Zoom has become the number one to meet with people online. A free account gives you access to enough features to host meetings, book clubs, and game nights with friends. If you’ve used the app, then you know the basics that Zoom offers: audio-only calls, video and audio meetings, messaging via text in the chat. But the app provides a lot more than that, as long as you know how to use it. If you have a paid or educator account, you have access to even more perks.
Learn about some of the best Zoom features and how to use them to your advantage.
One of the best Zoom features for teachers is the ability to schedule meetings. If you have regular classes, you don’t have to create each meeting individually. You can set up your morning class and click “Recurring meeting” so it will schedule every day, week, or month.
When you use this option, it applies all of your initial settings to the recurring meetings. That means you don’t have to waste time setting up a password and waiting room for each separate session. It also links the same URL to join, so your participants can access the meeting even from older email notifications.
You can see a list of all upcoming Zoom sessions in your Meetings tab. It gives you the date, time, topic, and meeting ID. You can even join the session from your Zoom home screen.
Scheduling meetings in Zoom links to your calendar of choice. This allows you to get notifications and reminders on your phone or email. Participants can also add the meeting to their calendar when they accept your invitation.
There were security issues when everyone was working from home and attending classes online. It led to the Zoom founder initiating mandatory passwords for Zoom meetings. Participants have to type in the password before they can access Zoom.
The password is in email invitations, right under the meeting ID. Even if you click on the email link to access the meeting, you have to enter the correct password to participate.
When you enable Waiting Rooms, you’re adding an extra layer of security to your Zoom meeting. With Zoom bombings getting tons of views on YouTube, you don’t want your class to end up there! These features are one of the best zoom features for teachers.
You can see who’s in the Waiting Room in the same column as your Participants. This lets you screen the users and let them in one by one or as a group.
Click the Security button, which looks like a shield, to set permissions for all your meeting participants. You can give people the chance to:
-chat via text
-share their screens
Many facilitators like to leave these locked when they start so participants aren’t distracted. You can change any or all of these settings during the meeting.
Some of the best Zoom features for students let them interact with the meeting. Instead of sitting back and watching the meeting as if it were a webinar, you can allow them to raise their hands to get your attention.
You can also create polls that pop up in the Zoom window so you can get feedback during the meeting. There’s even a whiteboard option within the “Share Screen” tab. Participants can brainstorm with you using this tool.
Breakout rooms are perfect for classroom settings. You can start a Zoom including the whole class, and then assign each student to set breakout rooms. This gives them a chance to discuss the topic or work on a group project during class time.
As the facilitator, you can pop into each breakout room to make sure everyone is staying on topic. Students will love that they don’t have to schedule meetings to tackle group projects.
You can record any meeting you host on Zoom. The file will save to your computer, and then you can share it with anyone who missed the session. You can email the file or link your Google Drive, Dropbox, or online class platform.
If you have a paid Zoom account then you don’t have to manually record your meetings. Recordings are always enabled and saved to the cloud. Storage space in the cloud depends on your account level:
Pro accounts have 1 gigabyte of storage
Business accounts have 1 gigabyte of storage
Education accounts have 500 megabytes of storage
Closed Captions and Transcriptions
To ensure your meetings are accessible for everyone, you should turn on closed captions. This shows the audio written as text at the bottom of the Zoom window. If you forget to enable captions during the live meeting, you can generate captions to the recording that you save.
When you enable closed captions, you’ll also get a transcript at the end of the meeting. You can edit this file to correct misheard words, punctuation, or grammar before sending it to participants. The transcripts have timestamps so you can access the right moment in the video recording and match it with the written text.
Though it’s not exactly a transcript, you can save the text from the meeting’s chat as well. If you’ve asked participants to share their thoughts via text, this is a good way to save their notes to look back on as needed.
After learning about all the important features Zoom offers, you deserve a little fun. Virtual backgrounds are a way to hide the mess of the house behind you. You can choose from Zoom’s offerings or upload a custom image.
This is in the Settings tab and works best if you have a green screen or solid wall behind you. But if you’re well-lit, then your virtual background will probably show up with no problem.
If your participants are playing too much with virtual backgrounds, you can disable them in your settings.