As we look forward to the upcoming school year we have been working to streamline the technology based on your feedback from our emergency remote learning experiences. One area that we wanted to focus on was the video conferencing tool. We heard of a desire for improvements in call quality, considerations for students with internet concerns at home, and quicker meeting recording and sharing.
In investigating improved options, we have found that Google Meet solves many of the above concerns and more. Google Meet utilizes less bandwidth than Zoom so it offers improved call quality by eliminating freezing or call dropping. It will also work to improve the student experience by automatically adjusting the call quality to meet their home networks. The most important feature it offers is improved recording. Teachers can record their meetings and they automatically save to your Google Drive and can be shared with your students from there. This eliminates the need to upload it to YouTube like with Zoom.
While Google Meet does provide these improvements over Zoom, it does have some features that need to be developed more. Google is actively working with K-12 Schools to improve their features and let us know that they are hopeful to have the following features added to their platform by the start of school:
Student Reactions (Raise Hand, Wave, etc.)
Increased Moderator Controls (Prevent Students from joining before teacher, mute all, etc.)
Increase Room Security (Prevent external users, remove attendees)
Based on Google’s commitment to K-12 Schools we are exploring adding it as a software resource for our staff and students to be able to use next school year. We have currently enabled Google Meet for everyone so that you can begin using it now. Please let us know what you think. We are hopeful that it solves many of the issues we saw with Zoom. If we switch to Google Meet, please know that Zoom would still be available until March 2021, so teachers can still use whichever platform they are comfortable with at the beginning of the school year.