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IMS helping to create the most effective Hybrid Learning setting

By Catriona Tierney

Hybrid learning and teaching are here to stay in one form or another with a combination of in-person and virtual teaching now being adopted by many as the best way forward in education.

According to a recent study, 9 in 10 teachers are open to hybrid learning with the right tools and resources in place and over 70% of parents also support the idea.

This year the use of technology in classrooms went from being an aspirational idea for the future to an essential service during the pandemic.

Throughout the lockdowns in Ireland, IMS has been helping to connect teachers, students, and parents, as they navigated a new way of learning. Now going forward IMS is here to help with a more blended way of learning, keeping teachers up to date with all the latest technologies and in turn keeping students engaged and parents well informed. This combination of high-quality teaching and up-to-date practical technology will help hybrid teaching and combination learning going forward.

IMS is also a Zoom partner for Ireland providing Zoom to Irish organisations for several years now. Using this unique partnership and their range of hardware solutions designed to work with Zoom, IMS was able to help teachers create a virtual classroom environment that was interesting, safe, and entertaining, and now they are continuing to provide plenty of inspiration and innovation with lots of exciting ways to integrate the virtual classroom into the traditional one.

Adjusting to the new hybrid norm

During the pandemic, many people asked of the education sector, when will we return to normal? The truth is a more hybrid approach will undoubtedly become the new norm going forward with a mix of traditional and virtual learning here to stay. The good news is that the resolve that teachers and families showed during the Covid crisis illustrates how well they can adapt from face-to-face learning to online at home. This means they can now use the skills they learned already to transition to a mix of virtual and traditional classroom education. This will allow for more flexibility within teaching practices and also more stability should any future disruptions to education arise.

For example, while students were able to return to school after the last lockdown, due to government restrictions they were still unable to go on school tours. However, thanks to Zoom they were still able to visit museums and cultural venues not only here in Ireland but across the world with an exclusive tour for students right on their laptops.

In fact, many schools are now also utilising the hybrid approach to invite special guests who are experts in their field to speak to students remotely with sporting icons, musicians, doctors and nature experts, etc all taking part. Using interactive features like the webinar Q&A function students were able to ask questions of their heroes and with breakout rooms, they could chat with other students about the experience and report back on their findings.

Pupils and teachers at Scoil Mhuire in Clarinbridge who won our ‘Most Innovative Use of Zoom’ competition this year were able to experience the benefits of this first hand as they won a 55’ DTEN D7 all-in-one Zoom room solution sponsored by DTEN. The school used their prize to host a ‘Virtual Grandparent’s Day’, organise online mediation and yoga classes, host virtual graduations and communion celebrations and field trips to the seaside and farmyards. The school also used their new DTEN screen to chat with special guests including scientists, politicians, and artists showing how endless the possibilities are when it comes to online learning with Zoom.

Using Zoom Rooms and a Zoom approved hardware appliance like a DTEN D7 screen (IMS is a DTEN partner for Ireland) also means that classrooms are also now able to connect with other classrooms both here in Ireland and around the world which is particularly informative for students learning new languages.

Staying connected

Zoom is also a great way to keep connecting for vulnerable students or teachers who can’t attend school, for distance learning in the event of another school closure or for school assemblies. Busy working parents also welcomed the virtual parent/teacher meetings during the pandemic with many hoping this can continue into the future. The same could be said for staff meetings, board of management meetings and parent council meetings with less time travelling to and from the school and shorter more time effective virtual meetings welcomed.

Another great virtual idea particularly for 5th and 6th year students is to speak with professionals from different fields online with a view to getting more information about a possible career path. Experts from the world of science, beauty, construction or media etc could engage online with students and talk to them about different career options and give them some great lots of insight into their respective fields.

Blended learning is also great for preparing students for a more digital future with increased competency in technology. This will help prepare students for college or later in life in their career which could feature a lot more online work and require more advanced computer skills.

For more information on hybrid learning and to speak to one of our team about technical expertise and support you can contact IMS.

Scoil Mhuire Clarinbridge enables Remote Learning with DTEN and Zoom

Scoil Mhuire Clarinbridge were winners of the DTEN D7 Board for the “Most Innovative Use of Zoom “ Competition.

By Catriona Tierney

Teachers Susan Rushe, Ellen Walsh, & Caroline Burke from Scoil Mhuire Clarinbridge

When you see the passion and creativity used by the staff and pupils at Scoil Mhuire in Clarinbridge for their recent Zoom competition entry it’s not hard to see why they were crowned winners of our ‘Most Innovative Use of Zoom’ competition held by us here at IMS in 2020. The prize up for grabs was an incredible 55′ DTEN D7 all-in-one Zoom Room solution sponsored by DTEN.

The competition showcased the many benefits of virtual classrooms to pupils, that might never have been possible before and the endless opportunities for the future. The teachers who took part said that they felt that Zoom has helped bring out the best in teaching and changed the experience for the better with Zoom proving an essential tool not just during lockdown but also a helping hand in so many aspects going forward.

