Wait Question

Offer students the ability to share answers simultaneously, as a full group in a fun and engaging way. This strategy enables students to learn from each other and analyze common threads during a virtual gallery walk, while also allowing the educator to get a quick read of the room and identify misconceptions on the individual and class level.

Student raising hand

Key drivers around effective learning:

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    Socially Connected

    Peer learning and collaboration

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    Actively Engaging

    Knowledge activation and reflection

Woman teaching on the computer

The Why

When working with students remotely and/or in hybrid contexts it can be challenging to ensure they are all sharing and engaging equitably. Many times, as with in-person instruction, a handful of students continually answer questions and share more readily — leaving others who are less confident without opportunities to actively participate. To ensure students are not only able to engage, but able to engage comfortably, it is important to build activities that are fun, low stakes ways to participate and share. By leveraging the chat function in creative ways, students are able to answer questions freely and openly, while also learning from their peers.

The Feature:

In-meeting Team Chat
The in-meeting chat function on Zoom can be used in a multitude of ways including: 

  • Answering questions

  • Sending a private message to an individual user

  • Sharing ideas with the whole class

  • Collaborating, etc.

The teacher (or host) can choose who participants can chat with or teachers can disable chat entirely. Many schools have direct chatting disabled as a whole system so students can’t message anyone other than their educator directly. This ensures that students are not having side conversations or using it in inappropriate ways.

Image of Zoom video and Zoom chat
Student learning on a computer

The Implementation

One way to ensure all students engage and offer answers when participating in synchronous remote instruction (e.g., all working together at the same time) is by providing “Wait Questions.” To use this technique an educator should first provide students with a question that needs more than a yes/no answer. Once the question is shared, students are given a set time to answer the question in the chat without pressing enter — and not answering is not an option.When the time is up, the teacher, along with their students, will count down from five to one, signaling them to press enter. Once all students press enter, there is a tidal wave of answers that flood the chat. Students are then asked to read through all of the answers, pull out common themes, ask questions, and then engage in a discussion. 

This technique offers students the ability to:

  • Answer a question with low stakes, since everyone is answering at once

  • Learn from their peers by going through a virtual “gallery walk” of the various answers

  • Clarify misconceptions by seeing other answers and perspectives

This technique also enables the teacher to get a gauge on student understanding (both individually and as a class) so that they can address misconceptions, offer additional supports, or move on if everyone has mastered the material at hand.

Developed with The Learning Accelerator




The Learning Accelerator