Thank you to everyone who joined us for Zoom Academy 2020! Tens of thousands of educators, school leaders, IT staff, and other learners and leaders from 154 countries around the world signed up for our first K-12 Summer Zoom Academy. The two-day professional development series provided the educational community access to colleagues and thought leaders on three panels — Teach Anywhere, Learn Anywhere, and Connect Anywhere — as well as a collaborative space to share wisdom and insights.
In preparation for what will truly be a unique school year, live training on our Zoom platform was offered and personalized for different educational roles — culminating in the ability to earn a Zoom Academy Summer 2020 Badge.
Much like the first day of a new school, there was a lot of excitement in the virtual halls of Zoom Academy! Our CEO, Eric S. Yuan, kicked off the event Wednesday with a look back on the influence his teachers had on his life and expressed his gratitude for the important role teachers play.
“Thank you to all the teachers — your hard work makes a huge difference,” he said. “You support our kids, and our kids are the future of our society.”
We’re grateful to our amazing lineup of panelists for sharing their knowledge, resources, and best practices for a successful return to the classroom this fall.
Here are some highlights and key takeaways from the event.
Day 1 highlights
The Day 1 sessions were organized under three themes — Teach Anywhere ( where are schools planning to teach next year), Learn Anywhere (how to improve student engagement), and Connect Anywhere (how to connect outside the classroom with the school community). We wrapped the day up with an overview of our continued commitment to the education community globally, and to providing secure, reliable, and impactful solutions for both students and educators.
Educators and school leaders shared how they are reshaping the learning experience to include virtual instruction, face-to-face teaching, or a combination of both.
- Bridge the “digital divide”: One massive issue the pandemic has uncovered is the “digital divide” — ensuring all students have internet connectivity and a device to access online learning opportunities. To overcome the challenge, panelists suggested conducting outreach to students who aren’t connecting online in order to identify and support their needs.
- Use technology as a tool, not a driver: Ask yourself: what purpose or objective am I trying to achieve, and what is the right tool or platform for the task? Pre-recorded videos or breakout rooms may be helpful for certain lessons, while other assignments could incorporate a physical toolkit of materials you send to each student’s home.
- Don’t try to recreate the classroom experience online: Design your days and establish routines to support this new learning environment, which may mean rethinking how to measure things like attendance and grading. Set and hold high expectations for your students.
Virtual learning offers more ways for students to engage than in a physical classroom. Our panel of experts shared their tips for keeping students engaged, no matter where they are.
- Use engagement features like polling, chat, screen sharing, and breakout rooms to go beyond the traditional “teacher talks, student listens” format. Think about the question you want to ask and the discussion you want to take place to find the best channel for engagement.
- Teaching kids how to learn on their own is a powerful way to give them agency. Don’t feel like you have to have live instruction all the time — blend synchronous learning with asynchronous components. Having a good balance of independent time makes the moments of live instruction/collaboration much more special.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted the educational landscape, educators and school districts are using virtual platforms like Zoom to offer new learning experiences, creating connections for students that would not be possible in person.
- Look into partnerships that connect and bring subject matter experts into your virtual classroom. Not only does this enable you to fill in gaps in your schedule with high-quality content, but it also provides students with opportunities they may not have had otherwise. For example, Chicago Public Schools used virtual college fairs to connect students with colleges and universities that may not have come to their schools.
- Build and cultivate connections within your community through events like virtual graduations and virtual summer camps (with theme days to keep students interested and engaged).
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of communities of teachers that are working together and sharing what they know. Follow #zoomedu or search for Facebook groups and other online forums to find ideas.
Our Commitment to Education
Several Zoom leaders joined in the day’s final session to talk about how we’re working to better serve educational communities globally and turn Zoom into a platform that can help empower educators. Many of the 100 security features introduced during our 90-day security plan, for example, were geared toward making our platform safer for schools, teachers, and students, and we’ll continue to pour resources into those efforts.
Some additional highlights from our commitment to education:
- Launching a CISO council with an education vertical, bringing together chief information security officers from different districts, universities, and educational spaces to address their security concerns.
- Zoom for Education garnering an 88% passing rate from Common Sense Privacy Program, which evaluates ed-tech tools from a child and student privacy standpoint.
- A committed focus on building a global education community and strengthening educational partnerships.
We’re also working to:
- Develop features that connect Zoom with other educational tools and applications, to create a seamless virtual experience.
- Enhance breakout rooms, which are a powerful tool for engaging learners.
- Develop an upgraded and improved solution for Chromebooks, so you have the same great Zoom functionality on every device.
Day 2 highlights
For Day 2, we went further in-depth on Zoom platform training for specific roles, and we partnered with ASU Prep Digital’s team to enrich the learning experience! The three tracks in the morning were designed for:
Attendees were invited to take an assessment after each training session to earn a Summer Zoom Academy Badge! Miss the live training on July 30th? No problem! You will have another chance to watch and earn your Zoom K-12 Summer Academy Badge.
The Day 2 afternoon sessions featured learning electives from our partners covering a wide range of topics, from technology and collaboration tools to remote and hybrid teaching models. One common theme from the panelists — hybrid learning is most likely here to stay, and a combination of virtual and face-to-face instruction could offer some students greater access to educational experiences.
Recorded sessions from Zoom Summer Academy will be available in our Zoom Academy Resource Center starting August 3rd! In the meantime, visit the resource center to access some of the presentations and other assets from Day 1 and Day 2.