it appears that everyone has answered, except for the select group, I then ask participants in the select group to unmute and share a response to one of the chat comments. If needed, I might call on someone by saying “Trin, would you like to share or pass?” (I find that the initial chat comments are often more thoughtful when those people know that others will be carefully reviewing their comments and selecting one to respond to publicly.)
After the select group has responded, consider taking it a step further by asking anyone in the group to react to the verbal comments. Now we see dialogue among participants that may go a bit deeper. Depending on the conversation, I might wrap up the activity by asking everyone to spend 30 – 60 seconds doing some silent written reflection.
I will share more chat protocols in the future. Feel free to add your ideas in the comments below!
For even more ideas...
Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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