The winning entry was produced by Scoil Mhuire Clarinbridge teachers Susan Rushe, Ellen Walsh and Caroline Burke with the support of the school principal Sean Hogan and they were delighted to win a major national award for their efforts.

What becomes clear from watching their entry is the passion and creativity in their Zoom classes and how even the competition itself event helped to motivate everyone taking part to come up with even more creative ideas for their entries.

According to Scoil Mhuire Clarinbridge while they featured everything from Science experiments to Yoga classes, Online Quizzes, and even celebrity guests in their entry, one of the most memorable activities from their entry was the Virtual Grandparents Day.

Students’ grandparents joined them in an online Zoom class and shared poems, songs, memories, and posters for each other and it was a very moving experience for all who took part. Some grandparents hadn’t seen their grandchildren in some time so getting to experience what the children were doing in school proved a brilliant experience with the pupils proudly showing their grandparents what they had created for them.

The teachers were also very moved by the experience and agreed that one of the positives that have come from the virtual classroom experience is the ability to enter their student’s homes and get to know them and their home lives and families better.

We caught up with Scoil Mhuire Clarinbridge teacher Susan Rushe recently to find out how she and her fellow teachers Ellen Walsh and Caroline Burke have been getting on since their win.

IMS: So what were the team at Clarinbridge Scoil Mhuire’s favourite parts of preparing for the “Most Innovative Use of Zoom “ competition?

Susan: We really enjoyed preparing for the competition. It was a great opportunity to work together and share ideas during ‘Distant Learning’. It was a whole school community effort- teachers, children, parents and grandparents were involved!

We had very moving and heart-warming experiences thanks to Zoom and our Virtual Grandparents Day was truly special. We met grandparents from near and far, with our eldest participant being 90 years of age.

Teachers in our school downloaded the Zoom app to their phones and iPads and brought the children on trips to the seashore, the farm and on minibeast hunts. We really embraced Zoom on the go! We organised numerous well-being activities on Zoom, from meditation to yoga and even Qigong classes for the children and staff. We also held a special ceremony for our 2nd classes on what would have been their Communion Day and we also held a ‘Virtual 6th Class Graduation’.

IMS: What were the children’s favourite things to do on Zoom?

Susan: During ‘Distant Learning’, we feel that the children’s favourite aspect of Zoom was seeing their friends! It was so lovely to see their faces ‘light up’ when they were able to see their teachers and their peers. The children really enjoyed the ‘Virtual Dance Classes’ and we also had great fun during our ‘Zoom Art Classes’.

IMS: What part of using Zoom will you and the other teachers at Scoil Mhuire continue to use in the future even when you are in a traditional classroom setting?

Susan: We realised that the possibilities to use Zoom in the classroom are endless. This year, we have used our new DTEN screen to meet scientists, politicians and artists. We have also used our new screen to celebrate religious occasions with our local priest Fr.Barry. The children have been able to feel part of the whole school community through school assemblies on Zoom.

IMS: Finally then how has your school benefitted from your competition prize the DTEN D7?

Susan: 6th class took part in a TULCA education programme, they completed a six-week poetry and art project with two artists. The DTEN board provided the children with an opportunity to interact with the artists and engaged in a range of poetry, writing, and creative art lessons. 5th and 6th class have also used the DTEN board to take part in a virtual ‘Ask me Anything’ event. The children were given a unique opportunity to ask MEP Maria Walsh questions about the European Parliament. 4th class students used the DTEN board to take part in the ‘Cell Explorers Programme’ during Science Week. The children spoke to two scientists and extracted DNA from a banana while following the instructions from the scientists on the DTEN board.

The quality of the video on the DTEN board, along with the fantastic microphones have enabled the classes to meet and interact with people ‘virtually’. The third classes made their First Holy Communion this September. Due to Covid 19, this class was unable to make their communion in May 2020. We wanted to make their ceremony and preparation for the Sacrament special for them. Fr. Barry, our parish priest, had Zoom calls using the DTEN with both classes to help them prepare for this special event in their lives. It was wonderful that he could visit, albeit virtually, with the children. We were able to wheel the DTEN into each classroom. The DTEN enabled all the pupils to be seen by Father Barry and they could be seated with appropriate social distancing between each pupil!  The fact that the DTEN board is on wheels has allowed a variety of classrooms to use Zoom.

The DTEN board is breaking the barriers allowing us to provide the pupils with opportunities to meet more people than we ever thought possible.

Due to Covid 19, one of our classes has moved to the school hall and are using the DTEN as their board. The whiteboard is very clear and can be seen easily by all pupils. We had some technical difficulties with it but we called IMS and they  promptly dealt with it. Using it as a whiteboard the teacher has connected their laptop directly to the DTEN using a HDMI cable which enables seamless streaming. The speakers work well in a classroom but in an area as large as the school hall additional speakers are needed. It is so versatile on wheels that if there is a shine on the board or one of the pupils cannot see the board, you simply move it.

