May 23, 2020
Episode 93 of The Teaching Space Podcast looks at what makes a successful video conference call.
This episode has been inspired by the recent increase in video calls I've experienced as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. While I certainly don't profess to be an expert video call host or participant, I realised early on that I'd had a bit more experience than some in this area. I thought it would be useful to compile and share some top tips for a successful call.
I'll start with general tips then focus on a few student-specific issues. Please remember, I teach adults, but I will touch briefly on general child protection issues
This is not an episode about tools but it would be remiss not to mention The Big Three I’ve used lately, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Because my experience is mostly with Google, I’m not going to do a comparison as it would be biased. I just have a few things to mention though:
Google recently increased access to their premium Meet options allowing users to record and have more control over aspects of the call. This upgrade has been a game-changer for me - utterly essential - if they decide to downgrade, it might prevent me using the tool for educational purposes in the future. Recording calls and having a record of the chat is essential to me. Fingers crossed they keep the feature as part of the free G Suite for Education package as I do not see my organisation paying for it.
It looks like Microsoft has done something similar with Teams although I am less familiar with what the upgrade entails.
Zoom is something I have used more in a business capacity. It's an excellent tool with similar features to the other two, however, it has been subject to negative press recently over security concerns. Google 'Zoom-bombing' and decide for yourself.
There is some extra consideration needed when undertaking calls with students, especially children and vulnerable adults. Follow your organisation's recommendations as they will be working to comply with the relevant child protection policy and legislation. Generally, recommendations are likely to fall into these areas:
There will also be behaviour management considerations, for example, understanding who has control over muting and leaving/joining the call. There is lots of platform-specific guidance on this available online. Also, the level of interaction on the call will relate directly to the size of the group. For larger groups, consider a flipped approach as explained in the previous episode and smaller tutorial groups if possible.
And that's it. If you have any questions about this episode or comments you'd like to share, please join The Teaching Space Community: community.theteachingspace.com. I'd love to know about your experience of video calls in an education setting.
The show notes for this episode include any links I’ve mentioned; you can find them at theteachingspace.com.
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Thanks for listening and I hope you'll join me for the next episode.