Understanding zoom learning tools

Understanding Zoom Tools for Learning.

The coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill and pushed the world into their abodes with schools, offices and other institutes closing down in order to limit human contact which is the main culprit behind the spread of the virus. The world has turned to a ‘Work from Home’ regime which ensures some degree of productivity. Schools and other institutions are conducting online classes via the video conferencing app Zoom. Teachers and students enter a new world of virtual lectures and worksheets as the lockdown brought about by the coronavirus shuts down schools and colleges. The long lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic has closed schools, colleges and other educational institutions and ushered in the citywide classroom: tens of thousands of students in cities and towns are glued to computers and smartphone screens as teachers take to online apps for lectures, tutorials and assessments. Instructors of a residential teaching environment may experience times when they are not able to deliver class in person during this pandemic due to which schools and colleges have been shut since March now. E-learning poses a challenge to both teachers and students over technology and access, but it is keeping everyone busy with worksheets, video lectures and assignments. This article provides instructors with the configuration steps and practical tips for using Zoom to teach their course.

WHAT IS ZOOM? 

Zoom is a video conferencing tool that provides instructors and students a way to meet online synchronously via a personal PC/laptop or cell phone with or without using video. Instructors can set up Zoom meetings to conduct classes online, as well as record them for later access by students.

As an instructor, Zoom can help keep your class going if you or your students have a situation that keeps you from meeting in person. Synchronous online class sessions, where everyone joins a Zoom meeting at a scheduled time, is one way to create engagement when students are remote, but Zoom can also be used to support other teaching and learning scenarios. Zoom can be used on laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, and even desk phones, giving students many ways to access the class session. Zoom was designed to be intuitive. Still, it works best if you make some key decisions and become familiar with the platform before inviting students into an online meeting.

GETTING STARTED : 

● If it’s your first time using Zoom, Getting Started on Zoom login and complete the steps in advance of your class to get you set up.
● Schedule your class in the Zoom application for your desired date/time and copy the invitation details to send to your students. *Please note that students will not need to register for an account to join.
● Join your class a couple minutes early to ensure a proper connection then follow the below tips for a quality online learning experience.

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR VIRTUAL LESSONS : 

● For your first class, set aside some time to introduce your students to Zoom
and ensure that they’re able to connect their audio and video.
● Give an agenda or plan for each class by Screen Sharing a document or slide at the beginning of class. This gives
students a clear idea of how the class will progress, what will be covered, and the activities they’ll engage in.
● Discuss online etiquette and expectations of the students in your first virtual class and periodically revisit the topics.
● Utilize the Whiteboard or Annotate a shared document and let your students engage as well. When sharing a
whiteboard, document, screen, or image, try whiteboarding math problems or have a student use annotation to
highlight items such as grammar mistakes in a paper you’re sharing.
● Take time to promote questions, comments, and reactions from your class. Give a minute to allow your students to
utilize reactions, write their questions in chat, or be unmuted to ask their questions live.
● Divide into smaller groups for a discussion on a certain topic. You can use Zoom’s Breakout Room feature to either
pre-assign or auto-assign students into groups for a short period of time so they may discuss things together.
● Have students be the presenter and share projects with the class. This allows your students to show what they’re
working on while practicing their presentation skills. It also allows students to hear from one another.

ZOOM TOOLS BUILT FOR ENGAGEMENT : 

  • Polling  – Practice feedback using the Zoom polling feature. Ask a multiple-choice question about the concept to check for student comprehension.
  • Breakout Rooms – Use Zoom’s breakout room feature to facilitate this type of discussion. Instructors can randomly assign students to breakout rooms or they can selectively group students together
  • Non-verbal Feedback – Make use of the “speed up” or “slow down” to indicate whether they are following along with lecture. Either yourself or your TA can monitor these responses and adjust accordingly.
  • Virtual Backgrounds –  Choose a Virtual Background. You can select one of the preloaded backgrounds or upload your own.
  • Sharing a Screen – Share presentations over Zoom by sharing your screen.
  • Whiteboard – You’ll see all the drawing tools on top.  To get it, share your screen and click Whiteboard.
  • Annotation – Zoom has basic annotation tools (text box, free form draw/pen, shapes, and highlighter) that you can use to guide students or explain a concept. Access these tools by selecting the Annotate option when you’re sharing your screen.
  • Transcription of meetings – All chats can be saved and downloaded for record.
  • Chat – Using the chat tool can encourage engagement by allowing more students to interact with the live activity, rather than just listening.

HELPFUL TIPS FOR USING ZOOM : 

  1. If your video quality is poor, turn off your video and rely on your computer audio. You may also use your cell phone (without video) to participate in a Zoom session.
  2. Ask students to “mute” themselves as a default setting to avoid distracting background noises. Have students “unmute” themselves when they want to talk.
  3. Ask students to “rename” themselves using their preferred name so that everyone in the Zoom session knows how to refer to them.
  4. Use headphones (instructors and students) for all Zoom sessions. If you are having trouble hearing people or being heard, conduct a “test” of your speakers and microphone by clicking on the arrow beside the “mute” button and selecting “Test Microphone and Speakers.”
  5. If you plan to use your video, ensure that the room you are in has decent lighting.
  6. Build in pauses to allow students time to ask questions, whether by raising their hand or recording their questions in the chat box.
  7. Adjust the volume in the classroom so that your students can hear you but you do not hear yourself reverberating backwards.
  8. If you want to record your Zoom session, please be sure that you click the “record” option at the start of your session.

Zoom allows you to implement many of the same teaching methods that you use in a F2F classroom. Before you jump into learning the in’s and out’s of the Zoom tool, consider what teaching methods you are already using, and then see if Zoom can help facilitate those same methods or similar ones in an online (synchronous) space. Zoom allows you to switch back and forth between different types of teaching methods (e.g., lecture, small group discussion, etc.) as many times as you need during a class sessions.

About Preksha Shah

Preksha is a literature Undergraduate student at jai Hind College. She has embarked on a writing journey with And All Publishing, to learn about SEO and editorial writing. Carving through design and words has always been her forte. An eye for art and her pull towards it with an added depth of literature gives her a way with language.

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