Due to the community quarantine, students and workers must do remote work. Furthermore, businesses have been encouraged to allow their workers to telework on various platforms. In this article, we will be reviewing platforms that can be used for online conferencing and meetings. With that, we will be looking at the applications’ features.

Here in AHEAD, as part of our contingency plans, we aim to give our students the benefits of remote learning. This is especially relevant since they will be preparing for entrance examinations and dealing with online school work.

Skype

Developed by Estonians Priit Kasesalu and Jaan Tallinn, Skype is a telecommunications application that allows for video conferencing and instant messaging. Furthermore, it has also released Skype in the Classroom, which has virtual field trips, online classrooms, guest speaker sessions and collaborative projects. In relation to online teaching and learning, Skype allows participants to share screens, PDFs, PowerPoints, audios, videos and pictures for multimedia discussions. Recently, Skype has allowed for 50 participants in a group video conferencing call or group, which can be useful for large classes. In order to create a group, you should add your participants based on their contact details (they should have Skype accounts and the application) and add them.

Zoom

Developed in California by Eric Yuan, Zoom is a telecommunications platform that is good for large meetings and has various interactive features. However, it is important to note that it is a free-to-pay one, which only allows for 40 minutes of video conferencing. There are payment options from Pro (14.99 USD) to Enterprise (19.99 USD) that allow for additional features, such as 24-hour meetings, 300 to 1,000 participants (compared to the 100 participants limit of the free option), cloud recording, transcripts, etc. As for its other features, there are recordings of meetings, dual streams for dual screens, streamed videos and audio, and virtual whiteboards. In order to use Zoom, you have to download the application and you can easily log-in using your email or social media accounts. You can create a meeting and have people log-in with links and passwords.

Google Hangouts

As a communication software released by Google, Hangouts is a platform that integrates features from Google+, Messenger, Talk and Voice. With Google Hangouts, you can have phone calls, instant messaging and video meetings. However, it is only suitable for smaller team meetings and classes because it only allows for 10-25 participants. With regard to its features, the software allows for screen sharing, collaborative demonstrations, online portfolios, transcripts and saved video archiving. You can also link with Classroom and Google’s other educational features.

Facebook Messenger

Since many classes in the Philippines use Facebook groups for educational purposes, it also follows that Facebook Messenger can be used for educational and video conferencing purposes. However, it should also be noted though that the application only allows for a maximum of 12 participants. With that, it can be seen that Facebook Messenger is only good for small group discussions. Interestingly, there is a plugin that can be downloaded that allows for screen sharing in Facebook Messenger. With this feature, you can share your PDFs, PowerPoint slides and other forms of multimedia as you scroll through them and show them to your participants.

Here in AHEAD, we believe in using opportunities to make lemonades out of lemons during this uncertain period. As pioneers that are ahead of the rest, we provide online and interactive learning and tutoring to our students. With our strong and unique advantages over the rest, we aim to provide the best for our students at home. With that, we hope that our students will be able to use their opportunities and strive for the best even during challenges.  We will not let anything, not even COVID-19, stop us.