Thanks for joining me today for the Semester 2 Ready to Teach Workshop ‘Turbocharging your Zoom sessions for maximum student engagement and retention’.
Here are some resources that may help you boost your own Zoom classes as discussed in today’s session…
How to use PowerPoint as your Zoom background
See this basic starting guide here: https://www.pandemicteaching.com/how-to-use-powerpoint-slides-as-a-zoom-background/
Zoom in its native form does allow you to use slides as your background but it’s clunky and limited in that basic things like sound, transitions, and animations are not supported. If you want to check it out though, see here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360046912351-Sharing-slides-as-a-Virtual-Background
Keep in mind, if you go with the approach in the first link above (using OBS), literally anything you can possibly think to put on your desktop can be your background whether it be your slides (and animations, transitions etc. will work), web browser, Excel spreadsheet, Word document, some other program… there is no limit to the imagination with this approach.
There are several interactive online tools like this, but Mentimeter is my weapon of choice. Mentimeter has various paid packages (inc. discounts for education), however you can also use it for free but with some restrictions. See here https://www.mentimeter.com/
Again, there are paid and free versions of various online whiteboards. The one that I use is called WBO (completely free). See here: https://wbo.ophir.dev/ The whiteboard from the workshop is here: https://wbo.ophir.dev/boards/5dEDH-OEWiqltBWhvEHfNdkZuRpSjVivPJ9Lo4i0n6w-#0,0,0.8
This is excellent for using in things like Zoom breakout rooms, brainstorming activities, and so forth. The advantage it has over the in-built Zoom whiteboard is that it’s easier to use and you don’t need to be logged into Zoom (let alone have a Zoom account) to access it. If you want to share the whiteboard with your students / colleagues abroad, it’s just a matter of giving them the URL. You can also create an unlimited amount of whiteboards for free.
How to turn your phone into a second webcam / document cam
Again, there are many different apps/programs. I use DroidCam by Dev47Apps. This is available in the app stores for Apple and Android users. You also need to install the client program on your computer. There is a paid and free version. You can easily get by with the free one. See here for details: https://www.dev47apps.com/
Here is some info that will help you set-up your own phone as a second webcam / document camera using DroidCam: https://www.pandemicteaching.com/how-to-use-your-phone-as-a-document-camera-or-roving-web
Here’s a very handy (and very cheap) accessory that I use to hold the phone above my desk: https://www.pandemicteaching.com/a-flexible-light-for-lighting-flexibility-and-webcam-or-document-camera/
Cameo – a simple webcam feed for PowerPoint
Cameo is a simple plugin that comes with PowerPoint 365 (the standard PowerPoint version supplied by UQ) and is available for both PC and Mac users. It allows you to integrate a webcam into your PowerPoint slides. It’s simplier to use that the example above using OBS, but you are limited in what you can do. See here for tips on how to set-up and integrate Cameo: https://www.pandemicteaching.com/using-cameo-in-powerpoint/
Virtual pracs and fieldtrips
Sketchfab is an incredible resource for 3D models. The models are very easy to integrate into your lectures, pracs, and virtual fieldtrips. See here for an example of my school’s Sketchfab page: https://sketchfab.com/UQ_SEES
My Maps on Google is another great resource for developing virtual practical experiences. Map files can be viewed in web browswers or in Google Earth. See here for some more information: https://www.google.com.au/maps/about/mymaps/
I hope that the session was helpful and inspires you to also crank Zoom to 11. It’s pretty straightforward software, so don’t be afraid to try something different and make your own online classes super unique and engaging.
Feel free to reach-out if you need anything.
All the best, Gilbert