This year, all our school assemblies have been held through Zoom. We are the lucky class that has the DTEN for these assemblies. It really helps the children to stay focused and engaged. Anytime we have used the DTEN with Zoom, the children really feel that the person is in the room. It is a wonderful resource to have most especially in these strange and unprecedented times.

IMS: We would like to thank Scoil Mhuire Clarinbridge teachers Susan Rushe, Ellen Walsh and Caroline Burke for taking time out of their busy schedules to let us know how they’ve been getting on since their big win. As you can see Zoom and the DTEN has opened up many fantastic opportunities within a school setting and can be used in so many different ways.

Breakout Rooms 101

By Catriona Tierney

An IMS guide to one of Zoom’s Top Features


As many teachers know already, there are so many great aspects to Zoom that make using it for the virtual classroom so much easier. From Waiting Rooms to Passcode Protection and Screen Sharing options to Meeting locks there are an array of brilliant features that Zoom has created and another one of these is the very popular Breakout Rooms.

Small group learning is a crucial part of education and whilst many may think that in a virtual classroom the teacher has to do all the talking, thanks to Breakout Rooms, students can engage and collaborate with each other in smaller groups just as they would in a traditional setting.

Just like with any new concept, there are some fantastic tips and tricks to be learnt when it comes to using this popular feature of Zoom that we at IMS would like to show you below.

Breaking down Breakout Rooms….


First, let’s begin with what are Breakout Rooms? Put simply, Breakout Rooms are a feature that allows you to split your Zoom meeting or class up into 50 separate sessions.

The meeting host or in the case of a virtual classroom a teacher can then choose to separate their students into these Breakout Rooms either automatically or manually, or they can allow them to select and enter breakout sessions as and when they want.

In a traditional classroom setting breaking into smaller groups is a great way to create more focused discussions and with Zoom Breakout rooms that same environment is possible in a virtual setting too!

For those taking part in a Breakout Room, it’s good to know that they have similar capabilities as they have in a regular Zoom meeting. These include Screen Sharing, In Meeting Chat and asking the host for help.

Because of it’s popularity, Zoom are also constantly adding new functionality to Breakout Rooms so they can offer the best experience for users including Self Select Breakout Rooms where students can choose which Breakout Room they want to join and then move freely between rooms without needing the teachers help. 


That’s just one great function Zoom have introduced, let’s take a look at some more in detail….


From the Top…


For you beginners let’s look at how you can enable a Breakout Room. Simply log on to zoom, sign in and then go to your Account Settings. Under In Meeting (Advanced), you can enable the Breakout Room feature. Once enabled, you can create breakouts during your virtual classroom by clicking on the “Breakout Rooms” icon in the lower right-hand side of your toolbar. If you cannot access the option to enable Breakout Rooms, contact your system admin and ask them to enable it.

 

All good things come to those who wait…


Just like with any of the other great Zoom features knowledge is the key to success here and learning about Breakout Rooms will take a little time. However once you and your students master Breakout Rooms they will help create a fantastic atmosphere in your virtual classrooms where you and your students can enjoy the great sense of school community and student communication that is so important when it comes to learning.

So as well as learning the basics yourself, you will also need to give your students the tools they will need to interact with Breakout Rooms, after all this is a learning experience for both the teacher and the students.

Start out with short Breakout Rooms, that way students will be more focused on the task at hand with a clear guideline of what is expected of them. 5 minutes is plenty of time for students to discuss the topic at hand before reporting back to talk about their ideas and questions.

Don’t forget to remind your students to unmute when they are using Breakout Rooms so they can interact with each other and take part in the smaller group discussions. Make sure to remind them to turn on their cameras too as this makes for a more positive and engaging experience for the group.

Tell your students to introduce themselves and remind them to sign off at the end too. Another good idea is to give your students a prompt with a sentence starters which will help give them a clear indication of what you want from them and will also help get the ball rolling in the small group setting.
A shared slide or template they can fill out together can also be good inspiration for students to get the creative juices flowing as can assigning different roles within a group setting so that everyone has a place and a job to do within the group.

Another nice idea is to ask for feedback from students who can acknowledge other students in the group that they learned something from or were particularly helpful or knowledgable with the particular task assigned.



Ask not what your group can do for you….


As a teacher you can pre-assign Breakout Rooms when scheduling a meeting or class.  This option is great for hosts who already know how they want to group their participants.
To schedule it ensure that the “Allow host to assign participants to Breakout Rooms when scheduling” option is enabled. Then go to Meeting Options and enable the “Breakout Rooms pre-assign” option. You can then select “Create Rooms” to set up rooms and assign those taking part in the class manually using their email address or “Import from CSV,” which provides you with a CSV template to which you can add your Breakout Rooms and participants.
If you want to title each Breakout Room just click on the Breakout Room of your choice and then click the pencil icon, which will then allow you to rename the room, for example ‘History Study group 1’ etc.


Once you’ve created your Breakout Rooms and assigned those taking part just click Save before continuing to schedule your meeting. 

