“We see Zoom as a platform to enable four distinct areas,” explains Director of ICT, Mark Pleasance.
“These are: bringing students and staff into the classroom when they can’t physically be there; access to external experts; enabling remote meetings and interviews; and making our resources available to others.”
After comparing a number of videoconferencing services, Sacred Heart has been using Zoom since 2017.
Mark noted that one of the reasons the College chose Zoom was because of the Zoom Rooms feature, a software platform that allows the College to adapt any of its rooms into videoconferencing spaces.
He also found that Zoom enabled a level of control that provided a better experience for Sacred Heart users, who were able to access the service using their existing email address and password.
“Setting up a single sign on was one example,” Mark said. “There is no need to provision accounts or manage passwords as they automatically integrate, giving users more control and simplicity.”
Speed and reliability were further advantages. Sacred Heart has a diverse 1G fibre optic connection to the AARNet network, where Zoom is hosted for AARNet customers. Mark explained that because it’s an AARNet-hosted service, Zoom provides a fast, reliable package.
Sacred Heart also uses Zoom’s Learning Management System (LMS) integration to simplify videoconferencing for groups. It takes just 15 minutes to set up and allows easy-to-initiate video conferencing sessions that are ideal for classes.
“Teachers can create a video conference session in one click, automatically including all members of the course, with no need to invite people using email or other methods. This helps significantly with the uptake of Zoom.”
As well as easy videoconferencing for groups, Zoom helps the College engage with students off-campus; its own, as well as those from other schools.
Sacred Heart shares classes with other local schools, and Zoom allows the College, where the teaching program allows, to provide remote access. This significantly reduces travel time for students and maximizes learning.
Zoom is also used as a platform for students who may not be able to attend school during the day, for example due to illness, helping them keep up with lessons.
Remote access to experts and resources in metropolitan hubs is a major advantage of good quality videoconferencing. At Sacred Heart, Zoom helps bring students and staff face-to-face with external experts who would otherwise need to travel to Geelong.
“One example is our Language Learning Area, which uses Zoom regularly to collaborate with a language professor in Melbourne. This has enabled more face-to-face time due to zero travel costs or time.”
Sacred Heart is even using Zoom to engage parents and the wider community by bringing events at the College to the outside world.
Recently, the school used Zoom’s Facebook Live streaming connector to broadcast a parents’ night to those who were unable to attend.
“One parent commented online during the Facebook live stream that he was watching on the train on the way home from work and appreciated the opportunity to be involved,” Mark said.
“We are now considering how we can further develop this idea and improve our communications with parents and the Sacred Heart community.”
Find out more about Zoom.