During the past couple of classes, my 5th graders have been teleconferencing with a drone “handler,” Mr. Moore, we are working with for an upcoming field trip. Last week, the students got to talk to Mr. Moore and one of our Mitchell Lake guides to finalize some of the details for the trip. For both conferences, we used Zoom, a free teleconferencing product that works on pretty much any device.
We have previously used Skype and Google Hangouts for teleconferencing in our class. There are advantages to all three, but I have to say that Zoom has seemed the easiest to get up and running. This could be because I’ve already used the other two, so I’m getting used to way teleconferencing works. It could also be because Mr. Moore set up both conferences with Zoom, so all I had to do was click on a link and launch the application 🙂
Multiple people can be on screen during a Zoom teleconference. You can also share your computer screen with the participants, which was a nice feature as Mr. Moore jumped back and forth between the drone software and showing us the actual drone and its batteries. There is a whiteboard where participants can collaborate, and you are able to record your conference. Unable to get to a computer for our second conference, Mr. Moore was able to join us using his smart phone.
If you are already happy with your teleconference product, and it has all of the above, then you probably don’t need to change. However, Zoom might be a nice option for beginners or people who are having problems with some of the other choices they are using.