Creating Breakout Rooms within a meeting: To do this go to the meeting toolbar, here you can click on the Breakout Rooms icon and access the following options to manage Breakout Rooms.

Automatic vs. manual room creation: Automatic room creation will create your Breakout Rooms automatically, putting those taking part into rooms randomly or placing them into their pre-assigned rooms. The Manual room option allows you to create each room and assign participants to each room individually. To move a student, simply select their name and assign them to a different room. 

Delete room: Use this option to delete the Breakout Room you have selected, but just remember this won’t remove the participants in that room from the class completely. 

Keeping your options open…..


In the Breakout Room panel there is an Options menu with lots of handy features to help you create the ideal Breakout Room experience. These options include:

Move all participants to Breakout Rooms: this option automatically moves all those taking part in the class to a Breakout Room.
Open All Rooms option: This lets you create Breakout Rooms on the go.
Set a timer: This is a very handy option that lets you put your Breakout Rooms on a timer that will force everyone to return to the main session when the timer expires. This option is particularly good for group activities or brainstorming sessions.
Countdown after closing Breakout Rooms:
This option gives the students in Breakout Rooms a visible countdown to when they will return to the main session, giving them the time they need to finish their discussion. 
Allow participants to return to the main session at any time:
This option gives students the ability to return to the main session without any time limits.



Bossing your Breakout Rooms…


Once all your students are in their Breakout Rooms, these features can help you manage the speed and rhythm of the sessions:

Self-select a Breakout Room: This new feature means a teacher can create Breakout Rooms and, within their class, give students the ability to self-select which room they would like to join without needing intervention from the host.

Co-hosting a Breakout Room: 
Another new feature is the co-hosting privileges in Zoom, where co-hosts also have the ability to assign, start, and end Breakout Rooms, as well as the ability to move between Breakout Rooms and broadcast messages to all members of a Breakout Room.

Visiting rooms:
As a host or a co-host, you can jump between different Breakout Rooms. 

Broadcasting a message:
This feature allows you to send a message to every Breakout Room. This is particularly useful if you want to give your students a warning that they need to wrap up their discussions.

Closing all rooms:
When you want to finish your breakout sessions, you can click “Close Rooms,” which will give students a warning notification that they need to rejoin the main class.

Sending students back to breakouts:
Once you close a breakout session, you can always decide to break your students into groups again. This is really useful for longer classes because you can split your students up as many times as you want.

Responding to help requests: 
Students taking part in a Breakout Room can ask for help by clicking the “Ask for Help” icon to request that the teacher join a breakout room for assistance. The teacher will then get a notification and can jump into that particular session. However don’t forget if you’re recording your class to your cloud, it will only record the main classroom, even if the teacher is in another Breakout room.  If the local recording is being used, it will record the room the participant who is recording is in. Multiple participants can record locally.

The future looks bright…
Finally it’s worth noting that Zoom also just added the ability to join Breakout Rooms from Zoom Rooms Appliances. While Zoom Rooms cannot initiate Breakout Room sessions, they can be added as Breakout Rooms participants when a host starts a breakout session. Zoom Rooms participants can join and leave the session and see who else is in their breakout.
This is especially helpful for teachers using Zoom Rooms-enabled classrooms and want to use the Breakout Rooms feature for group activities. Zoom also plan to support Breakout Rooms on Zoom Rooms for Windows, Mac, and Zoom Rooms for Touch later this year.

For more information on Breakout Rooms or any other features click here.

Zoom Robot – A Classroom Game Changer

One exciting product which is set to revolutionise the online experience particularly in the education sector is the Zoom Robot.

Over the last year, teachers have had to get to grips with a whole new way of teaching with the virtual classroom environment taking centre stage because of Covid 19.

The technology behind virtual learning was always coming down the line but the pandemic simply sped up the process and meant a lot of teachers had to transition quickly & adapt to whole new way of remote learning.

The great news is that the Zoom Robot will help to make this experience even easier and more effective as teachers will have more physical control of the virtual environment and students will get to enjoy a more interactive experience as they follow their teacher’s movements.

Here comes the technical bit….

To put it simply the Zoom Robot is an exciting new audiovisual kit, allowing you to connect your iPad, tablet, iphone or android smartphone to a rotating console which then sits on a tripod.

The Zoom Robot is the perfect partner to any Zoom class, allowing teachers to interact with students while staying within the view of the iPad/tablet’s camera at all times.

The expertly designed console can rotate the iPad/tablet up to 360 degrees to follow the teacher who also wears a microphone on a lanyard which is synced to the device. (it can also stay stationary if needed.) 

This means the teacher can be hands free to write on a white board, share slides from their laptop and move about their environment freely (which would be of particular benefit to Science, Maths and PE teachers or any educators who need to move around a lot more throughout classes.

The brilliance of the Zoom Robot is that it can track you throughout the class following your movements and picking up high quality audio via an infra red signal sent from the device to the lanyard allowing for a much more natural range of sound and motion with the teacher always in frame.

