Best Practices for Classroom Video Conferencing

Rebecca KeelingVirtual Learning

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*Links below are specific to WWCSD and only available to those with district accounts*

With school moving to a remote learning environment, many if not most or all teachers have been using video communications with their students.  This type of communication for education is new for the vast majority of teachers, students, and families.  As we have all gained more experience with using this form of communication, we have naturally learned a number of Do’s and Don’ts.  The most important being in regards to security and safety. Here are some best practices to follow while having video meetings with students.

Do:
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Our district currently is using Google Meet only with students. (Click the icon to learn more about Google Meet)

  • Set Video Conference Expectations (View Sample Student Expectations)
    • All participants should be in a common area of the home (be aware of your surroundings)
    • Regular classroom behavior expectations should apply
    • Students should start muted and only unmute when speaking
  • Be aware of Video Conferencing Limitations (both you and students)
    • Videos use a lot of bandwidth. The more conferences happening in a given place (ie working from home, multiple students, etc) can cause lag and delays
    • The larger the group is, the more likely you are to have video and audio issues, based on internet speeds.
  • Record lessons (possibly in “chunks” for easier searching) for students to watch on their own time (or reference later.) Use “live meetings” for check-ins and discussion (See below)
  • Remember that teachers are mandatory reporters – protect yourself and your students. Have a second adult in the meeting with you, preferably as a co-host (if possible)
  • Secure your meetings (Google Meet security recommendations)
Don’t
  • Record meetings due to the potential need to maintain it as an educational record (FERPA/COPPA – federal regulations) (See below)
  • Share personal information or account details with a group of students
  • Forget that not everyone is able to have the same schedule due to household dynamics – not every student should be expected for group meetings
Why are you recommending teachers pre-record lessons to post for students and not record and post a live session?

In short, because it comes back to what your goal is with posting the lesson. You may be describing or demonstrating a new concept. Would posting a short lesson video give your students better understanding? Would posting the entire class allow the student to “experience” the live lesson?

When you post recordings, keep in mind – how do you want your students to experience your lesson?

Pros of posting just a lesson:
  • Focused only on the concepts demonstrated or described
  • Allows for quicker reference if posted in “chunks” (rather than a longer video the student may have to skim to find the information they need)
  • Can be referenced/reused in future years if we are ever in a hybrid or virtual situation again
Cons of posting a live meeting:
  • Longer videos can be harder to find material for later reference
  • Can include distractions (ie student questions/behavior) that can divert the student from learning the material
  • May be unable to be reused in future years due to featuring past students

While we have pointed out some of the “pros and cons” of posting video recordings, these are not hard-and-fast rules. There may be a great reason to share a session recording; perhaps there was a fantastic discussion that occured that students may need to reference later. With this new virtual learning platform, we are all learning together so we are encouraging you to consider what a student will experience when you post video recordings.