In this blog, I’m not going to go over how to use the basics in zoom too much since it’s really intuitive to use. I will mention some features that zoom has that you may be unaware of. I am also going to talk about the pricing plans, since you will most likely need a paid account.
In my last blog I mentioned using YouTube Live to stream your classes, due to its advantage that it can easily be put on the TV. However, it has one major drawback that may be a deal killer for a lot of you. You won’t be able to easily see your students and help correct their techniques. That’s why a lot of martial arts schools are actually using Zoom. It all really depends on what your preferences are and your teaching style, as well as your class size. Either way, going online is a must-do right now. So, how can you effectively use zoom to run your classes?
First, if you are going to have a class over forty minutes in length, you are going to need a paid zoom account. Since you will be using this a lot, getting a paid account will be worth it. You can get a paid account, the pro account, for $14.99 a month. This also gives you a personal meeting ID that can be reused every time.
If you have multiple instructors, you are going to want to get a pro account for each instructor (Unless you want to share the same account and password with all instructors), since your instructors will have to teach from their homes. Depending on how many instructors you have, this could get a little pricy, so make sure you have enough students that will participate. This is one area where YouTube live has an advantage, in that YouTube live can be streamed for free for however long you need.
If you want to spend a little bit more per instructor, at $20 a month, you can get added features such as your own customizable URL. That means you can have a url for the meeting that has your company name in it, with it’s own landing page, etc. This may be a little more than you need, especially if this lockdown only lasts two to three months. So I’d stick with the pro plan for now, and see how this pandemic plays out. But just know this is an option.
Zoom itself is simple to use, so as mentioned I’m not going to go over it too much. Just make sure that your microphone is not muted and that your video is on. You will see icons on the bottom left of the screen for a microphone and a camera. If they are off, there will be a line drawn over them. So make sure they are on. To invite your students into the zoom room, you will need to give them your zoom ID or a link to your room. If you have the pro account, this can be the same ID/link every time.
When you have multiple students in the room, it will place their video on the top in a small thumbnail and it will show the active speaker in the large video underneath. The active speaker mode will basically toggle between who is actually speaking. So whoever speaks gets the bigger picture. There is another type of view that you can use called gallery view. What gallery view will do is it will show all videos equally, so that for example if you have four students in the room, you will see a screen that is split into four videos, with each student taking a quarter of the screen. If you have more students, each video will be smaller, but it will still display as a gallery. Only you will see this gallery view, so your other students will not see this.
This mode is very useful if you have just instructed students on a particular technique, and you want to watch all of them at once so that you can scan them and see how they are doing. You can get to this view from active speaker view by clicking gallery view in the top right of the screen. You can get to gallery view by clicking on the multiple squares in the top right corner. When you hover over it, it will say “gallery view”.
There is also one more option you have that may be useful to you, and that is called spotlight video. This is good for the times when you want one of your students to show the technique they have been working on to the rest of the class. It will allow you to enlarge their video for everyone, so that all participants can see them.
To do this, hover over the video you want to spotlight, and select the three dots. From the drop down menu, select spotlight video. Then you can let your student do the technique for the whole class. When they are finished, you can go to the top left of the screen and select cancel the spotlight video. This will bring you back to whatever view you were in.
Zoom is a good alternative to YouTube Live, and it is highly recommended. For the benefits you see, it may be the best option for you and your classes. Don’t let this pandemic get you down, you can adapt!