Video Conferencing Tools

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On this page you will find a selection of video tutorials from the PDST Digital Technologies team showing a range of online tools which can be used to support live remote/distance teaching and learning as well as holding remote staff or board of management meetings.  

 

 

Video Conferencing and Video Calling Guidelines

 

If a school is using a platform with video conferencing features, it would make sense for them to use this affordance to see if it meet their needs; 

 

  • The school will already have been offered (and accepted) a Data Processing Agreement when deploying the platform that will address many of the major compliance issues

  • To further develop knowledge of platform use and to facilitate sharing of this knowledge across the staff

  • To maximise familiarity with the current school platform

  • To ensure continuity of use across the school community 

 

 

When choosing to use video calls or live classes through video conferencing tools with pupils/students, schools should be cognisant of access to devices in the home environment.  Getting pupils/students to be online at the same time may prove difficult due to each household's circumstances. Asynchronous approaches should be taken where possible, e.g. record a lesson or wellbeing check-in and share with pupils/students to watch in their own time. Below are some suggestions and schools should agree on their own rules in relation to this before proceeding. Schools should also update their AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) to reflect distance learning guidelines and etiquette. Visit https://www.webwise.ie/aup-2/ for further information. 

 

 

 

Risk Assessment

If a school decides to deploy a new platform to facilitate video calling or live classes they should consult the data protection and security features of the tool they intend to use.  This information can assist them in choosing an appropriate tool for their specific purposes, e.g. Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Zoom etc. You can find more information on Data Protection in schools here: http://www.dataprotectionschools.ie/en/

 

Ensure that consent has been obtained from parents/guardians prior to platform/digital tool usage. 

 

 

Choosing a platform to use: 

Below are some further considerations to take into account when choosing a new platform to facilitate video calling or live video lessons: 

 

Steps to take if you're the data controller

  • Conduct a data protection impact assessment to identify and minimise risks

  • Ensure that the service provides sufficient guarantees it's GDPR-compliant (most services will likely have information on their security measures which should suffice)

  • Make sure any contract you agree to is GDPR-compliant

  • If the service holds personal data on international servers, check whether you can make this international transfer

  • Update your privacy notices to reflect your data sharing with the service

  • Share only the personal data that the service needs to work 

  • Can your video call be password protected?

  • Can you turn off the student’s ability to screen share from their device?

  • Can you manage pupil/ student usage, eg. Can you mute or remove a pupil/student?

 

Check out data protection tips for video conferencing from the Data Protection Commission  at https://dataprotection.ie/en/news-media/blogs/data-protection-tips-video-conferencing

 

 

 

General guidelines for video calling:

  • Ensure that the background visible for the video call is appropriate and does not contain personal aspects. Anything unsuitable should be removed from the background setting for both teachers and pupils/students when calls are taking place for both parties. Blurring functionality and the use of a static image are features of some of these tools.

  • The teacher should always invite the pupils/students to the call and act as hosts/disables co-host function

  • The teacher is always first in the room (deploy waiting room where possible) and the last to leave the online meeting to ensure that pupils/students can’t rejoin the room afterwards. Maintain a log of calls and a record of attendance as you would do in general practice

 

 

General guidelines for live video lessons:

  • The video conference room is a classroom and the same school behaviour and codes of conduct apply to this environment.

  • Agree protocols in advance with your students, e.g. using the chat feature for questions, raising hands if they wish to ask a question, asking students to mute mics at the beginning of a lesson in order to improve sound quality.  This list is not exhaustive and will vary depending on the tool being used and the age of students

  • The teacher always invites the students to the call and acts as host.  If a co-host function is available on the chosen platform, this should be disabled for students. It is good practice from a safeguarding and operational perspective to have a second staff member on the video call.

  • Teachers must turn on necessary security settings before allowing students to join the call e.g. chat feature, waiting room, etc. where applicable

  • Pre-set the video meeting to mute participants’ microphone automatically upon entry (if possible). You can choose to switch them on selectively to allow student participation.

  • The chat feature can be used by students to ask questions and by teachers to share links with pupils/students.

  • It is crucial that the teacher is always the last to leave the online meeting room to ensure that pupils/students can’t rejoin the room afterwards 

  • Maintain a log of calls and a record of attendance as you would do in general practice

 

 

Using video calls/video conferencing in the primary classroom

Some schools are creating short videos from the class teacher to say hello and check-in/reassure the class and this is being posted on the digital platform used by the school e.g. Seesaw, ClassDojo Portfolios, Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Edmodo, Schoology, etc. instead of video calling.  Traditional phone calls where the teacher/principal withholds their number may be a viable alternative to video calls. To withhold your number on individual calls dial 141 followed by the phone number of the person you want to call. The person you're calling will not receive your phone number - they'll see 'number withheld'.

 

 

Using video calls/video conferencing in the post primary classroom

As students may not be able to attend live classes due to lack of devices in the home setting, teachers may instead choose to record their class/screencast a lesson and share it with students using the chosen school platform or via an email link. 

 

  

For more information on communication guidelines, please see the following from the PDST Leadership teams

Primary Leadership Guidelines

Post-Primary Leadership Guidelines

 

Click on the icons below to access the tutorials for the featured tools. 

 

Video Conferencing Tools

Google Hangouts Meet Microsoft Teams

Webex Zoom

 

 

Click on the link to access the online tool Description Video Tutorial

 

Google Meet 

(School administrators)

Google Meet is a video meeting tool for schools that use G Suite for Education, which teachers and students can use for online teaching and learning.  This video shows how school administrators can enable Hangouts Meet for teachers and students to collaborate using a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

 

Google Meet 

(Teachers)

Google Meet is a video meeting tool for schools that use G Suite for Education, which teachers and students can use for online teaching and learning.  This video shows how Google Meet can be used by teachers to support online teaching and screensharing.
Back to list of video conferencing tools

 

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is the hub for collaboration in Office 365 that integrates the teachers & students, educational content, and other tools.  It has a video conference feature that can be useful to support distance learning. 
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Webex

Webex is an online and cross platform solution for video conferencing, online meetings and screensharing. 
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Zoom

Zoom is a digital tool that facilitates online meetings, classes and video conferencing. 
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