Breakout Rooms are smaller rooms that can be created in a meeting to divide participants into sub-meetings when they need to collaborate and discuss things as a group. Teachers specifically, can use the breakout rooms to divide students into groups to complete group assignments even during remote classes.
Although Google Meet does not have the functionality to create Breakout Rooms directly, it doesn’t mean it is not possible. At first look, you might think it is complicated and maybe not worth the effort. But trust us, once you get the hang of it, you’d realize that looks indeed can be deceiving, and there’s nothing much to it.
As this concept is most useful for schools imparting online learning, we have taken their example in our guide. But any organizations and teams can use it similarly.
How do Breakout Rooms Work in Google Meet?
You will need to use the combination of Google Meet, and Google Slides to successfully create Breakout Rooms. The basic premise is that you will create different Google Meets for each group of students. This Google Meet will act as their Breakout Room. Each student will be a part of a specific breakout room for the group exercise.
You can create the Breakout Rooms in advance and assign the students to their rooms to avoid any hassle during the meeting. Use Google Slides to create a visual presentation of the Breakout Room so the students can know easily which room they belong to.
Creating a Breakout Rooms Google Slide
You can create a Google Slide with information about the separate Breakout Rooms to share with the meeting participants. Here is a preview of what this slide could look like.
Create separate groups and list the names of the students underneath it to clearly state which student belongs to which group. Each student has been assigned to their specific rooms here so there will be no chaos and confusion whatsoever among your students. You can create a slide from scratch as per your needs or use the template that we have created as a base for anyone to use.
Open the Breakout Rooms template for Google Slide that we created from the button above. Then, right-click on the slide thumbnail on the left panel and select ‘Copy’ from the pop-up menu.
Now open Google Slides by going to docs.google.com/presentation link in your browser, and create a blank slide by clicking the ‘+’ icon.
Right-click on the blank slide thumbnail on the left panel and select ‘Paste’ from the menu to paste the template you copied in the instructions above. Now, you can modify it as per your requirements without having to go through the whole process of designing a visual template.
Creating Breakout Rooms in Google Meet
Now that you’ve created different groups and assigned each student to these groups, the next step is to create the Breakout Rooms for the students to be directed to when they click the link on the slide.
Go to meet.google.com and sign in with your school or organization account. Click on the ‘Join or start a meeting’ button.
You can also give the meeting nicknames to make it easier to enter them in case there’s a mismatch later. Here, we nicknamed the first meeting ‘Breakout Room 1’. After entering the nickname, click on the ‘Continue’ button.
Note: Nicknaming the meeting is completely optional and skipping it changes the outcome in no way. It can just be a really good practice if you somehow end up mixing the meeting URLs for different Breakout Rooms.
You will reach the ‘Meeting Ready’ page. There is no need to join the meeting yet. All you need right now is the meeting URL. Go to the address bar and copy the meeting URL.
Now, open the Google Slide you created earlier. Go to the ‘Click to Join’ button if you are using our slide template.
Clicking on the ‘Click to Join’ button will show the sample link we’ve created. Click on the ‘Edit’ option to replace that link with the meeting URL you copied previously.
If you created your own slide, then go to the text/image you want to be clickable. Select it, and click on the ‘Insert link’ button and then paste the Google Meet URL there.
Create as many Google Meet Breakout Rooms as you want and repeat the steps for each room.
Start your regular meeting with your students on Google Meet. After all the participants have joined the meeting, share the link for the Google Slide in the meeting chat.
To get the link for the Google Slide, click on the ‘Share’ option towards the top-right corner of the screen.
Go to the ‘Get Link’ and click on ‘Change’ as the privacy access would be on ‘Restricted’.
Select ‘Anyone with the Link’ from the drop-down menu to change the privacy restrictions and click on ‘Done’. The mode would be on ‘Viewer’. Keep it that way so your students can only view and not edit the slide.
Then copy the link and paste in the Google Meet Chat to share it with meeting participants. Click on the ‘Chat’ icon on the top-right side of the screen to open Google Meet chat.
Paste the link to the Breakout Rooms Google Slide you created in the Google Meet chat and share it with all students in the meeting room.
Your students can join their respective Breakout Rooms while still being part of the original meeting. You too, can join all the meetings and keep them open in separate browser tabs to hop between them effortlessly.
How to Manage Simultaneously Running Google Meets?
When there is more than one meeting running in separate tabs, one of the biggest problems that you will encounter will be the sound from all the separate meetings.
Ask all the participants to mute the original meeting and mute it yourself too until you need to go back to it from the breakout rooms. Doing so would solve the problem for at least your students who only have the main meeting and the breakout room meeting running on their browsers.
But for the teacher who is part of all the breakout rooms, the problem still remains. But not for long. Fret not, for the solution is quite simple.
You can mute the browser tab for all the other meetings except the one you are currently participating in. To mute the browser tab, right-click on the tab and select the ‘Mute site’ option in Google Chrome. The tab can be unmuted similarly from the right-click menu when needed.
Creating Breakout Rooms in Google Meet is a brilliant idea for hosting Group activities even in a remote environment. Although the concept is most useful for teachers who want to distribute group assignments and enable students to work seamlessly in groups, anyone can use it. Organizations can use Breakout Rooms to work in groups.