Digital classrooms have been—and still are among the core aspects of distance learning. Accounting for its relevance and popularity, over 6 million Americans are now pursuing some form of online education.
That is quite the development, given how such things would be unfathomable a decade back. So what brought about this change? With any massive shift in practice, there lies a vanguard catalyst that eventually becomes the forerunner of such. In the case of online classes, one such facilitator has been Zoom.
The Underlying Fundamentals of Online Classes – How and When?
The idea of online classes first stroked the paradigm in the early 2010s. However, owing to the lack of infrastructure, its momentum quickly shunned, and application became limited. Fast forward a few years, technological advancements have made it more feasible than ever.
Regardless, it was overwhelming enough to make a shift from physical to digital medium. And to protect students’ interests, the least the platform needs to uphold is a similarity to the offline medium. In simple terms, it is essential the students feel at home, both literally and figuratively. This very idea became the fundamental provision for Zoom, and it delivers!
What is Zoom Classroom?
To answer the question, ‘what is Zoom Classroom?‘, it would help to know what Zoom is and how it functions. Zoom meetings allow you to host video conferences with students, that shall replicate the classroom experience. On a single screen, both you and the students can see all the other participants simultaneously.
That being said, ‘what is Zoom Classroom?‘ can have different answers for everyone. If you are a college professor, a Zoom Classroom can serve as a means to deliver pre-recorded lectures. For school teachers, Zoom is a powerful platform to conduct regular classes.
Why Use Zoom for Education?
Zoom offers a wide array of functionality that can benefit students and teachers alike. Unlike most other apps geared towards a corporate setting, Zoom offers some exclusive perks useful for classroom environments.
- The platform’s flexibility – Zoom runs on virtually any device students use daily, including desktops, phones, iPads, etc. Such compatibility eliminates the need to have a PC in students’ homes. Getting into a class is as easy as switching an app on the phone!
- Screen sharing – You can share your screen with the students, and have precise control over the same. Feel free to share any particular app/file or the entire screen. Even students are allowed to share their screens, provided you give them access.
- LMS integration – Students who are already familiar with LMSs like Blackboard, Canvas, etc. can directly hop into Zoom Classrooms with advanced integrations.
- Breakout rooms – This feature can come in handy for conducting group projects. With Breakout rooms, you can group students into separate groups and assign tasks. The students will only see their group participants, while you have complete supervision over everyone.
- Engagement tools – Students can use the Raise Hands feature to indicate doubts, polling for expressing opinions, and so on. Such features help and promote greater engagement for the entire class.
Apart from the above, Zoom also offers competitive room security tools. All meetings can be password-protected, and you can grant an individual access to all participants.
Now that you know what Zoom Classroom is, the next step would be setting it all up. It’s painfully easy, and all you need to get started with Zoom is explained as under-
Setting Up Online Classrooms with Zoom
Zoom’s Education Guide has got all the things covered and has a lot of technical jargon with it. If you are just getting started with digital transformation, you will most likely be looking for understandable 101 instructions. Follow the simple steps described below, and you’ll be inside your virtual classroom in no time.
- Go to the zoom.us website and register yourself with an account. It’s free!
- Set up your username and password and ask your students to do the same, if they haven’t already.
- Download the Zoom app from their website for your relevant platform. For optimal experience, it’s highly recommended you use a desktop computer.
- Click on the ‘New Meeting’ button from the app, and your meeting should directly start. Before starting, however, you’ll have the option to connect to video/audio. Make sure to check those boxes if they are not by default.
By now, you shall receive your meeting ID on the screen. Forward the meeting ID and password (if any) to your students for them to join. Alternatively, your meeting link shall also remain active, which you can also use to join your meeting.
Zoom allows you to schedule meetings for a specific time as well. To do so, select ‘Schedule’ from the main menu and select a time. A link to join the meeting will generate automatically, which you can forward to students beforehand.
Wondering what is Zoom Classroom recommended practices? We have got a few of them you can note down to an even better experience next time.
The peace signal – It’s a prevalent practice for students to give a peace sign if something goes wrong. If their mic stops working, you can immediately know about the same and assist them regarding the issue.
Using the attention tracker – Zoom has a very nifty feature teacher would love using. The attention tracker monitors each participant’s actions and lets you know if they don’t actively engage.
Mute function – Perhaps the most commonly used, the mute feature lets you mute all students when speaking. And it’s just as easy unmuting someone when it’s their turn.
Keep in mind that students – especially younger ones, may also wonder what Zoom Classroom is. So, before you get started with the classes, it would help explain to them what you learned. And if you are still in the dark about Zoom’s functioning, their super helpful FAQ can address almost all your queries. Zoom also offers round the clock customer service for all issues.