It is a busy life. We work and teach in a perpetually time poor environment. We all have deadlines to meet, meetings to attend and colleagues and students to support. It is a common problem that we often need to be in two places at once or sometimes be unable to physically attend sessions and discussions that have great importance in our lives.
This is a problem for students too. They have busy schedules. Classes, specialized groups, sport commitments, personal commitments and family commitments.
How can we support each other in these scenarios, have meaningful conversations and open dialogue? Meet Zoom.
Zoom is a free, online web and video conferencing service that meets the needs of staff and students.
Zoom offers both desktop and mobile options, including private virtual meeting rooms. These are perfect for conferencing, sharing and discussions.
Zoom does not require a login for all participants. Once the host of the meeting has created a meeting space, participants are invited to take part via an email link. Participants then have the option of using a mobile device app or browser to join the room.
Once in the room, all participants can be seen and have the opportunity to share ideas via voice, message or via screen share. Meetings can be recorded for future viewing and for those who cannot make the discussion.
Zoom has been a wonderful resource to enable students to work more collaboratively on projects and communicate with each other. Year 5 students have successfully used Zoom to have project meetings to discuss progress and set future goals.
We have also used Zoom in order to have students from outside the classroom to be involved in panel discussions and presentations. These students may be away from class through illness, appointments and holidays and are streamed into the classroom to join in the learning.
Zoom has also been used by students to setup homework discussion groups or homework help sessions. A designated time is set for the sessions and students can join with the link to simply listen in to explanations or ask specific questions.
Zoom is useful in the presentation of professional development and learning sessions for staff. Due to the fact that sessions can recorded and participants can join from any mobile device, the possibilities are endless. Meetings can occur in a virtual environment to assist all staff in attending the meeting, share ideas and participate without being physically in the room.
Zoom flattens the walls of classrooms and meeting rooms. Through the use of this robust tool, we can communicate more readily and efficiently. Zoom technology assists teachers and students to collaborate and participate in meaningful ways.
Try it out at https://www.zoom.us/