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Thread: Virtual classroom for meetings?

  1. #1
    Senior Member johnmcmahon's Avatar
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    Virtual classroom for meetings?

    Has anyone looked at running meetings online?

    A suggestion is ZOOM which offers free access for up to 40 minutes. It is said to have the ability to turn off / on connected microphones ("raise your hand if you wish to talk").

    Anyone use anything at work that might do the job (free if possible)?

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    We're trying Zoom this week.

    Had planned to use a free account and if necessary have back-to-back meetings, but turns out one of our leaders has a pro account so we'll be using that.

    I like the idea that we can go into "breakout rooms" which will definitely be easier to manage than potentially 20plus in the main meeting and the option to share screen looks as if it might be useful as well.

    I'll post an update on Wednesday.

    Our Beavers had a WhatsAp meeting last week - described as "gloriously chaotic". BL says that best bit for many of them was being allowed to use Mum's phone! Not sure what they have planned this week.
    Kate, CSL (and GDB(S))
    1st Weald Brook Scout Group
    Brentwood, Essex
    www.1stwealdbrook.org.uk

  3. #3
    nele
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    BSO has provided microsoft teams to all their section leaders on request, so we can run virtual meetings. Had my first one yesterday- quite a few scouts turned up and although we had some technical issues, they were happy to see each other and engage. We plan on using OSM's new badge at home feature and doing the April 1st Den building and JOTI

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    We've got G Suite, which comes with Classroom.

    We're looking into using that but no decision yet.

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    We use zoom at work and its pretty good - you can run powerpoint style items alongside and highlight and annotate to show what you are talking about - 40 mins is the limit as noted above but you just set up another meeting and then re start
    1 person needs an account - which is free - to set the meeting up
    Baloo

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    I'm wanting to keep things rolling but I am struggling to understand how we get kids at home, who come to us to get active, to get physical, to play team games, can be engaged online?

    I suspect that I'll be setting up stuff for an audience of none. That is more soul-destroying than not running at all.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





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    We have O365, so we used Teams for an Exec Meeting last week. It can only support four live video streams unfortunately; whereas Skype for Business can support a lot more.
    For older scouts, you could try Facebook Live, but itís 1-many.
    Google Hangouts is still around I think. I used this in the past with 20 people and it was good.

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    nele
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    I'm wanting to keep things rolling but I am struggling to understand how we get kids at home, who come to us to get active, to get physical, to play team games, can be engaged online?

    I suspect that I'll be setting up stuff for an audience of none. That is more soul-destroying than not running at all.
    In our case it was more to connect with friends they don't see outside of scouts normally and now they're shut in, they're missing social contact. Of course if they're already constantly chatting/texting friends anyway then that doesn't apply. But a few daft challenges they can do at home and post pictures, might help with boredom.
    Belgian scouts are doing a Sat meeting with timed challenges including silly dance, karaoke, building stuff from spaghetti etc. so they set it up, you have 15 or 20 minutes to complete and post pictures/video. Belgian scouts on the whole are very much outdoors and traditional scouting and don't participate much in things like JOTI, so this is quite a departure.

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    So... first Zoom meeting.
    We "opened up" half an hour before the meeting proper to let people check connections/settings etc. This was popular, but did mean that there were a few Cubs ready to start way before meeting time.
    Having said that, for most of them it was the first time they'd used Zoom so it did also give them the chance to explore and be a bit "silly". next week we'll either experiment with the waiting room or have a later start time.

    We had 5 leaders and up to 13 Cubs on line at once. Those trying to connect from iphone had the greatest problems with connection dropping out. Would advise ipad/laptop if possible.

    The way Zoom displays on screen varies according to device being used - menu at bottom of screen on laptop, top for ipad. Can make explaining where an option is "interesting".

    The "mute all" option available to the host was the best way to shut them all up & get their attention for 5 seconds.

    Breakout rooms worked well - we put them in their Sixes with a leader in each room. But, unless you know exactly who'll be at the meeting and their "zoom" name, you can't pre-assign rooms. Next week we'll make all the leaders co-hosts so that one can sort out the rooms whilst the others talk to the whole pack.

    We also discovered that it is really important to set up the meeting (who can do what type of thing) carefully before the meeting. We discovered that we'd inadvertently allowed private chats.....(sorted it as soon as we realised... )

    So... the meeting itself. We started with Grand Howl - not the best but again, we might in retrospect have chosen the wrong person to lead ... it was a Sixer, but should probably have been one of the more confident (technology wise) for this first week.
    We then introduced them all to a couple of the main features of zoom - gallery/speaker view, raise hands, chat and screen share (whiteboard).
    Most got it, we suggested those that still couldn't figure it out to have a play after the meeting as it was possible that their settings might need to be changed.

