“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.” - Douglas Adams
Apps are becoming increasingly popular. App spend in 2020 was around 112 billion dollars, 25% more than in 2019, and no app has exploded more than Zoom.
Whether it’s for drinks with friends, chatting with your colleagues, or distance learning, Zoom has been the app many of us have turned to during lockdowns and restrictions.
But what can you do with Zoom?
Let’s have a look at its main functions and features.
One-on-One Meetings with Zoom
Zoom’s main function is to video call others, often in a chat between two people. Zoom, much like Skype, is used by almost everyone in this way. Professionals use it for meetings, individuals to chat with their loved ones, etc.
One-on-one meetings and calls can be done with a free account and users can make an unlimited number of one-on-one calls with no time limits.
Group Meetings with Zoom
Zoom isn’t just for one-on-one meetings, though. You can also organise meetings with up to 500 participants. However, the number will depend on your Zoom account.
A free account limits you to 100 participants and the meetings will be limited to 40 minutes.
If you want to host longer meetings, you’ll need to opt for the Zoom Pro, Zoom Business, or Zoom United Business plans.
This feature is useful for online group classes or tutorials. On the other hand, if you’re only offering private online tutorials, you won’t need the premium plans.
Screen Sharing with Zoom
Much like Skype, you can also share your screen with Zoom. This feature allows the other participants on the call to see what’s on your computer’s screen.
This feature is useful for explaining concepts, showing videos, and going through exercises as every participant sees the same thing at the same time. You can screen share on smartphones, tablets, or computers.
You can also stop screen sharing whenever you want. You can pause or turn off the feature if you need to hide the answers, etc. Just click on the same button that launched screen sharing.
Save Meetings on Zoom
When teaching online tutorials, you mightn’t have the time to take notes. However, you might want to go back over each session to see what worked and what didn’t. You can do this with Zoom.
You can save your meeting to the cloud and, in just a few clicks, find the cloud recording and watch the less back.
Practical, isn’t it?
That said, teachers mightn’t want students to rely too heavily on this feature as they mightn’t pay as much attention. Similarly, you won’t want to listen back to every single lesson in full as it’ll be less effective.
Zoom: Recording Transcripts
Zoom not only allows you to record the call, but it also allows you to record a transcript of the lesson. This feature allows you to read or print out the lesson.
If you’re hosting a meeting, you can also modify the transcript and share it with the participants. This is a good way to keep track of online tutorials.
To use this option, you’ll need to sign into Zoom and change the settings of the meeting. You just need to choose the “Record to the Cloud” or “Record” option.
Zoom Plug-ins and Extensions
Zoom is a useful tool with a lot of features and functions. You can access Zoom from almost any browser, allowing you to start a Zoom meeting whenever you want.
To do this, you just need to install the plugin or extension. There’s the Zoom Outlook plugin, for example. Once installed, you can connect it to your Microsoft Outlook account. All you have to do is click on the icon and you can start a meeting.
There are also options for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. With the Chrome extension, you can plan Zoom meetings through your Google Calendar. They can make your life a whole lot easier.
You can also join a Zoom meeting without installing the extensions. All you have to do is create a link. The link will look like this: zoom.us/wc/join/your-meeting-id.
Once you’ve shared or received the link, you just have to click on it to join the meeting.
Using Zoom on Your Television
Is the screen on your smartphone or computer too small?
You can use Zoom on the big screen through screen mirroring.
There are apps like ApowerMirror to do this. You can broadcast your phone or computer to a television screen.
Virtual Backgrounds on Zoom
Zoom allows you to easily personalise your background. You just have to click on “Settings” and “Virtual Background” to bring up the menu. You can choose an image from Zoom or choose your own.
You can also change your virtual background during meetings. This is useful for hiding distractions and all the settings can be found in the aforementioned menu.
Using Zoom Interactive Whiteboards
With Zoom, you can also share interactive whiteboards to work on. This is particularly useful for tutors as it’s much like using a whiteboard in a real class. Each user can see what’s written on it and can also write on it themselves.
You can create activities for students to complete on the board and then correct them. You can have up to 12 whiteboards active at once with the most expensive plans.
To use the interactive whiteboard, you need to start by clicking the Share Screen button. You can then click the Whiteboard option to show and hide whiteboards.
This is a really important tool for online academic support tutorials.
Zoom’s Functions and Plans
You should know that the functions you get with Zoom will depend on which kind of plan or subscription you have. A free account won’t give you the same functionality as a business account.
There are 4 main plans for Zoom users:
- Zoom Basic: You can have unlimited one-on-one meetings but you’re limited to 40-minute group meetings. This means that you won’t be able to host an hour-long group tutorial. Furthermore, you can’t record the sessions.
- Zoom Pro: For £11.99 a month, you can create personal meeting invitations, record meetings, and stream to social media. You’re limited to 30 hours of group meetings.
- Zoom Business: For £15.99 a month, you can enjoy managed domains, company branding, recording transcripts, and host up to 300 participants. This option is good for groups of tutors.
- Zoom United Business: This is the plan for larger companies with over 1,000 employees.
You need to choose the right plan depending on what you want to do with Zoom and what your budget is.
If you're interested in learning from a private tutor or becoming a tutor, check out Superprof. There are thousands of tutors in the UK and around the world ready to teach you a variety of different skills and subjects.
There are three main ways to get private tutorials: face-to-face, online, or in a group. Each way of learning comes with its pros and cons and it's up to you to choose which type and which tutor works for you.
Face-to-face tutorials are usually the most expensive but that's because you get tailored lessons and a lot of the tutors will travel to you. You'll be the only student in the class and can learn what you want, how you want. Of course, with the pandemic, these types of tutorials have become less feasible and with the ever-changing restrictions, you mightn't want to start face-to-face lessons just to have them cancelled the next week.
As we mentioned, online tutorials have saved the day for many tutors and students and since the tutor isn't there in the room with you and doesn't have to travel to all their other lessons, they're cheaper than face-to-face tutorials and completely COVID-safe. Of course, while these tutorials can be just as effective as face-to-face for academic subjects, they aren't often as effective when it comes to hands-on subjects and skills.
Finally, group tutorials are usually the cheapest option available and are great for those on a budget. However, much like the face-to-face tutorials, group tutorials aren't recommended during the global pandemic and are almost impossible to organise given the various restrictions and lockdowns.
Don't forget that many of the tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson for free. While these won't be a typical lesson, they are an excellent opportunity to chat to the tutor, ask them about how they like to teach and how they can help, and discuss their availability, cost, etc. It's also a great opportunity to see if you get on well with them as it's much easier to learn with a tutor that you like or have a good rapport with.