When you have acquired students and you want to teach them online, you can use Zoom to teach. Zoom is a platform similar to Skype but offers more functionality and convenience when teaching students.
If you are an ESL teacher or just a teacher who wants to use Zoom for teaching online, bookmark this page. This Zoom tutorial for teachers will help you and your students get started.
Zoom Basics: What You Need To Know
Zoom has stood the test of time as an excellent resource for distance education for many reasons.
Get the Free Plan
The free plan allows you to hold 1-100 participants at any one time. Group meetings can be held for up to 40 minutes (you can restart the meeting if you need to).
Share your screen, audio and HD camera to participants.
Unlike Loom, used for screencasting and allowing students to view at a later date, Zoom is a means of synchronous communication to enable the student to join and learn in real-time.
You can share video and audio with the student and work on the material together.
It’s best to wear a headset so the student can hear you clearly and have a suitable background. You can even download a virtual background for Zoom for free.
Stay in a quiet room for the duration of the lesson and even conduct the lesson standing up, if you prefer, just at once your student can see you, and your face is visible on the screen.
Exchange Messages in Real-Time
Zoom has a chat box that allows you to send and receive messages instantly.
When you are speaking to the student and want to write down something, you can easily open the chatbox. Consider using the chatbox to write down what the student is saying, make corrections after what has been said or write the words that the students are having difficulty with.
If you are an ESL teacher, a good idea is to write the word phonetically so that the student can understand how to say it when they review it at a later date.
For example, let’s say the student is having trouble pronouncing the word ‘phonetic.’ You can write the word phonetically like this “/fəˈnɛtɪk/” in the chat bar, to remind them how to say it.
If you don’t know how to write words phonetically, you can always find the term with a quick Google search or by keeping this Phonetics website open in another tab. Copy and paste it into the chat.
Use it On Multiple Devices
You can use Zoom on Windows, Linux or Mac, iOs or Android. When you use Zoom for a few classes, it makes teaching so much easier that it becomes a breeze.
Use the Whiteboard Function
Where would a teacher be without their whiteboard, or in 2020, their virtual whiteboard? The Zoom has an annotate function which allows the students and teachers to draw on the virtual whiteboard.
So if you want to warm up the class and draw some pictures, review some vocabulary or brainstorm, take out your whiteboard and write everything down. There is an eraser, different colored pens, and the regular text feature that allows you to type. The student can collaborate with you on screen.
Share Your Screen
When you share your screen with your student, you can view the content and lesson material, play Youtube videos or audio and just really take your lessons to the next level.
Unlike regular lessons in an online teaching company, you are not restricted and can show the student a whole host of different media to keep them entertained.
When you feel their interest is dipping, you can get more creative and find something for them to do. Have an emergency list of resources you can pull out when needed. You can share part of your screen or your full screen.
Take a Recording
You can record on Zoom and choose to store the recording on your computer or another storage area, such as Zoom’s cloud. This is a great place to store the audio and video versions of your former lessons that you can come back to at a later date.
You could also share them with the students’ parents or the students themselves to show them their progress or to remind them of what they have learned.
The recordings or slides from the day may give you an idea about what to give them as homework if you are so inclined.
I like to share the recording link with the student so they can come to review their progress or check back on something important.
Breakout rooms are an excellent option for hosting groups of students who you want to do activities with. You can mimic a physical classroom setting by having these breakout rooms and conducting Q & A sessions or quizzes.
The students can meet and discuss things in a group in the breakout room for a few minutes and then come back into the class again with their ideas and answers. This is a more advanced function of Zoom, so check out these instructions on how to use Breakout Rooms here.
No video platform is perfect, and Zoom doesn’t come without its cons.
Poor Video Quality
Sometimes Zoom disrupts users with its poor-quality video. The video can become blurry and pixelated on occasion and may deteriorate to the point of unusability.
The Adjusting Period
Teachers and students alike will have to adjust to Zoom, its functionality and the expectations of the free tool. The teacher may have to send instructions to the student’s parents or the students themselves how to use Zoom and make the most of it in the lessons.
The students might be shy at first and if they don’t have a lot of English, it may be hard to explain how to use Zoom while in class.
Students may need some warming up to the tool before they get the hang of it, and you can help them learn bit by bit in class.
