It is critical that your online teaching classroom is as engaging and professional as possible and using Zoom for online teaching can help. This will greatly assist in keeping your student focused on your lesson and preventing them from losing interest or, worse, leaving without booking another lesson.
There are numerous ways to use Zoom to enhance your students’ online classroom experience. In this article, we will discuss the most commonly used methods that have been shown to be effective and will keep your students coming back for more.
We always recommend that you plan and test Zoom before beginning your lessons. People will quickly notice if you are disorganized, and they will be unimpressed and likely to switch off as a result. Remember that you may be competing with other distractions in your students life such as their phones or other activities rather than paying attention to what you have to say.
1. Make use of Screen Sharing When Using Zoom for Online Teaching
Rather than just having you on video talking, it is best to break up your lesson with some screen sharing sessions. This could be anything from showing a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrating how to do something on the computer. This will help to keep your students’ attention focused on you and the lesson.
Sharing your screen is simple, and you can even pause it while you prepare something else so your audience does not see you fumbling around on your computer. Have web pages and applications open because nothing is more boring for your audience than waiting for things to load on your computer.
If you’re not sure how to do it , check out this quick tutorial on how to share your screen on Zoom. Once you’ve done it a few times you’ll be an expert and make you feel much more confident when using Zoom for online teaching.
2. Utilize the Annotation Tools When Using Zoom for Online Teaching
Zoom includes some excellent annotation tools that allow you to add comments, drawings, arrows, underlines, and other items to your screen. This is a great way to break up boring presentation slides, and you can also annotate web pages and anything else on your computer screen.
Before your event, practice using the annotation tools. If you have to spend time figuring out how to make annotations during class, you will lose students. Although the annotation tools are fairly simple and intuitive to use, it is always a good idea to learn how to use them first.
This is an easy way to set yourself apart from other teachers, and it will make your Zoom online teaching classes more interactive and engaging.
3. Use Zoom’s Whiteboard when Teaching Online
Another effective method for increasing engagement and improving learning outcomes is to use the Zoom whiteboard. You can solicit ideas from your students and then post them on the whiteboard for all to see. It is possible to arrange your meeting so that participants can contribute to the whiteboard as well.
This is a great way to get ideas from introverted students who may not want to speak up in class. It also allows you to quickly jot down ideas that come up during discussion and you may be able to use these ideas for future lessons.
The whiteboard is an often overlooked feature of Zoom, but it can be a powerful tool when used correctly. Before your first class, you should once again learn how to use the whiteboard feature properly. If you launch the whiteboard and have no idea how to use it, it will appear very unprofessional. There are plenty of tutorials on the internet that can help you master this feature.
4. Get the Camera Positioned Correctly
Many Zoom users fail to pay attention to the position of their camera and how they appear to others during a Zoom meeting. You don’t want students to see only the top of your head, or even worse, your crotch area. This is not a joke; people frequently attend business Zoom meetings with no regard for how they present in their video.
You want your webcam or camera to be positioned so that you don’t have to look down or up. If you have to look down at your camera, you will appear fatter than usual. This is not a flattering appearance. Looking up at the camera is not only strange, but it is also unflattering.
The ideal camera position is one in which you can look directly into it. This creates the illusion that you are looking directly at the other participants, which is exactly what you want. So experiment with your camera’s position until you get it right. Also, you probably don’t want your whole face to fill the screen, so zoom out a little bit.
5. Examine the Camera
A common blunder made by many new Zoom users is that they spend too much time staring at their computer screen rather than at the camera. Always keep in mind that looking into the camera is the same as looking your audience in the eyes. If you do this, they will respond most positively.
Constantly staring at your screen, even if for a good reason, conveys the impression that you are uninterested in your student and do not wish to connect with them. Of course, it is acceptable to glance at your screen from time to time, but try to keep this to a minimum.
6. Make use of Zoom Virtual Backgrounds
Another fantastic Zoom feature when using Zoom for online teaching is the ability to add a virtual background to your lessons. This is an opportunity for you to provide a truly professional background that reflects the best image of you and your company.
When you sign up for a Zoom account, you can replace your existing backgrounds with a variety of virtual backgrounds. These are usually images of oceans, cityscapes, and nature, which are fine, but you can do better.
Video or Image
You can use the Zoom virtual background feature to set an image or a video as the background for your Zoom classroom. We do not recommend using video because it can be very distracting for your students.
Zoom recommends using a green screen and uniform lighting to get the best results from virtual backgrounds. Zoom will be able to tell the difference between you and the background as a result of this.
We recommend that you create your own virtual backgrounds that include your company’s branding. It is a good idea to include your logo, as well as your name and website address, in your background. You must create an image that accurately represents your camera type. So, if you’re shooting in 16:9 aspect ratio, the minimum image size should be 1280 by 720 pixels.
