“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.” - Pablo Picasso
New technology has changed our everyday lives, but they can serve only to alienate us. However, when used correctly, they can be powerful tools to reconnect us with our fellow humans.
In 2020, Zoom was the most downloaded app ahead of TikTok, Disney+, YouTube, and even Instagram.
Ready to give it a go?
How Much Does Zoom Cost?
Originally developed in 2011, Zoom found success in 2020. The app can be used to chat with friends, host work meetings, attend online classes, etc.
It can be used on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android, and during the pandemic, it quickly became the preferred app over Skype.
The app is used a lot for online tutorials. However, there are a few things you should know about Zoom. While there is a free version, you’ll have to pay to get all of the features from the app.
With the free version, you get a limited number of meetings with a limited number of participants. The group meetings themselves are limited to 40 minutes.
For a meeting in a large group, you’ll want to get Zoom Professional. This costs $14.99 (£11.99) a month for meetings up to 100 people with a 30-hour limit and Cloud Recording.
The Business version of Zoom allows you to have a personalised Zoom URL and host meetings up to 300 participants. This might be useful if you’re going to regularly use Zoom regularly or with large groups.
The Zoom United Business is probably beyond what most private tutors will need. It’s generally for businesses with 100 staff members.
In addition to your Zoom subscription, you can also sign up to Zoom Rooms. This service costs £39 a month per room and allows you to organise meetings on SIP or H.323 conference room systems.
If you don’t often teach online tutorials, you probably won’t need to pay for Zoom. However, if you are doing a lot of online tutoring, you might want to look at the premium features.
What Are Zoom’s Features?
Audio and video calls are Zoom’s main functions, but Zoom can do more than that. A subscription to Zoom will give you access to:
- File-sharing and text chat.
- Screen sharing.
- Multi-user digital whiteboards.
- Session recording.
- Videoconference transcription.
- Virtual backgrounds.
- Browser use.
The transcription of your classes can be very useful. Once the class or video call is finished, the app will offer to save your call as well as a transcription.
This can be useful for both the tutor and the student as the tutor can go back over the class and edit certain parts to improve the structure for the next time they teach the topic. The student, on the other hand, can use the transcription to study or go back over parts they weren’t so sure about.
You can also use the virtual background instead of what’s actually behind you., which is a good way to hide any distractions behind you.
Add Zoom extensions to your browser to quickly access meetings. All you have to do is click on the icon and you can join the right meeting.
Make sure to think carefully about which features and functions you’ll use before you sign up for a subscription.
How Can You Use Zoom for Online Tutorials
Firstly, you’ll need to download the Zoom app. On your computer, you can do this from Zoom’s website and the download link. If you want to install Zoom on your smartphone, you can do so via Google Play or the App Store.
Once you’ve downloaded it, you’ll need to create an account. You can decide at this point whether you want a free account or a premium account.
Now you can start a meeting. To do this, you can click on the “New Meeting” button and then alter the settings and schedule the meeting. You just need to copy the meeting link and share it with the invitees. You can also start the meeting there and then.
You can also set up a password for participants to use when joining. If this is the case, the participant will need to ask the host for it. For online tutorials, this will be the tutor.
To use Zoom during your online tutorials, here are some useful shortcuts.
- Alt+M (Cmd+M on Mac): Mute and unmute all participants.
- Alt+V: Turn the video on/off.
- Alt+S: Start or stop sharing your screen.
- Alt+R: Start or stop local recording.
- Alt+F: Fullscreen on/off.
- Alt+Q: End the meeting.
- Alt+L: Swap between portrait and landscape.
- Alt+Shift+T: Screenshot.
Don’t hesitate to use two windows or screens for your online tutorials. Zoom allows you to split the call into two windows: one for the participants and another for a shared screen or interactive whiteboard.
If you’re teaching a group class, consider muting your mic when you’re not talking. This will help avoid background noises.
Finally, think about using virtual backgrounds to hide what’s going on behind you. You can use the mountains, the countryside, or something that matches the mood.
Isn’t it amazing?
What Are the Advantages of Zoom for Online Tutorials?
Before you start using Zoom, you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons, especially when it comes to using it for online tutorials.
There are a lot of advantages to using Zoom for online tutorials. Firstly, the app is simple and easy to use and connects quite quickly unlike Skype, which can take a while to connect and add contacts, Zoom is quick and effective. You just need to follow the Zoom link and you’re done. Furthermore, the app allows you to connect with several participants at once.
Zoom also allows you to organise your lessons and meetings ahead of time using a calendar. You can use Google Calendars if you have a Google account.
Once you’ve started the session, you can share your screen and also record the session to go back over it later. Then there’s the Zoom interactive whiteboard.
Generally, Zoom has a good number of tools you can use for online tutorials.
That said, there are a few downsides to Zoom.
Firstly, online tutorials can’t fully replace face-to-face tutorials. The lessons tend to be less engaging and the student is often left to their own devices.
As for Zoom, there are some minor security concerns. Some people may join the meeting without being invited, but you can reduce this risk with password-protected meetings.
There’s also the cost to consider as a lot of the features are limited or unavailable for free accounts. In the event you plan to regularly teach online tutorials, you’ll want to opt for one of the premium subscriptions.
Have a look at the functionality provided with each type of subscription before paying for them. Nothing is stopping you from starting with a free account and going from there.
If you're interested in learning with private tutoring, check out the profiles of the qualified and experienced tutors on Superprof. There are thousands of tutors in the UK and around the world ready to teach you a variety of different skills and subjects.
There are three main ways to get private tutorials: face-to-face, online, or in a group. Each way of learning comes with its pros and cons and it's up to you to choose which type and which tutor works for you.
Face-to-face tutorials are usually the most expensive but that's because you get tailored lessons and a lot of the tutors will travel to you. You'll be the only student in the class and can learn what you want, how you want. Of course, with the pandemic, these types of tutorials have become less feasible and with the ever-changing restrictions, you mightn't want to start face-to-face lessons just to have them cancelled the next week.
As we mentioned, online tutorials have saved the day for many tutors and students and since the tutor isn't there in the room with you and doesn't have to travel to all their other lessons, they're cheaper than face-to-face tutorials and completely COVID-safe. Of course, while these tutorials can be just as effective as face-to-face for academic subjects, they aren't often as effective when it comes to hands-on subjects and skills.
Finally, group tutorials are usually the cheapest option available and are great for those on a budget. However, much like the face-to-face tutorials, group tutorials aren't recommended during the global pandemic and are almost impossible to organise given the various restrictions and lockdowns.
Don't forget that many of the tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson for free. While these won't be a typical lesson, they are an excellent opportunity to chat to the tutor, ask them about how they like to teach and how they can help, and discuss their availability, cost, etc. It's also a great opportunity to see if you get on well with them as it's much easier to learn with a tutor that you like or have a good rapport with.