The kits also include additional microphones that can connect to the platform which can allow students in a traditional classroom setting to be heard easily by students who may have to attend via Zoom or if it is the teacher who needs to connect remotely to the class.

This gives the students watching a much clearer picture of what is happening in your classroom, helping everyone involved feel more connected.

The Cost of Greatness….

Because you’ll be using your own iPad/tablet or smartphone as the camera this also makes the Zoom Robot a low-cost concept that will help transform your teaching experience. This makes it an exciting addition to the hybrid experience which is now a vital part of Education going forward.

In addition to the device and tripod, lightning connector, lanyard and microphones the Zoom Robot also comes with a handy case which will keep it secure as you travel from home to the classroom.

More technology to deal with?

For teachers already juggling so much already with the introduction of the virtual classroom, you might be worried that this is another technological task you’ll have to spend ages mastering but the opposite is in fact true.

Not only is the Zoom Robot a powerful tool that allows teachers to be more creative and engaging and will revolutionise your virtual classes but it is also very easy to use and will ultimately make your teaching experience easier.

Setting up the Zoom Robot takes only a few minutes, you just connect to the device and download the Zoom app to setup the video call.

So if you’d like to know more about this simple, cost-effective new product we’d be happy to show you more at IMS, simply contact us here for more details.

Top 10 Myths about Zoom in Education

By Catriona Tierney

Did you know that meeting hosts on Zoom can listen in on you, even when you’re muted! Actually, that’s not true at all, but it is just one of the many myths circulating out there that we’re going to help debunk for you here in our Top 10 Myths about Zoom in Education.

Big Brother is listening….

MYTH 10: Zoom hosts can still hear what you’re saying on mute. So let’s start our countdown with this common misconception.

This particular myth puts the fear in all of us taking part in Zoom classes as we imagine the host can hear everything from our coughing fits (which these days has us all jumping to Covid conclusions) to a misplaced comment about the host’s dodgy dress sense to a family member shouting at us in the background even when we are on mute.

FACT: The truth is Zoom does not allow the ability to secretly unmute someone and listen to them on Zoom meetings. They have confirmed that if you are muted (indicated by a red line through your microphone icon), the host, co-host, and other participants cannot hear your audio so you can rest easy on this one!

Also remember if you do mute yourself, the only way a host or co-host can unmute you is if you have given them permission to do so beforehand. However, if this happens your microphone icon will clearly show you to be unmuted, and you’ll receive a message that says “The host unmuted you.”

The Best things in life are free.. 


MYTH 9: A Free Zoom account is just as good as an Education Account.


FACT: When it comes to a Free Zoom account vs a paid Zoom Education account, the saying ‘You get what you pay for’ is definitely more apt. 

While there is a free basic version of Zoom which is perfect for new users to try out for something like an impromptu get-together for a friend’s birthday, when it comes to a classroom setting this version just doesn’t compare. The free version has a limit of just 40 minutes and is not as good as the Education account which has no time limits and offers an array of additional options, features, and controls.

Education licenses allow for 300 attendees and crucially they also have a separate enhanced GDPR policy that is tailor-made for children under the age of 16 and the school offering a privacy perspective, unlike the free version.

Free for all…


MYTH 8: Zoom meetings can be accessed by everyone and anyone.


FACT: While it’s true that Zoom meetings can be accessed by malicious parties otherwise known as ‘Zoom bombers’ who can disrupt a class or meeting by displaying inappropriate content, a little knowledge goes a long way and can prevent this problem from occurring.

Just like any online platform you can protect yourself and your Zoom class by taking the time beforehand to prepare.
You can keep your meeting or classroom setting secure by creating a random meeting password, restricting participants to an approved list, and not disclosing the meeting link in public forums (such as social media).

Crucially you can also prevent participants from sharing their screen during the session (by adjusting your security settings (Check out our Top 10 Security tips here…..)

More than meets the eye….


MYTH 7: Hosts can see your private messages.


FACT: While some students and employees believe that teachers or bosses can watch breakout rooms/private messaging between attendees on Zoom without them knowing this is in fact false!

According to the Zoom Help Centre, the in-meeting chat feature allows users to message other participants in a meeting. There are options for both entire groups messaging as well as individual messaging. 

However, rest assured that while the host has the ability to disable the chat feature private messages cannot be viewed by the host! However, as best practice when it comes to a virtual classroom setting, Zoom recommends that teachers disable in meeting chat between students to avoid any distraction.

I think we need some space….


MYTH 6: You Need Tons of Bandwidth for Video for Zoom.


FACT: There’s no need to worry about this one, just like when you watch Youtube or Tiktok regularly, video for conferences or classes etc do not take up tons of bandwidth. Thankfully this isn’t the era of dial-up anymore which means internet content is easily accessible and offers plenty of bandwidth for streaming video.

The truth is the majority of internet connections can handle Zoom’s crystal clear image quality. However even if a connection can’t handle a relatively small amount of bandwidth required, Zoom automatically lowers the video resolution for the participant with bandwidth restrictions so that they can still participate, with just a slightly watered down image. This resolution adjustment is a fail-safe though and not part of a normal Zoom experience, which is noted for its high-quality audio and video.