Canva can be used to make professional-looking backgrounds if you decide to use Zoom for online teaching.
Best Virtual Background Configuration
It is recommended that you use a green screen to get the best results from virtual backgrounds (or another solid color background). These green screen backgrounds can be found for a reasonable price on the internet.
Your camera’s quality determines the quality of your background. It also depends on the lighting in the room where your Zoom event is taking place. You can get inexpensive ring lighting from Amazon that will significantly improve your situation.
When creating your virtual background, one important tip is to avoid wearing clothes that are the same color as your background. This will make it much more difficult for Zoom to distinguish you from the background, and it will look very strange.
Activating Virtual Backgrounds
You must first enable virtual backgrounds in your Zoom account. Log in as an administrator to your Zoom web portal and then select “Account Settings.” Locate the “Virtual Background” option under the “Meeting” tab and enable it.
The virtual background feature can be configured on a group or user basis, as well as for Zoom rooms. For all of these, the procedure is the same. Check the group or user’s settings to ensure that the virtual backgrounds feature is enabled.
Making Use of the Virtual Background Feature
To use virtual backgrounds, you must first install the Zoom client on your desktop or mobile device. On a desktop, simply click on your profile image and then select “Settings.” If your web portal has a virtual background enabled, you will see the option to use a virtual background here.
You will be asked whether or not you have a green screen installed. The use of a green screen is not required, but it produces the best results. If you’re using a green screen, choose the appropriate color.
Select your own virtual background image now if you have one. You are now finished and can save your settings.
7. Use the Zoom Waiting Room for Your Students
When you schedule Zoom meetings which is what you will be doing when you are using zoom for online teaching, it is very likely that some people will arrive too early. Rather than having them arrive at the meeting early and not knowing what is going on, Zoom has a waiting room feature that allows you as the host to control when people can join your meeting.
You have several options with the waiting room feature:
- You can make all of your meeting attendees go to the waiting room first
- You can make guests go to the waiting room only if you want them to
- You can admit people in the waiting room one at a time to your meeting
- You can invite everyone in the waiting room to your meeting at the same time
The Screen in the Waiting Room
When a meeting attendee is sent to the waiting room, a message will appear on their screen with information and a request to wait. Zoom will display a message similar to this by default:
“Please wait; the meeting’s host will admit you shortly.”
“Joe Smith’s Conference Room”
You have some customization options available here. You can add your logo to the waiting room screen, as well as change the title and description that the attendee sees.
Please keep in mind that the waiting room is only available for Zoom meetings, not Zoom webinars. You must enable the waiting room option in your meeting settings to prevent participants from using the “join before host” feature.
Creating the Waiting Room
You must have the Zoom client installed on your computer or mobile device in order to use the waiting room feature for Zoom meetings. The first step in enabling the waiting room feature is to log in to your Zoom web portal as the administrator in order to change account settings.
Navigate to “Account Management,” then “Account Settings.” Look for the “Waiting Room” option under the “Meeting” tab and enable it if it is not already enabled. You must now choose who you will send to the waiting room from the following options:
- Everyone who attended the meeting
- Meeting attendees who are not members of the organization
A guest is a person who does not appear in your Zoom account or a participant who has not logged in. If a person is on your list but has not yet logged in, they will be given the option to do so.
Configuration of Groups
If you have people in a specific group with whom you have regular meetings, you can follow the procedure above with the exception of navigating to “User Management” and then “Group Management” before getting to the waiting room settings. If you have more than one meeting group, you must choose the appropriate group name.
Meetings with Individuals
If you have a one-on-one meeting with someone, you can make them go to the waiting room first. You must first log in to the Zoom portal and then select “Meetings” to accomplish this. Schedule your meeting, and then choose whether or not to enable the waiting room before saving.
Using Zoom for online teaching is a great tool for creating an engaging and professional classroom, but getting the most out of it requires some time and practice to get it right. But the benefits are immeasurable, so give them a shot!
What are some of your best tips for getting the most out of Zoom? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.
8. Use A Teleprompter When Using Zoom for Online Teaching
When you are first starting out, it can be difficult to remember what you want to say while also trying to engage with your students. A teleprompter can help alleviate some of that anxiety by giving you a script to read from while you are teaching. This way, you can focus on making sure that your students are engaged and understanding the material, rather than worrying about what you are going to say next.
There are a few different teleprompter apps that you can use, but we recommend PromptSmart Pro. This app is designed specifically for use with Zoom, and it has a lot of features that will be beneficial for online teaching, such as the ability to control the scroll speed and to bookmark specific sections of your script.
