Last week, I came across a new platform called Wonder which allows for participants to self-organise into video chat groups.
As an early product, it’s not without its quirks, but this kind of thing is gold for facilitators interested in more democratic and participatory workshops.
Here’s why I like it:
- Participants can leave a group and join or form a new one at any time
- Everyone entering the room can be asked an icebreaker question, the answer to which is displayed when you hover over their avatar
- When you’re outside a group (like me in the screenshot above) you can see who’s talking in a group
- It’s got all of the usual screensharing functionality you’d expect
- Admins/facilitators can ‘broadcast’ to all groups (without having to recall them)
This is much better than Zoom rooms, which have to be set up by the facilitator, and which perpetuates a hierarchical power relationship.
It did take me back to a decade ago, wandering around a classroom when I ‘dropped in’ to groups. People stopped talking for a moment. But that’s always the case when someone joins a group that’s already having a conversation.
So long as the pricing doesn’t end up being ridiculous, I’m planning to use Wonder for any meetings where I need breakout rooms. Although Zoom has superior video quality (and backgrounds!) I’m very impressed with what Wonder offers me as a facilitator.