At a time when literally the whole world is keeping its distance friends and peers alike have found new and unique ways to help bring us closer together than ever before. In a past article I discussed the importance of using social media like YouTube and Facebook to visit and catch up with one another. I even talked about the phone for those who don’t have access to technology. In this article I am going to look into the important role video chat servers play in helping us stay connected and also in helping provide classes, learning and gathering.
There are a lot of video chat services out there. There is Life Size, Messenger and even Instagram! The one that I am going to talk about in this article is called Zoom. So what is Zoom? How do you use its many features? How do you get a zoom chat started? Most importantly how do you use this tool to help you teach your classes? All these questions and more I am hoping to have room to address.
Zoom was invented by a Chinese billionaire named Eric Yuan. In 2011 Yuan came across many people who were not very happy with the video conferencing services that were available. He wanted to change that and create a service that was enjoyable and easy to use. He was not only creating another way to communicate but also the future of how companies from around the world can get together.
Zoom has a lot of interesting features including a chat feature that lets you text directly to the host! You can also see up to 4 separate viewers at a time! There can be a total of 100 people who can join in a Zoom meeting and most meetings last for 40 minutes (free version) or you can get your own Zoom license and have meetings (or classes) that go on a lot longer. There is the ability for the host to share content on everyone’s screens at once. The host is also able to mute/unmute participants so that you don’t get swamped by everyone talking at once! It has proven to be a useful tool to help bring the services of day programs to the very people they serve!
So first you need a phone/computer other device that lets you video chat. Next you need to download the app. You than need a host who will start the meeting and provide a special password for you to join in. Just go at the assigned time, enter the password and you are good to go!
That brings me to my recent use for Zoom as a tool for day programs to provide learning and social opportunities for those they serve! On Monday June 8th, 7th Street Centre for the Arts launched their first zoom class! We hosted a Wheel of Fortune game show! We had a lot of collaboration from everyone involved in guessing the letters! Even more exciting was the chance to see everyone once again and to talk with one another! At the very end of our time together we did just that, have a social hour for a chance to catch up with one another.
ARC of Butte County is also looking into offering classes and instruction through Zoom. There will be a variety of offerings including Spanish, Cooking and Arts and Crafts!
Besides being a great teaching tool I have used Zoom for other useful tasks as well including being able to view a friend’s funeral service, be entertained by an entire choir at my cousin’s graduation and to be able to attend my People First chapter and Officer meetings!
The future way of communicating and staying connected is here! From choir to drawing, arts and crafts, dancing, cooking, virtual bingo and so much more what will you be using Zoom for next? The possibilities are endless!