teach English online using Zoom

A Review of Zoom.us for Teaching Online Lessons and How to Create AMAZING Lessons (2020)

(Updated for 2020.)

I’ve been using Zoom (affiliate link) since 2014 when I started teaching group lessons.

I have noticed that more online teachers are using this software to deliver their lessons and to connect with anyone remotely.

In the videos below, I talk about the different features that you can use with Zoom (including one that works like a whiteboard). I also go through my recommend equipment to make your lessons sound and look better.

Video Summary

First, click here are my recommendations for audio, lighting, and video.

The dashboard for Zoom is really simple and easy to use. Here is what you can do:

  • Start a lesson with or without your video (you can turn your video on and off during the lesson/meeting)
  • Schedule a meeting
  • Join a meeting

When you schedule a meeting, you can choose to make it recurring. This is a great option to have for learners who take lessons at a set time each week.

You will receive a meeting ID and a link when you schedule a lesson, and this can be shared with your student(s). Additionally, you can automatically add it to your online calendar.

If you use something like Calendly, you can automatically set up meetings when someone books a lesson with you. Here’s a video on that.

Your learner will need to download Zoom to be able to connect with you.

Settings

There are many settings inside Zoom; the vast majority are similar to other video conferencing software (like audio, video etc.).

The recording feature is something I highlighted in the video. You are able to record your lessons automatically to a specified folder.

It also saves an audio file too if that’s something you want to use.

The Class Experience

Here is what you can do during your lesson with Zoom:

  • Chat
  • Use video
  • Share your screen
  • Use annotations while you’re sharing your screen or use the whiteboard
  • Share your computer audio; this is a great feature when playing a video

Zoom is free to use for most uses. The only reason to upgrade is if you are taking group lessons that last over 40 minutes and/or you want to use it for a webinar.

Reasons to Use Zoom

There are many advantages to using Zoom:

  • The quality of the call is much better compared to other video conferencing software
  • The annotations for screen sharing is very useful
  • It is lightweight with no real problems/bugs
  • You can create recurring meetings and use the same link for your learners

The one drawback is that it isn’t well known. This means that you will have to educate your learners on how to use it, and they will have to download the application first.

But this can be easily done through a one page PDF or quick video that you can give your learners with instructions on what to do.

Recommended Equipment for Better Lessons

Think about three things here:

  1. Audio
  2. Lighting
  3. Video quality

These are in the list of importance. Good audio is the most important thing. Lighting is second. Then, video quality.

I recommend getting a good external microphone. It makes all the difference for the person/people on the other end.

Next up is lighting. Controlling your lighting is key. We don’t need to break the bank here (my recommendations are below).

And finally, video quality is important too. Your internal webcam might be okay, but you might want to consider getting an external camera.

See all my recommendations here (budget options too!).

Try Zoom here (affiliate link).

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