Calling all Attention Seekers…


MYTH 5: Zoom informs meeting hosts if you’re not paying attention.


FACT: Hosts can’t use Zoom to track whether attendees are using other apps during a Zoom call, what apps they are using, or whether Zoom is active on the screen. 

While Zoom previously offered attendee attention tracking to help improve online training engagement, they removed that feature in April 2020. Schools and organisations may use other, non-Zoom applications to track activity, app usage, or productivity, but Zoom does not offer the ability to do this, (however, if you happen to fall asleep in front of your boss or teacher you’re on your own with that one!)

Zoom don’t fail me now…


MYTH 4: Zoom doesn’t work on Chromebooks.


FACT: With many schools, teachers, and pupils using Chromebooks the good news is Zoom does work on Chromebooks and with much of the same functionality as Windows and Mac. Zoom is committed to delivering the best teaching and learning experience across all Chrome devices. The Chrome Web Store app has also been updated to optimise CPU usage for all Chrome devices so that everyone using Zoom on a Chromebook has an easy-to-use, reliable experience.

The installation of Zoom on your Chromebook is also as pain-free an experience as any other app. Simply open Chrome on your Chromebook and either go to the web store and search for Zoom or go directly to the Zoom entry in the Chrome Web store. You will then see the icon for Zoom in the toolbar and simply click on it to launch the app and hey presto you’re good to go!

Stick a pin in it…


MYTH 3: If you pin a video, the pinned participant and or meeting host will be notified.


FACT: This myth has been doing the rounds for a while now and is simply not true, Zoom does not notify a host if you pin a video. 

Pinning is just one of the many features that Zoom offers. This allows you to enlarge and centre the video feed of a particular user. This then means the gallery view on your Zoom desktop is changed to put other users in the background so you can concentrate on one particular user.

According to Zoom Pinning is an action that disables the active speaker view to show a specific video in focus. This is a local action however that only affects your view and local recordings on your device. 

So don’t worry it won’t affect the views of other participants in a Zoom meeting or show up in cloud recordings which basically means you and only you are the sole experiencer of the Pinning feature on Zoom.

Not all screen time is equal….


MYTH 2: All Screen time is bad for children.


FACT: This isn’t actually fair to say. Granted since TV was invented we’ve been warned that screen time is bad for the eyes and with children now learning remotely it stands to reason that parents are concerned.

However, not all screens have a negative impact on children’s development. Instead of thinking about how much time children are on screens, it might be better to consider the content of what they are exposed to. Watching an educational programme on TV, engaging with a maths challenge app on a tablet, or learning remotely on

Zoom is not the same as playing video games or watching mindless TV shows all day. As long as the content is educational it can help improve literacy, cognitive skills, and behaviour in children. It is also important to remember that technology has also come along way and the screens now come armed with antiglare and zero eye strain technology.

Time to face the music….


MYTH 1: Traditional in person learning is more effective than online education.


FACT: While some parents may notice that their children can lose interest during e-learning, this can happen just as easily while sitting in front of a teacher in a traditional class setting when the parent isn’t there to see it.
 
Many experts believe that concentration has nothing to do with a screen presence but more to do with the type of material being taught to a student, the more creative and more engaging it is the more effective it is just like face-to-face learning.

Teachers can also come in for a hard time when it comes to online teaching with some people suggesting it’s an easier option for them.

The truth is in addition to preparing their daily classes and correcting school work remotely, teachers have also had to adapt quickly and learn how to teach securely on Zoom while maintaining that all-important interest from students and teaching them how to navigate the technology too.

We must also remember that online teaching is here to stay in some form or other, the Covid 19 crisis has only brought the technology timeline forward and helped us all to prepare quicker for the future, which is an unexpected positive to emerge from the pandemic.

Hopefully these points have helped put to bed some of the more common myths surrounding online education with Zoom, but if you have any other questions about you can get more practical help and information from www.ieducate.ie which is the help centre for all schools in Ireland using Zoom.

Top 10 Security tips every teacher will benefit from knowing about Zoom

By Catriona Tierney

So with ieducate and IMS helping access and navigate Zoom more easily what about security and online safety when it comes to using the popular platform?

Well as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility, which is why Zoom wants to make sure your virtual classrooms and more importantly your students are protected just as they are in a traditional classroom setting.

One particularly unwelcome cultural phenomenon which has arisen with the increased popularity of Zoom and illustrates perfectly the need for increased security awareness is ‘Zoom bombing’. This is where uninvited attendees join a meeting or class with the sole intent to disrupt it and this can range from milder interruptions to more extreme threats including the sharing of pornographic content or sexist or racist slurs. Sadly no one is immune from this threat, which is why it is so crucial to carry out the correct precautions when using Zoom.

Did you know that simple searches on Twitter or Google can bring up multiple links to meetings which anyone can then share via Whatsapp and then use to access meetings or classes.

