With all the school closures, video conference calls have become the new normal for educators working virtually with students and for educators to connect with other educators. Zoom is a popular video conferencing platform that is fully accessible for users who rely on a screen reader and one of the most popular video conferencing platforms for professionals.
With this unprecedented switch to virtual instruction, many TVIs are actively seeking online resources and support as we face virtual instruction head-on. There are numerous professional Facebook groups and listservs full of great information as our colleagues and friends share ideas. Zoom meetings are popping up for TVIs and for our students - these are great opportunities that we can all take advantage of! Ever wonder why some groups require that you sign up or have to contact the facilitator for the video conference call information? There is a reason for this!
Recently, there have been some concerns about about Zoom meetings being "hijacked" or "Zoombombed" meaning that uninvited participants are joining the meeting. There are ways to ensure that only invited people can join the meeting. When Zoom is used correctly, there should not be any safety concerns. Do you know how to keep your Zoom meetings safe?
Steps to Keep Zoom Meetings Safe
These four steps came from the FBI.
- Set up your meeting as private
- Use passwords for participants
- Make sure the host is notified when people join
- Do NOT show your meeting ID number on social media
As teachers being thrown into the world of virtual meetings, many of us have not had any formal training on what to do and not to do with virtual meeting platforms. As educators, we should follow the standard protocol for using video conferencing platforms and we should talk to students about these safety rules.
Students should also be aware that they should NOT post screenshots of Zoom meetings in real-time on social media, as these screenshots may contain the Zoom meeting number, allowing uninvited participants to join the meeting.
In order to eliminate student interaction before you (the teacher) joins the meeting, do not allow the students to join the meeting before you. Disable the "join before host" feature.
- How to make Zoom Rooms private meeting rooms
- How to set up passwords for Zoom meetings
- Change your meeting settings (includes random passwords for meetings)
- Zoom Waiting Room
- Disable Join Before Host
- IT@Cornell shares a great article: Keep Zoom Meetings Private and Reduce the Odds of Zoombombing
- Zoom Meeting Settings for Classroom Teachers - visual version
Video conferencing is being successfully used by professional companies - who are adamant about security. Research states that Zoom is the most popular video conferencing for companies with 500 employees or fewer and the second-most popular solution for companies with more than 500 employees (Skype for Business is #1). Educators and students need to be aware of how to use Zoom correctly to eliminate Zoombombing (uninvited participants). Taking a few precautionary steps will keep your Zoom meetings private and your students safe!