Introduction to Zoom (part 1)

This is the first part of a series of four tutorials dedicated to Zoom. In our school, all teachers are licensed users.

For now, Zoom offers the best experience when it comes to videoconferencing. During the lockdown, we were able to teach remotely and Zoom has been incredibly helpful. Here are some of the functionalities we like:

  • It’s easy to set up.
  • It runs on all Operating Systems (Mac, Windows, Android, Linux…).
  • The quality of image and audio is good.
  • There is a grid view so you can see everyone.
  • You can schedule meetings.
  • Zoom connects with a lot of calendars so you can set reminders.
  • There is a screen sharing option.
  • There is a built-in whiteboard.
  • There is a chat (which could be, however, a little bit more advanced).
  • You can add a virtual background.
  • You can mute people in the group.
  • There is a hand-raising function.
  • Breakout rooms allow you to split your meeting in separate sessions.
  • Settings offer you to prevent any annoyances (such as the famous zoombonbing problem).

1. To begin with

You can use Zoom in different ways.

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Furthermore, you may find useful two extensions for your browser:

In this tutorial, we’ll use an iPad. Every time a feature is available only on a computer, I’ll say so.

2. How to use Zoom

First, you need to sign in.

To do that, visit zoom.us. Use Safari or Chrome to do it. After that, you will be able to change some settings (more on that in the third part of this introduction).

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We will continue this tutorial by showing you what you can do with Zoom on your iPad.

To start a new meeting, well, press on New Meeting. You can’t miss it. It’s the big orange button with the camera.

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Then press Start a Meeting.

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And choose Call using Internet Audio.

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Now, you have to invite someone to talk to. Go to Participants > Invite.

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To end your conference, just press the End button on the up-left corner.

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And then confirm by pressing End meeting for All.

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3. What else?

Mute yourself

Well, you can mute yourself.

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I suggest you do it every time you don’t speak so no one gets annoyed by your typing on your keyboard or the noise that may surround you.

Share content

If you want to share something, go to Share Content:

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Most of the time, I use this to share my screen. In that case, you may display a PowerPoint presentation or any document or app you want. You have a whiteboard as well.

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You can create several pages by pressing the little square with a + icon.

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You can even save those pages (and later add them to your Google Classroom). Just tap on the three little dots.

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Speaking of sharing, you can record your Zoom session on your computer, which is really, really great as your students will be able to watch it again if necessary. Alas, this feature is only available on a computer. So if you want to record your conference, you have to use the desktop client and press Record.

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Unless you change your settings (see Introduction to Zoom (part 2)) and choose to record every meeting. You also have the possibility to record your session by pressing the aforementioned little dots and choose Record to the cloud. On a computer, you have a choice: record on your device or on the cloud. On an iPad, it will be only on a server located I don’t know where.

Participants

At the time of writing, I was alone but you will find all the students in the Participants tab. This is where you are going to see if someone is raising a hand or you will be able to mute/unmute your participants.

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Be aware that when you share your screen, you don’t see the participants. That’s why it is best to work with two screens if you can.

The three dots

You have there at least one very important option: the chat. Always have a look on the chat. Some students are quite shy and prefer to answer that way.

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There is no doubt that Zoom could improve their chat. When you want to talk privately to someone, it is not very handy to select a name in a long list of students. But for now that’s the way it is.

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It’s impossible to finish this part without mentioning the Virtual background. Students love it. I’m not fond of it but if you don’t want to show your place (and if you have the system requirements for Virtual Background), it can be pretty fun.

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So, to change your background, you need to tap on the three little dots on the upper right corner and choose Virtual Background. You can even add your own background.

During the lockdown, Disney released Star Wars background. Maybe you prefer Pixar. Or something else. You can even replace your background with a video.

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