Don't let the coronavirus outbreak keep you from connecting with your students!
With schools everywhere suddenly closing, many teachers are wondering how to maintain contact with their students. Fortunately, today’s technologies make this incredibly easy, as long as your students have access to a connected device.
Here are three tools you can use to stay connected:
This is a cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across all sorts of devices. At Cyber Civics we use Zoom all the time to show teachers how to download and teach our lessons, to conduct online meetings, and even to give webinars. Zoom is incredibly easy to use (here is a video that shows you how to use it for videoconferencing). And the best news? Zoom CEO Eric Yuan just announced that he is giving K-12 schools this videoconferencing tool for FREE. You can learn more about this here.
Skype is free downloadable software offered by Microsoft that works across all devices. It lets you speak to, see, and instant message anyone who also has a Skype account. Up to 50 people can be on a Skype video call and Microsoft makes it very simple to download and use its software, outlining the steps here. If you are a visual learner, this is an excellent tutorial video. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Microsoft just announced that it will also roll out an update to the FREE version of "Teams" that will lift restrictions on how many users can be part of a team and allow users to schedule video calls and conferences. You can learn more about this here.
This is another wonderful, and free, option for connecting with your students. Likely they will already know about Google Hangouts, but in case you don’t… you can use it to connect with anyone who has a Google account. It allows you to use your webcam for video calls, and you can chat with users via the embedded chat box. You can also share your screen and record your hangout. Here is an excellent tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts. Unfortunately the number of people who can be in a video hangout is 10. However, in response to the coronavirus crisis, Google just announced this:
"We will begin rolling out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including:
· Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call
· Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain
· The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive
These features are typically available in the Enterprise edition of G Suite and in G Suite Enterprise for Education, and will be available at no additional cost to all customers until July 1, 2020. If you need help getting started, please visit our learning center page or follow the instructions outlined in our message to G Suite admins."
With the availability of so many incredible online tools, don't let "social distancing" keep you feeling distanced from your students.