One thing to keep in mind is that you will need to set up your teleprompter in advance of your lesson. This means that you will need to have your script ready to go before your students join the Zoom meeting.
9. Use the Breakout Rooms Function When Using Zoom for Online Teaching
If you have a larger class, you can use the breakout rooms function to break your students up into smaller groups. This is a great way to keep everyone engaged because they will be working on something rather than just listening to you talk.
To use the breakout rooms function, start by going to your account settings and selecting “In Meeting (Advanced).” From there, scroll down and find the “Breakout Room” option and enable it. Once you have done that, you will be able to create breakout rooms when you are in a meeting by clicking on the “Breakout Rooms” icon in the toolbar.
Keep in mind that you will need to assign students to a breakout room before they can join it. You can do this manually or have Zoom do it automatically for you.
This is easily incorporated into your lesson plan too. For example you can give your students a short assignment, put your students into breakout rooms and have them work on it together. Then, they can report back to the whole group with their answers. This might be particularly useful for some niches such as IELTS Preparation.
10. Utilize Video Recordings When Using Zoom for Online Teaching
Although it is not possible to record your entire class, you can create recordings of specific sections or problems that you want your students to review later. This could be a particularly challenging problem that you want them to practice or a section of the lesson that they need to review.
To create a recording, start by going to your account settings and selecting “Recordings.” From there, you will be able to choose whether you want to record locally or in the cloud. We recommend using the cloud option because it is more reliable and you will be able to access the recordings from anywhere.
Once you have chosen your recording location, you will be able to start and stop the recording from the toolbar while you are in a meeting. Your students will not be notified that you are recording, so make sure to let them know in advance if you plan on doing this.
After the meeting has ended, you will be able to access the recording in your account settings. You can then share it with your students so that they can review it on their own time.
You could also use these recordings as a way to give feedback to your students or even to create parts of a course that you can sell. And you can use it to evaluate yourself, and whether you can improve your teaching style.
11. Join the Meeting Early and Check Your Connection
This is basic advice for any Zoom meeting, but it is especially important for Zoom meetings that are being used for online teaching. You want to join the meeting early so you can test your connection and make sure everything is working properly
During the meeting, pay attention to your connection quality. If you notice that it is starting to degrade, you can try moving to a different location or restarting your router.
It is also a good idea to have a backup plan in case your connection does drop entirely. You could send your students a document with the assignment for that day so they can work on it on their own. Or, you could have a recorded lesson that they can watch in case they miss the live lesson.
You should also make sure to let your students know what your backup plan is in case of a connection issue. That way, they will know what to do if you or they are having trouble connecting to the meeting.
12. Make Use of the Chat Function When Using Zoom for Online Teaching
The chat function is one of the most underrated features of Zoom. It can be used for a variety of purposes, such as sending links, asking questions, or sharing files.
You can use the chat function to send your students links to articles or videos that they can use to supplement the lesson. Or, you can use it to ask them questions about the material. This is a great way to gauge understanding and keep students engaged.
You can also use the chat function to share files with your students. This could be a PowerPoint presentation, a PDF of the lesson material, or even a video recording.
The chat function is also a great way to keep students engaged during discussion-based activities. If you are using breakout rooms, you can monitor the chat to make sure that everyone is on task and participating in the discussion.
Finally, the chat function can be used to create a virtual “hand-raising” system. Students can type “raise hand” in the chat to let you know that they have a question. You can then call on them in the order that they typed “raise hand.”
13. Make Use of Keyboard Shortcuts When Using Zoom for Online Teaching
If you want to be a power user of Zoom, you need to learn the keyboard shortcuts. There are shortcuts for a variety of different actions, such as starting or stopping the video, muting yourself, and even switching between different zoom views.
One of the most useful shortcuts is “ALT + v” which starts or stops your video. This is great for when you need to step away from the computer for a moment.
Another useful shortcut is “ALT + m” which mutes or unmutes your microphone. This is helpful if you need to take a break from speaking or if there is background noise that you don’t want your students to hear.
You can also use the keyboard shortcuts to switch between different zoom views. For example, you can use “ALT + 1” to switch to the full-screen view or “ALT + 2” to switch to the split-screen view.
Finally, you can use the keyboard shortcuts to control breakout rooms. For example, you can use “ALT + c” to create a new breakout room or “ALT + l” to list all of the breakout rooms.
To see a full list of keyboard shortcuts, you can go to the Zoom website or press “CTRL + /” while in a Zoom meeting.
There are a variety of different tips and tricks that you can use to make zoom for online teaching more effective, engaging and as such more likely to impress your students and keep them coming back for more. Utilising the above information will help you to get the most out of zoom and ensure that your students are getting the best possible experience from your zoom-based classes.