To help combat this, Zoom is reminding us never to share your classroom details (meeting ID and passcode) on any public forum, social media outlet or even your school’s public website. Many uninvited guests will literally trawl the internet for publicly posted meeting IDs, so if you find out that a student or someone else has posted your meeting information online, make sure you change the meeting ID before your next class.Finally, while it may be tempting to share the enthusiasm generated by a virtual classroom, teachers are advised not to post pictures of online classes on social media or anywhere online to help protect the privacy of primary and secondary school students.

So as you can see when it comes to preparing your Zoom class forewarned is forearmed and with that in mind, we’ve come up with some other helpful tips to help you feel more secure in your virtual classrooms.


10. What’s the magic word…

Don’t forget to password-protect your classroom. Simply create a password and share it with your students safely via school email so only those invited to take part can access your virtual classroom.

Learn more here


9. Worth waiting for…

Another great feature of a Zoom virtual classroom is the Waiting Room, this is one of the best ways to protect your Zoom virtual classroom from the aforementioned ‘Zoom bombers’ and keep your classroom secure. This feature is on by default for all education users. When enabled, you have two options for who goes to the Waiting Room before entering a class: All Participants or Guest Participants only. This feature is on by default for all education users and should be set for All Participants as best practice. 

Learn more here


8. Cutting down the chat…

Teachers can restrict the in-class chat so students cannot privately message each other. Zoom recommends controlling chat access from the Security icon (instead of disabling chat completely in your settings) this way pupils can still interact with a teacher to ask them a maths question or to tell them all about their new dog Fluffy!

Learn more here


7. ID please…

It’s also a very good idea to generate a random meeting ID for your class, so it can’t be shared multiple times and don’t use your Personal Meeting ID for the meeting.

You can also ensure even more privacy and protection by requiring registration:  This step will show you every email address of everyone who signed up to join your class and can help you keep track of who is attending.

Learn more here


6. Lock it down…

Just like teachers like to close their classroom door after the school bell goes to maintain privacy, did you know you can lock a Zoom session that’s already started so that no one else can join?  Allow your pupils a few minutes (usually 10 mins) to join in and then simply click the Security icon at the bottom of your Zoom window. In the pop-up, click the button that says Lock Meeting.

Learn more here


5. Screen sharing is caring…

Did you know that Zoom have updated their default screen sharing settings for education users? This means that teachers now have more control over what their students are viewing and this means you can also stop them from sharing unwelcome content. Sharing privileges are now also set to “Host Only,” which means teachers by default are the only ones who can share content in class. When you would like your pupils to share their work with the group, you can allow screen sharing in the host controls. 

Learn more here


4. Your names not down…

If for some reason, an uninvited guest manages to gain entry to your virtual classroom, the good news is you can easily remove them from the Security icon or from the Participants panel. Use your mouse to select a participant’s name in the Participants panel, and several options will appear, including “Remove.” Click to remove them from your virtual classroom, and even better news is they won’t be allowed back in.Speaking of names!

You may have seen the news stories recently about school children changing their Zoom name to ‘Reconnecting’ so they appear to be having internet problems and can avoid answering any questions from their teachers! While this made for an amusing viral story for many during lockdown it also serves to remind us about the importance of security features. So to avoid this and any other colourful names you can simply disable the ability for any Zoom participant to rename themselves at the account, group, and user level in your settings. Or if class is already in session, you can toggle this capability in-meeting under the Security icon.


3. Taking charge…

If your class is interrupted by a hapless lawyer with a kitten filter as you also may have seen in the news recently or someone more sinister you and any of your co-hosts can pause the meeting to remove and report the party crasher and prevent further disruption. To do this once again go to the Security icon and simply select “Suspend Participant Activities”. This will temporarily pause all video, audio, in-meeting chat, annotation, screen sharing, and recording, and end Breakout Rooms. When you’re ready you can then resume the class by re-enabling the individual features.


2. The art of Distraction…

There is nothing more off putting in a virtual classroom setting than background distractions. So whether it’s the family dog chasing it’s tail, dancing siblings or waving classmates, you can eliminate disruption by turning off a student’s video during class. Silence is also golden when it comes to Zoom classes so don’t forget you can also mute individual students or all of them at once. Mute Upon Entry (in your settings) is also available to keep the mayhem of arrivals to a minimum! Under the Security icon, teachers can also hide profile pictures of any participants that don’t have their video on. Only their names will be displayed and thanks to our earlier tip it won’t be ‘Reconnecting’. You can also set this option as a default in the In Meeting section of your Zoom settings.


1. We’ve got your back…

Finally don’t forget security is of the utmost importance at Zoom which is why teachers and other hosts can report users to Zoom’s Trust and Safety team, who will then review any potential misuse of the platform and take appropriate action. This setting can be found on the meeting information panel. 

For more technical tips and resources on Zoom you can find more information on ieducate.ie.

