Rapid Raising

To ensure all students can participate equitably in a learning experience, teachers can strategically leverage Zoom’s hand raising feature. When students rapidly raise their virtual hands simultaneously, all students are able to opt in with the choice to click right away or after a brief pause. The student-produced participation list can then be used to choose students to share, engage, and/or answer questions in the moment or throughout a lesson.

Student waving

Key drivers around effective learning:

  • Socially Connected
    Socially Connected

    Choice and agency

  • Actively Engaging
    Actively Engaging

    Relationship and trust building

Teacher addressing student

The Why

When working with students remotely and/or in hybrid contexts it can be challenging for all students to participate equitably. To ensure students are not only able to engage, but able to engage comfortably, it is important to give all students the chance to share, participate, and even answer questions in fun ways. When in-person, many educators use strategies such as popsicle sticks to do cold calls and/or go through the roster to ensure each student has a turn,
but this can get tricky in the hybrid world. One way to address this challenge is to do “Rapid Raising” where students are given a 3-2-1 countdown to raise their hands at the same time and, in turn, build a list for the teacher to use for participation in that moment or to utilize throughout the day.

The Feature:

  • An individual student can raise their hand virtually using a button within “Reactions” at the bottom of their Zoom window. The hand raise feature was designed to indicate to the host (the teacher during instruction) that the student would like to speak. When a student raises their hand the hand icon is shown in their Zoom box, as well as by their name in the participant list. They also move to the top left of the gallery view.

  • When a group of students raise their hands at the same time, they are immediately put in a list ordered by the speed by which they raised their hands. When students raise their hands, a hand icon is also shown in their Zoom box, as well as next to their name in the list, so that the teacher has a visual check that all students have joined the list.Once a student has spoken, the student or the teacher can lower the student’s hand and the student returns to the lower part of the participant list to show they have already had a turn.

Team on Zoom call
Teacher, teaching on Zoom video call

The Implementation

Identify a lesson that requires all students to actively participate (e.g., students presenting a project, going through review questions, popcorn sharing, etc.). At the beginning of class, once all students have logged on…

  • Countdown from 3 and have all students raise their hands virtually using the “raise hand” button.

  • Do a quick check that all hands are raised by visually looking for the hand icon in each Zoom window or in the participant list.

  • The participation list, produced by the speed by which students “raise their hands,” now serves as the order in which teachers can call on students to answer questions, read, or participate in another way.

This quick activity ensures all students are included in the participation list and also allows students to go slower or faster — hoping to be included closer to the top or bottom based on their readiness to share. This allows all students to have an opportunity to engage in class and ensures that stronger voices are not dominating the discussion. Doing this also lets students who may not feel as confident to hold back a second after the countdown so they go lower on the list and can participate later in class after watching peers model the activity. This helps students feel safe, supported, and ready to engage once they are more comfortable.

Developed with The Learning Accelerator




The Learning Accelerator