It’s strange to think that almost nobody had heard of Zoom this time last year. Now, it’s made it into the OED.
Remote tech has kept us all connected and (dare we say it?) sane during the long months of lockdown. Zoom led the way; facilitating meetings, family catch-ups, friendships, digital house parties, birthdays, and even teaching.
However, our lockdown experiences of remote tech have revealed limitations, as well as possibilities.
Is Zoom really up to full-scale online education? Or would educators be better off choosing a designated teaching platform?
Is Zoom helpful for live teaching?
Zoom is at its best with instant video communication. Delivering live lessons via Zoom is, honestly, pretty smooth. Assuming that everyone knows where the ‘mute’ and ‘mic’ buttons are, a teacher can easily do their thing over Zoom.
The thing is - teaching is about a lot more than just standing in front of a class and explaining things. Zoom is fab for the 'live talking' element of teaching - but what about the rest?
Is Zoom suitable in supporting students?
This is the point at which Zoom starts to lose ground against purpose-built teaching platforms like Kinteract.
Zoom has plenty of features which bring it ahead of other video-conferencing brands. For example, you can annotate and provide notes as you talk. This can be very helpful for students. You can also record calls and share screens.
However, to give students the kind of ongoing help that they need, you need more than just annotation and recording tools. You need to be able to track student progress over time. You need behaviour management methods. You need to have resource libraries, and systems of communication which go beyond simple video-calling.
What’s a good alternative to Zoom for online teaching?
A good online teaching platform needs these features:
- Live teaching. Students are more engaged when they can see their teacher in real-time. This works the other way, too - teachers get a feel for their students’ personalities and learning styles when they’re interacting in real-time.
- Scheduling. Teaching involves a lot of planning. Software which helps educators to schedule lessons and activities days, weeks, and terms in advance is very useful.
- Progress tracking. Tracking student progress is vital for teachers. Tools which help to collect and analyse achievements, milestones, and even problems can make a huge difference to education. A great progress tracker will work continuously in the background. By logging into the trackers, educators and stakeholders will be able to spot, highlight or tackle patterns in student progress. This helps them to pinpoint exactly where students are flourishing, and where they need some extra help and encouragement.
- The ability to record and integrate observations. Good teaching software needs to be agile enough for teachers to record observations in as much detail as they need. Ideally, these should integrate easily with things like progress trackers and reporting tools.
- Content features. Online teaching opens up a world of potential where educational resources are concerned. A good online learning platform needs places where resources can be uploaded and/or linked to for the benefit of students. It should also allow students to share their own work.
- Reporting. Often reporting ties in with progress trackers and observations, but it’s still worth mentioning in its own right. Teachers, students, and other stakeholders should be able to gather insights at a glance from reporting dashboards.
- Language translation. Native translation abilities make all kinds of resources accessible for students. It also enables students to learn wherever they are in the world, and whatever their first language may be.
- Intelligent recommendations. If AI can tell us what Netflix show to watch next, why shouldn’t it help out with learning, as well? It is more than possible for modern teaching software to recommend new resources, tasks, and even teaching approaches based on student progress and preferences.
- A social element. The social element of learning is very important - especially at primary and secondary level. While there’s no perfect substitute for face-to-face interaction, it is possible for online services to facilitate things like class discussion and community-building. Ideally, social feeds should be monitored to prevent cyberbullying.
- Data security. One problem that the Zoom has struggled to eradicate is security. Zoom meetings have been ‘Zoombombed’ regularly throughout the pandemic. When it comes to something as sensitive as student data, you can’t be too careful. Any good online learning platform should prioritise data security.
That’s a lot, let’s be honest. What online education platform can do all of these things?
And then, there’s Kinteract...
Zoom is better than most video conferencing platforms for online teaching. It goes that extra mile to help students and teachers make the most of live lessons.
However, it can’t provide everything else that educators need to thrive. It can’t do the admin, the reporting, the recording. It doesn’t have a monitored social feed, or dedicated resource libraries. It can’t translate, or integrate observations. And data security remains an issue.
Kinteract, on the other hand, can do all of this and more, as the most comprehensive educational platform out there. It has a huge selection of features - all accessed through intuitive dashboards.
Kinteract aims to provide a totally holistic educational service. Everything that teachers and students need can be found in the platform features. Kinteract isn’t just about teaching classes - it’s about providing a full educational experience.
To find out more about Kinteract and what it can do, book a demo today.