Zoom Education spearheads digital transformation in the educational sector

Sam Tayan, Managing director for the Middle East and Africa at Zoom, speaks to Security MEA and provides an in-depth understanding on how Zoom education helps educational institutions adopt digital transformation.

Can you explain in detail what Zoom education is?

Zoom Education helps universities and schools improve student outcomes with secure video communication services for hybrid classrooms, office hours, administrative meetings, and is tailored specifically for educational institutions and now has new features for students and teachers to enjoy the virtual classroom.

 How is Zoom education different from Zoom meetings?

Teachers usually have more control with Zoom education which include a number of features including:
• Teachers can have more control of the classroom with the below options with a few updates that we have made. Teachers can now mute all participants in the meeting and place students in the waiting room (where they can be readmitted). Other than that, teachers can also now create a virtual classroom seating arrangement, spotlight a group of presenting students, and enjoy other custom meeting views. Teachers can get a head start by setting meeting controls before class begins.

• Multi-pinning is particularly helpful for teachers and students that use American Sign Language because it does not automatically trigger the speaker to appear in the speaker view. Students who are deaf or hard of hearing can pin both teacher and interpreter on the screen for a more accessible learning experience.

• Teachers can now spotlight up to nine participants for the entire meeting, creating a custom, focused group view that is visible to the entire class. This view is perfect for giving a group of students the opportunity to present to the class together.

How adaptive is Zoom education to meet the needs of children of different age groups (Kindergarten, higher secondary, university)?

Zoom has a wealth of experience helping educational institutions optimize the Zoom platform for virtual classrooms and online learning. It’s our goal to make Zoom easy to use and accessible for everyone, whether it’s students in kindergarten, higher secondary or universities. We are committed to streamlining the experience for our educational users amid the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Moreover, to ensure all of our K-12 districts and other institutions can most effectively leverage Zoom for virtual education during this time, Zoom is:
o Providing multi-language resources specifically designed for principals, vice-principals, teachers, students, and parents to set up and use Zoom
o Expanding live training, webinars, and recorded offerings to share best practices for using the platform.

Does Zoom Education collaborate with any digital student engagement tools, such as SeeSaw?

Yes, there are apps that extend the educational platforms’ reach with Zoom. They facilitate collaboration between instructors and students and enable distance learning for all levels of education. Some of the apps include Coursera, Weschool, Educal and various others.

How Foolproof is the security in Zoom education?

Zoom takes user privacy, security, and trust extremely seriously. As video-first communications becomes more popular and accessible, we feel a responsibility to help where we can. As more and new kinds of users start using Zoom, we have been proactively engaging to make sure they understand Zoom’s relevant policies and the best ways to use the platform, including many recent updates to Zoom’s security features that help users protect their meetings.

Additionally, there are also new security features for teachers. During the meeting teachers can click on the Security icon at the bottom of the meeting window to easily:

• Lock the virtual classroom once class starts so no one else can enter
• Force all new participants joining a meeting to enter the Waiting Room (where they can be admitted on an individual basis)
• Enable or disable participants from sharing their screens
• Disable the chat feature to prevent participants from chatting with each other
• Prevent participants from renaming themselves (so that the names do not get mixed up for attendance)
• Prevent participants from unmuting themselves

 How would you compare Zoom Education with other similar platforms?

• The user interface and experience are truly where Zoom excels. Zoom users all discuss how Zoom has a simple interface and has the ability to get end-users up and running with little to no training or IT support.

• Zoom has facilities that are specifically made for virtual classrooms, as compared to other similar platforms. Zoom also has features that enable teachers to have more control over the classroom since they can also now create a virtual classroom seating arrangement, spotlight a group of presenting students, and enjoy other custom meeting views. Teachers can get a head start by setting meeting controls before class begins.

What is the next big thing that we can expect from Zoom Education?

Zoom is continuously looking at how to improve the experience for teachers and students.

How do you see the usage of virtual collaborative platforms such as Zoom, in the post COVID environment?

Regional governments highlighted on various instances that e-learning will continue being part of the existing and potentially evolved educational practices. While a lot of schools and universities had to face the reality of the current pandemic, I believe that the education sector tackled this challenge very well and looking at how well e-learning is working out for schools in the region and globally, the whole education model will undoubtedly change.

Digital transformation drive will not stop with the end of the pandemic and the education sector will continue being part of this transition. While social interactions and offline activities are very important, incorporating e-learning elements into the traditional education model would be very beneficial on many levels. This can reduce the cost of education, offer more opportunities for students to learn when they can’t attend physical classes for the various reason without affecting their progress, reduce carbon footprint by excluding at least 1 day of the week’s school commutes, and helping students, our future talent, to prepare for the digitally rich workplace that they will be transitioning into in the future.

All these aspects are just a few positive outcomes we can expect from the increased inclusion of e-learning into the traditional education system. A lot will change after this crisis is over, and I believe while this period is challenging for everyone, we can learn many positive lessons from this and leverage them to our long-term benefits. The interesting thing is that we see many schools incorporating online education to be able to support students who are not able to attend physical classes.