Some people have been inoculated against the real benefits of short, structured interactive Zoom meetings by the overuse socially of Zoom during the lockdowns and the underuse of some of the features useful in knowledge sharing.

ELF20 was our first experience of hosting on the above platform. We explored different ways of humanising the Zoom experience by using pre-session Zoom tips and video clips to ease people into the Zoom experience if they were newbies.

We also made good use of the Zoom small group breakout rooms and there was very positive feedback on the quality of the small group conversations, the relationships formed and in some cases the ongoing interactions of participants who had met and conversed in breakout groups.

Virtual v In-Person Meetings
“…. you have done such a fabulous job)… … I was really impressed with the functionality and the way you managed to put us into breakout spaces and the seamless integration of speakers and their Powerpoint presentations”. Gabrielle Carroll, NZ Police-Virtual ELF20 participant

In-person close contact live meetings may be the ultimate for meetings and conferences, but whether during the socially distancing constraints of Covid lockdowns or just to overcome the physical barriers and costs of travel and accommodation, the interactive Zoom Meeting platform has many compensating advantages.

Zoom Benefits
*Share knowledge safely in the still uncertain Covid environment
*ELF21 comes to registrants devices via the free Zoom Meetings app
*Lower registration fees and no travel, accommodation or reliever costs
*Register several colleagues and build momentum for new initiatives
*Spaced, digestible series of 4X 90 minute weekly sessions
*Zoom breakout rooms enable small group conversations and networking
*Post-session digital resources, eg videos and Slideshares reinforce key messages

Registration Options

Knowledge and Resource Sharing
ELF has always placed an emphasis on providing useful digital resources for ELF participants to share with their colleagues in their own learning communities. The built-in video recording options of Zoom Meetings simplifies this. The screen sharing options allow a range of other resources to be sampled.

Above all Zoom takes ELF to where registrants are, via an easy to use, freely available interface. Online spaced live short sessions, with videos of presentations available thereafter for those who missed them or for reinforcement or sharing with other colleagues, make sessions and replicable resources more accessible and cost and time economical.

Many online education events have recently been run in the same time spans as previous in-person events. This makes no sense educationally when there are widely used alternatives to replace a feast followed by a famine approach with a digestible spaced diet of food for thought and action.

Being Zoom Enabled
ELF21 registrants will range from Zoom veterans to newbies. For the latter the Zoom app is very intuitive and new users soon work out how to get the most from the various functions by clicking on New Meeting and having a solo run.  (NB See below: Useful Zoom Weblinks and User Training Videos).

 First time Zoom user?

  • ELF21 Registrants need only subscribe to the free Basic version.
  • First step is to download the Zoom App onto your PC/MAC/Laptop or Smartphone from https://zoom.us/signup.
    (Use the biggest screen and best sound system available for the best Zoom experience. Consider using a headset).How to Join A Zoom Meeting for the First Time (Zoom: The Basics) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbbYqiurgeo

 Previous Zoom user?

  • Check that you have upgraded to Zoom  (free) v 5.0. Because of Zoom’s popularity during the Covid crisis there have been significant security and other updates over the last few months.Passwords/ Passcodes and Waiting Rooms are now turned on by default.
  • If you have an account and are still on a pre-5.0 version, you’ll be prompted to update before you can join.
  • You do not need a Zoom account to join a meeting if invited or, in, the case of ELF20, registered. Even on Zoom 5.0 or later, any ELF20 Registrant can join a Zoom meeting without a Zoom account.
    NB However, downloading the free app onto your chosen device (with the biggest screen and the best sound system you can access- headsets help) is strongly recommended because it gives you much more Zoom functionality.

 Zoom Protocols and Tips

  • Use the sound and mic check procedure via the Waiting Room prompt or via the arrow/menu next to the Mute button. Consider using a headset to improve sound quality.
  • Ensure your VidCam is on when joining meetings.
  • NB Always Mute your mic when joining a meeting to prevent sharing extraneous noises. Depress the Task Bar to Unmute when you want to speak.
  • Settings Check and change any settings if necessary via the Settings menu at the top right of the Zoom app homepage.
  • Before you join a Zoom meeting experiment with the settings and toolbar functions.

 General Tips and Good Etiquette for Zoom Meetings

-Before Zoom Meetings
1.   Background and lighting
Use natural lighting where possible but make sure it is coming from in front of you, not behind! If you have to use artificial lighting, make sure it is in front of you and above. Avoid strong lighting from behind.

  1. Eye Level Set Up We are used to seeing things at ‘eye level‘. Therefore find something to sit your device on that raises it up and places your camera so that you appear at ‘eye level‘. It can be very disturbing looking at double chins / up nostrils, or up at ceilings, etc.  It only takes a minor change for things to look more natural and professional.
  2. Background Check your background. Make sure there is nothing behind you that is going to distract. Virtual backdrops are fun for social Zoom meetings. They are not really appropriate for meetings like ELF20.

 –During Zoom Meetings

  1. Muting If Zoom detects ANY noise at all, it makes YOU the Active Speaker. So while someone else is speaking, etc, if you move your device slightly, cough, sneeze, comment to someone else in your room, make ANY sort of sound, YOU become the Active Speaker, even for a second.This leads to broken and disjointed sound for ALL participants. So as soon as you join a meeting, PLEASE ensure  your microphone is muted so your extraneous sound is not disturbing others.
  2. Speaking When you want to speak, you can press the Spacebar on a laptop to enable the microphone or quickly unmute your iPad or Smartphone.
  3. Screen View Think about using Gallery View so you can see what others are up to.
  4. Speaking Request This also means you can raise your ‘virtual‘ hand (by clicking on the appropriate button under the More menu) to tell the Host you want to speak. You can also use the Chat button to pose questions.

 Useful Zoom Weblinks and User Training Videos


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