Selena Woodward
Chief learner, Uni lecturer, Co-founder and mum. Passionate about empowering my students, myself and my colleagues so that we can be the best we can be.
Selena Woodward Microsoft Trainer

Engaging Now! 7.4

Demonstrating 4.5

Using Breakout Rooms in OneNote to teach elements of the ICT General Capability

August 1, 2021 | Focus Areas: | | | | | | | | | 0 COMMENTS

To create a sense of shared responsibility for learning, I wanted to create a learning activity where students would have to research in small groups and work interdependently to succeed (meet the learning objective)/.

There is a large body of content to cover in a relatively short time in EDUC9404 and so, rather than deliver it lecture style, I chose to utilise Microsoftย  One Note and Microsoft Forms to create an interactive activity that was lead by students.ย  The aim was to give them a set of resources that they could explore in order to find key pieces of the content that they needed to be able to recall and apply in their assignment.

I divided the students into small table groups and created a gamified experience where they needed to race the other groups to find the information required.ย  To do this, they needed to find key pieces of the information puzzle and put them together to form a holistic understanding of the sub-elements of the ICT General Capability – Applying Social and Ethical Protocols and Practices when using ICT.

Some groups had the added challenge of having a member working from home.ย  There were several students who could not physically make it to class due to covid restrictions.ย  We used Microsoft Teams to help them join the learning. During the small group tasks, their “in-house” classmates were tasked with choosing a group member to be in charge of using teams to call them.

Groups if students working online
Groups of students working online. Managing the task at hand, whilst also managing working with someone in quarantine at home.

I chose to use OneNote as I could set up password-protected pages that could only be accessed by locating a “key”.ย  The key was a core idea or concept and was used as a password to unlock the next set of content for exploration.

Password Protected Breakout Tasks

As the password-protected pages were in the content library, they could not be annotated by the students.ย  This made it hard to see their thinking and group work processes.ย  In order to combat this and encourage the 21 Century learning skills of “Working Together”, I added the use of Microsoft Forms to collect data as they worked.ย  Often, the key to the next section could not be accessed if they could not reach the correct assessment milestone in the quiz.

An example of the infographic created using Microsoft forms. This formative assessment strategy enabled some great learning conversations

Both during (and after the session) I was able to use the simple infographic view in the “review” section to evaluate the quality of the learning and inform my learning objectives, communication and, in some cases, interventions for the students. The technology’s ability to visualise this assessment information as it came in live, made a quick formative assessment much easier and enabled me to be more responsive to the needs of the learners in my room.

For example, in one session, it was clear that students were struggling to share strategies to identifying phishing in emails and website content.ย  The answers they gave to this question demonstrated this quickly and I was able to modify the strategies I had planned and pause the session long enough to revisit this information with them. The students help each other by adding their thoughts on the subject in a whole-class discussion.

In order to encourage interdependent work, I spoke to the groups of students about the roles they could assign to help them achieve these goals quickly and effectively.ย  The roles they chose included: Scribe, researcher, fact checker and external communications (where they needed to dial in a friend from home).ย  This helped them to have some individual accountability in their small groups as they worked towards meeting the final outcomes of their work.

The 21st Century Learning assessment tool for teachers evaluating their practice and planning.


Using the Collaboration rubric in the 21st Century Learning Design research, I think they would have scored a 5 for their efforts (and my planning!).ย  They had shared responsibility for their learning and outcomes and had to make substantive decisions about the content they selected. The use of the roles in the groups helped them work a little more interdependently.ย  However, next time I run this task, I will make the group sizes smaller so that everyone has a clearer role to play in the group. In some cases, the larger groups of 6 seemed to naturally split into threes anyway!




The impact of this series of learning opportunities was shown in the level of discussion happening inside the groups.ย  A number of students had some really excellent questions and were using their critical thinking skills to explore the ethical and social protocols.ย  Some of the content was quite a challenge for them.ย  Especially when they realised that they needed to have a good handle on this information in order to teach the content and use ICT safely with their own future students.

The impact was shown most clearly in the formative assessment tasks using Microsoft forms and then later in their assignment where they were asked to create a learning activity, with an assessment rubric that demonstrated their understanding, not only of this content but how they might apply it in their future classrooms as they incorporate strategies to promote the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching,

Here are some example answers from the formative assessment task which show students beginning to make these important connections. – (Click to enlarge)





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