With the introduction of online schools across the globe, many students and teachers have had to learn the ropes of online conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet.
In a survey through Instagram, roughly 80% of the GHS students that participated noted they prefer Zoom over Google Meet, many saying, “Google Meet is laggy and glitchy,” or they've “just become used to Zoom because most classes use it.”
Some students even felt like the district should conduct all classes over Zoom saying it would make distance learning slightly easier. However, not all would agree that Zoom is a superior platform.
According to GHS art teacher, Chris Burgan, “Because our district is a Google based district and Google Meet is native to the Google platform, it’s just one less thing to have students engage with.”
With Google Meet, the host does not have to shift between the meeting and the waiting room and all names are recognizable because of students’ Gmail profiles. This comes in handy for teachers as they can automatically identify their students, take attendance faster, and spend more time teaching their class and less time tampering with their pages.
Although Google Meet offers perks such as easy access to other Google services and a feedback survey at the end of a meeting, I would have to cast my vote for Zoom. Not only did Google Meet keep me from entering one of my classes for the first 30 minutes, but like many other GHS students, I have become used to Zoom as most of my classes are conducted through it.
Just like any other online platform, however, Zoom experiences audio and video glitches as well. Orchestra teacher and Zoom user, Michael Nelson, has a few tips and tricks that might help.
“ The biggest tip is to turn on the original sound,” said Nelson, referring to the audio glitches. “A lot of times the gargled sound that we’re getting when you guys are talking is [because] we’re not using the original sound and the computer is actually trying to cut out background noise.”
According to the Zoom help center, to turn on your original sound on a desktop, sign in to the Zoom desktop client, click Settings, choose the Audio tab, click Advanced, and check Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone. Then, simply activate the original sound with the tab that appears during every Zoom session. For more on Original Sound, visit the Zoom Help Center.
Nelson’s next tip is not something you might expect to help you at first, but it’s his easiest trick whether on Zoom or Google Meet.
“It’s not natural for us to be this close. I’m really close to you right now even though [physically] I’m not, because I’m right up against my camera,” Nelson says gesturing to the distance between his face and his screen.
Nelson suggests backing up from the camera, but still staying within camera view, as it might help maintain a sense of normality and ease anxiousness.
He explains further saying, “We would never sit this close and talk, ever. It would be very weird if I was a foot away from you talking to you. You would be nervous, and you would be anxious.”
Final tip - whether you chose to side with Google Meet or Zoom - don’t forget to take a break from the crazy online platforms we’ve been adjusting to.