Zoom Tutorial for Teachers: Get Started
Here are the basics to help you get started using Zoom in your classroom.
- Go to Zoom’s website.
- Click ‘Host a Meeting’
- Make appropriate changes in the meetings and the settings tab
- Invite students to the meeting
- Enter the meeting
1. Go to Zoom on the website
You can click here to access Zoom’s website. You can also download the app on your desktop here. Click the ‘Sign Up It’s Free’ button or sign in if you are already registered. You will then have access to your personal profile.
As a free user, you will be on the basic plan and can host limited meetings with up to 100 participants. You can also configure it with your calendar if you use a calendar to remind you about scheduled events. Not bad, eh?
2. Click the Meetings Tab
You will be able to see previously scheduled meetings and upcoming meetings here.
3. Recordings Tab
You are also able to access your cloud recordings and local recordings of previous meetings. If you have a paid plan, you can upload the recordings here and share them with a link.
4. Check Your Settings Tab
Manage all your settings easily, and check to see that everything is in good working order. You can also view the settings on the desktop app.
If you haven’t already, download the desktop version of Zoom. It is recommended to have the waiting room setting turned on, as you don’t want any other student unknowingly interrupting your class. The waiting room function means that you have the chance to accept the students before they enter the Zoom call.
Click ‘Host a Meeting’
Click the Host a Meeting tab at the top of the screen. You will be brought to a new window allowing you to open Zoom meetings.
Tell Your Students to Come to Zoom
If you want to invite your students, you can send them your personal meeting link or schedule a meeting. You can click the ‘Schedule Meeting’ button or copy and paste your meeting room ID for your student to access your meeting.
When the student is ready, they can click ‘Join’ and enter their personal meeting ID or instead click the personal meeting link that you previously sent them and paste it into their browser. Time to start teaching!
Zoom Meeting Interface: Button Functions
By clicking ‘New Meeting,’ you will be taken to the Zoom screen. Here you can mute/unmute your microphone, and turn on/turn off the camera, among other functions explained below.
Instructions for using the Zoom meeting interface buttons, from left to right.
You use this button to mute your audio so you can’t be heard. The arrow beside the mute button allows you to choose your microphone and speaker and test them to make sure they are working correctly.
This allows you to select the specific webcam you want to use to teach. If you click the small arrow beside the video graphic, you can choose a virtual background, such as the Golden Gate Bridge or the beach.
You can also upload your own virtual background in the form of an image or a video, which is quite fun.
This is where you set the level of control participants have in meetings. You may want to enable waiting rooms here or enable/disable the participants from using the chat box or muting themselves.
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View who is present. You can also invite your contacts to the meeting or email them.
This allows you to choose what you want to share with your student, whether it’s a portion of your screen, a particular tab on your computer screen, a file, your Google Drive, or the whiteboard section.
You can share anything on your screen with the student, and they will be able to see it clearly on their screen.
This allows you to record the meeting so it can be viewed later and saved to your cloud or computer folder.
Get the student to interact using the interactions. With interactions, you can send a clapping hands emoticon or a thumbs-up emoticon.
In the chat bar, you can send and receive messages. You can also use the mute function to control audio coming from you or the students’ end.
How Students Can Use Zoom in Meetings
I’ve found this helpful PDF file, which explains how students can use Zoom in meetings. You can click to access the Zoom Student Directions here.
You can make your own version for your own students if you want. This will give them the basic knowledge to enter Zoom and join a class with you.
Zoom is great for teaching students, but some students may not be able to access Zoom in their country; for example, if you have Chinese students, Zoom may be blocked by China’s Great Firewall.
If you plan to teach in China, you may want to consider using a platform such as Zhumu, which is the Chinese equivalent of Zoom. This is also free, but you can upgrade to the paid platform if you want to conduct group meetings over the 40-minute mark at a modest 120¥ per month (approximately a dollar). Zhumu works the same as Zoom, so the following instructions apply in the same way.
Another option to consider is Voov Meeting when you are teaching Chinese students. Chinese students appreciate Voov Meeting because they can connect with Wechat, which is the primary social app in China.
Verdict: Zoom is Good For Teaching
Zoom makes teaching online an affordable way for teachers to reach many students around the world. It is a good tool for online teachers to implement due to its annotation feature, recording function, and ability to share files.
Did you find this post helpful? Please leave a comment below!
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.