Website review by Common Sense Editor, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2021

Zoom

Videoconferencing juggernaut is reliable, flexible

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Grades
3–12
Subjects & Skills
Communication & Collaboration

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Pros: Reliable performance. Screen-share and record easily.

Cons: Facilitating complex events can be challenging/awkward.

Bottom Line: This is a better option than some key competitors, but while it's easy to get going, it requires some exploration and practice to use well.

Zoom is one of the more reliable options for teachers to host videoconferences -- whether with students, families, or colleagues and administrators. Its uses for conferencing and teaching are pretty clear: chatting by video and text and sharing screens. However, there are more layers to Zoom that would be worth checking out. For example, it's also a great, convenient tool for screen recording. Just fire up a meeting (where you're the only attendee!) and record it. Share your screen during the recording to walk students through a tool or teach a concept. 

We all know that video-based teaching, especially in distance/virtual/remote classrooms or workplaces, can be exhausting. Zoom has some features you can use to mix things up and keep people engaged, though. Try out the breakout rooms feature to split people off into smaller groups for pair and share-style activities. Use the polling feature to give students choice over a lesson. Also, make sure to check out the expanding library of apps and integrations Zoom offers. These apps greatly expand the possibilities and might match up with tools you and your students are already familiar with.

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Overall Rating

Engagement

While the design is effective, it's got a ways to go before students see Zoom as a compelling place to learn. 

Pedagogy

Makes it easy for teachers to facilitate live instruction or record their screens. Features like breakout rooms or polls allow for some variety.

Support

There are robust support FAQs to help problem solve. Offers real-time transcriptions; although, they're not ideal. Teachers can set up permissions for rooms and moderate, but it requires some practice.


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