    We split into breakout rooms to have smaller group chats and played hangman - just to get familiar with whiteboard. As I said above, organising these needs a bit of work and we need to have a further play on managing them. (We'll probably have a session with just a couple of Cubs & leaders to get to grips with this aspect).

    Came back together, sang "happy birthday" (without washing our hands) to Cubs with birthdays this week and then closed the meeting.

    Fairly chaotic but largely because the Cubs were excited and having fun exploring the technology.

    Would definitely make all leaders co-hosts in future, nominate one to sort breakout rooms and another to monitor the chat - difficult for host to see who wants to speak as well as keeping an eye on chat with these sort of numbers.
    Would anticipate that once the "novelty" wears off, Cubs will be more restrained in use of chat and changing their names (many, understandably, logged on with parents names. We asked them to change to their own but having discovered how to do this it resulted in some "interesting" variations of their real names - and of course, once one of them does it......)
    We recorded the main meeting - again useful looking back to see who was there, who was engaged and who found some of the "mucking around" a bit juvenile.

    Zoom help section is really clear and I'd recommend that to anyone starting out.

    The pro account didn't, for what we needed, give us any features that the free one doesn't. Fellow leader thought we might be hosted on different (?better?) servers.... who can tell.

    Next week we plan to play "map symbol bingo" - Cubs will be asked to prepare their own bingo cards in advance of the meeting.
    Kate, CSL (and GDB(S))
    1st Weald Brook Scout Group
    Brentwood, Essex
    www.1stwealdbrook.org.uk

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    Are you going to charge subs for virtual meetings?

    I can see a huge financial crisis coming next year when groups will not be able to pay HQ membership fees, or members will have drifted away, so there are no fees to pay. Ether way, HQ will be in a bad way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by khoomei View Post
    Are you going to charge subs for virtual meetings?

    I can see a huge financial crisis coming next year when groups will not be able to pay HQ membership fees, or members will have drifted away, so there are no fees to pay. Ether way, HQ will be in a bad way.
    At the present time we have asked parents to continue their standing orders (all subs are paid this way) and said that we'll make any necessary adjustments later down the line. Obviously, those who will find this difficult have been asked to contact the Treasurer and let her know.

    I can't see us making final decisions re Subs until we have a clearer idea of what the future may hold. We have our own premises, so some costs are unavoidable.
    Kate, CSL (and GDB(S))
    1st Weald Brook Scout Group
    Brentwood, Essex
    www.1stwealdbrook.org.uk

  13. #12
    Very Old Member BigBadBaloo's Avatar
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    Kate, that all sounds very interesting and great fun - and not much different from a regular cub meeting from what I can recall!

    Good luck for your future virtual meetings!
    Peter

    Former CSL - 2nd Bracknell


    A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.Ě Lao Tzu (600 BC - 531 BC)

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    Hi - just a further comment here - looks like zoom is not enforcing the 40 mins at the moment - cant garuntee how long that will last for - it popped up tonight that it was a gift from Zoom.
    I used it tonight for a session on leader training with some of my new leaders doing Module 1 with them - able to run a power point alongside speaking and seeing them - good sound and vision quality - and share slides with them as well as draw on where i need to - they seemed to think it went well - got another couple to do next week and most of my training will be up to date then
    B

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    We used Zoom last night for a District Exec and there wasn't a 40 minute limit.
    It worked well but for those not used to video conferences/online meetings it would be useful to set a few "rules" and issue hints beforehand.

    Get a headset if you can especially for the host, works a lot better for audio clarity
    Watch what is behind you and above, a light above might mean you are in shadow or camera whites out.
    Ask everyone to go on mute unless they are actually talking as zoom highlights or switches to that video feed when it picks up sounds.
    Get everyone to play with Zoom before the meeting so they know how to mute, turn camera on/off, switch video from speaker to gallery, chat, raise hand etc.

    Watch out for private chat, i think it can be disabled, same with camera function, it can be remotely turned on.
    Dave Ralphs
    Yarnton Scout Group (Treasurer)
    DofE Advisor & District Exec Member - Oxford Spires District
    http://yarntonscouts.org.uk/

    I work for O2, any posts are my own personal views & do not represent O2

  16. #15
    ASL and YLUL wealdbrook's Avatar
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    We had our first virtual Troop meeting this evening. Kept it short so they did not get bored. Most of them seemed to be happy to talk to each other, see each other and type stupid messages in chat and change their virtual backgrounds.
    There were obviously some who are restricted to their house and garden, whilst others may have a bit more freedom to go out for a walk.
    For next time we will give them some challenges and try and get it a bit more structured interaction.
    John Alexander,
    ASL and Assistant Webmaster
    1st Weald Brook
    http://www.1stwealdbrook.org.uk
    ESL(YL) Brentwood District

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