Today I’m going to tell you about Zoom, my favourite video conferencing software for one-to-one online lessons.
When I started teaching online in 2014, I used Skype for my classes. Skype is a fine start and is worldwide known so it’s a good option in case our students don’t get on well with computers and have no idea how to install a new software. Most people know and have Skype already installed on their desktop.
However, when I use Skype, the connection fails a lot, some features don’t work sometimes and it lacks other characteristics that I love about Zoom. Zoom covers all Skype features and beyond.
So here is a list of reasons why I decided to use Zoom instead of Skype since the very first moment I tried it:
1. The lessons can be recorded
This feature is really convenient for both the students and the teacher.
It’s useful for students in order to revise every lesson when they need it. Some of my students like to watch the videos before the next lesson to remember what they learnt in the previous one and be well prepared to continue.
As a teacher, you can use the recordings to show how your classes are by uploading them to your website, your YouTube channel or other social networks. On the other hand, you can also assess your performance so that you can improve.
If you want to record your lessons on Skype, you need an extra software to do it for which you will have to pay a fee.
I’ve never tried Hangouts but I’ve heard you can also record the lessons. However, the videos are instantly uploaded to YouTube (although you have the option to make them public or not and you can also download them). With Zoom, the recordings are saved on your computer and then you can decide whether to upload them or not.
2. You can choose what to share
Most video chat programmes allow you to share your screen but Zoom goes further and lets you choose which window, tab or document to share. This means that, for example, you can check your lesson plan or look up a word in the dictionary while your student is only looking at the class activities.
When you share your screen on Skype, your students see everything you do on the computer.
3. It has an integrated whiteboard
This is great if your computer has a tactile screen. Mine hasn’t, although I still use this feature to draw easy things such as the ‘hangman’ when I play this game with my students.
4. You can share your computer sound
This means that if you play an audio or a video, your students will hear it as though it came from their own computer. The quality is excellent and you both can control the volume.
The new versions of Skype also have this functionality but I’ve had many problems using it. It just doesn’t want to work sometimes so, in my opinion, it’s not reliable. I’ve never had any problems sharing the sound with Zoom.
5. You both can draw, underline, circle, cross, tick…
This is an exceptional feature when it comes to teaching. Whatever you share, from internet websites to PDFs, images or documents, both the student and the teacher can write on them, draw, circle elements, cross them out, tick them, underline sentences or words…etc.
I haven’t heard of any other platform that allows you to do this and it’s such a useful option!
6. You can provide your students with a link to enter your online classroom
This is extremely convenient, for instance, when someone books a trial lesson. You want to make your potential client’s experience as easy as possible so forcing them to download a software they probably don’t know might not be the best idea. Instead, you can just send them a link to click on at the time of the class.
Once they decide to continue as your students, then you can teach them how to download the application.
7. It’s free for one-to-one lessons
The free version includes all the previous features and unlimited one-to-one calls.
The only downside of Zoom (from my point of view) is that group calls are limited to 40 minutes when using the free plan. If you need unlimited group classes you will have to pay €13,99 a month.
You can find further information about this great software on their website zoom.us.
Are you already teaching online? Which software are you using? Have you found a better alternative?
Are you using Zoom? Is there anything you would like to add to this post?
I’d love to hear your opinion. You can share your experience leaving a comment below.
Finally, if I’ve helped you with this post, you can also help me by sharing it on your social networks. Thank you!