If you are interested in getting Zoom Education Licences for your school (No time limit) the signup link is: https://www.ieducate.ie/signup

Applications must be made by the Principal on behalf of the school and include a Department of Education assigned Roll Number.

ieducate – Zoom For Education, National Project Update

By Catriona Tierney

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With the Covid 19 pandemic forcing millions of us to now work, socialise and learn from home, Zoom meetings have fast become the norm here in Ireland. ieducate has made this transition even easier by becoming the help centre for all schools in Ireland that have signed up for the ieducate.ie ‘Zoom for Education’ Project sponsored by Integrated Media Solutions (IMS) and supported by the Education Supported Centres of Ireland. This has become a crucial resource helping schools nationwide to move to remote virtual learning during the most stressful of times, giving administrators, teachers, and students practical advice and much-needed support when it comes to accessing and using Zoom.


As a company, IMS has always worked hard to make our client’s lives easier by providing the latest technology and user-friendly solutions to help our customers in the Hospitality, Education, and Commercial sectors In Ireland. So when the pandemic struck, we were determined to use this expertise to help the thousands of teachers and parents just like ourselves who face the daily challenge of juggling work and home life whilst educating our primary and secondary school children. IMS realised the best way to help was to offer our knowledge in accelerating and facilitating this new “normal”. We started our journey with our first webinar on April 3, showing teachers and educators the great potential of Zoom in a school setting.

IMS has been a Zoom partner for several years, providing licensing and support to both Corporate and Hospitality clients which gave us the unique position of being one of the “early adopters”. When the pandemic hit we already knew we had the answer to the challenges facing the Education sector and it was Zoom. 

With Zoom now firmly centre stage, the topic of potential security concerns has naturally followed, which is why we have invested a lot of time and effort helping to guide everyone on the best practices when it comes to online safety with Zoom. With this in mind, the ieducate brand and website were officially launched in May and there have been many fantastic online events and webinars since then. DTEN, one of Zoom’s biggest Hardware Manufacturers sponsored a fantastic competition encouraging teachers to share their experiences of using Zoom in the classroom with the chance to win a DTEN screen which is an all-in-one conferencing solution with crystal clear audio and flawless HD video.


With over 17000 teachers now using Zoom to teach their classes IMS, ieducate, and the ESCI also recently hosted a fantastic Webinar Series called “Zoom for Education” featuring panellists and guest speakers who spoke about their experiences of the National Zoom for Education Project in Ireland’. Webinars over the 12 months featured international speakers including renowned Apple teacher and Google educator Sethi de Clercq, Jason Mobley, Higher Education Solutions Lead with Zoom, Doug Remington, GM EMEA DTEN, and Jane Ross, EMEA Education Lead with Zoom, to name but a few. Teachers on the ground have also been sharing their insights on educating during this third lockdown as well as their own handy advice and tips. 

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You can view these webinars on ieducate.ie. We also spoke recently with several teachers & educators to find out their thoughts on Zoom in an education setting.

“Would you believe it, a year ago I hadn’t used Zoom and today we have a staff of 120 who use it on a daily basis…… if you have a question of is Zoom a better product than some of the other products out there the answer is simply yes… students respond so much better to learning on Zoom” Hashmit Parker, Head of IT at Coláiste Dhúlaigh College of Further Education.

Zoom has transformed my teaching…for me, it wasn’t really a case of getting through the lockdown what Zoom has done is actually improve my teaching and the learning experience of my students” Dáithí Ó Géanaí, Secondary School Teacher Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh.

Zoom has really transformed how the Education Support Centres of Ireland deliver CPD to teachers all across the country…. Up until last March our main method of communication was face-to-face… now Zoom has made CPD more accessible to all” – Terry O’Sullivan, Director of Education Centre Tralee.

One of the most common questions we are asked about Zoom is why not just use a Free Account instead of a paid Zoom Education Account? Well, it’s simple really, while there is a free basic version of Zoom, this has a limit of just 40 minutes and it just doesn’t compare to the Educational accounts which have no time limits and offer a host of additional options, features, and controls. Education licenses allow for 300 attendees and also have a separate enhanced GDPR policy that caters to children under the age of 16, the school, and Zoom offering a privacy perspective, unlike the free version.

So the Education account is definitely the way to go and for more details on how to sign up you can log onto https://ieducate.ie/signup/

Applications must be made by the Principal on behalf of the school and include a Department of Education assigned Roll Number.

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Zoom for Education National Project Update Webinar – Feb 3rd 2021

Check out our most recent National Zoom for Education Project Update Webinar held on the 3rd February 2021 – hosted by IMS and ieducate in partnership with ESCI.

Panelists
Hashmit Parker – Head of IT at Colaiste Dhulaigh College of Further Education
Dáithí Ó Géanaí – Secondary School Teacher at Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh
Eibhear O’Dea – Primary School Principal at An Mhodhscoil Limerick.
Donncha O’Treasaigh – Director of Schools at Limerick and Clare ETB.

We were also delighted to be joined by Jane Ross (EMEA Education Lead at Zoom) for the Q&A session of the webinar.