Zoom as a Communication Platform
Zoom has become the forefront of online communication platforms in the span of weeks not only due to its easy start up, but also its depth in terms of functionality. The premise of Zoom is simple:
Create an account to host a meeting
Host a meeting
Provide participants a Meeting Link/URL or the Meeting ID and password through phone or email
Wait as the participants join using the given credentials
Without delving into deeper features or methods of hosting/joining meetings, Zoom maintains a simple way for teachers to create a secure meeting. Zoom meeting invitees, such as students, do not require a Zoom account to join, although they can access the app's full functionality with a free account. Zoom works regardless of your hardware of choice: Windows/Mac/Chromebook computers, iPhones, iPads, and Android phones/tablets.
Deeper under the hood, Zoom provides access to many features. Paid, business-tier accounts provide meetings capable of multiple participants with no time limit, making it perfect for classroom settings. Advanced video and audio features built within the app, such as virtual green screen backgrounds, noise reduction and echo suppression, can be toggled on and off. The ability to create a Zoom contact list and/or use Personal Meeting IDs also provides simpler and alternative ways of hosting meetings with regular students/teachers. The Screen Sharing and Whiteboard features can help replicate in-studio practices such as notating music or creating diagrams.
The desktop version of the app is especially robust, and gives full control over the hardware devices used, such as multiple camera and audio sources. This makes it perfect for setting up multiple camera angles or direct-to-computer instrument recording. Navigating to these features and settings can be a daunting task at first, but can add immensely to the quality of video lessons once mastered.