Tags:Remote WorkingTipsZoomVideoconferencing

4 min read

Springboard's guide to Zoom: The basics

Springboard Trust’s programmes are built on connection. Principals partner with volunteers, each bringing their unique insight and perspective to a relationship that builds stronger leaders.  

But in the current environment, that connection is harder to build. We are all in our bubbles, and face-to-face connection is extremely limited.  

We have tools to overcome this as best we can – and one of the most reliable we’ve used so far has been Zoom. Today, we’ll walk you through how – and when – we're using it.  

What is Zoom?  

Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing app, that anyone can pick up and use. You can use it in your browser (like Google Chrome or Edge), or download the app and use it from your desktop. The National Cyber Security Centre recommends using the desktop application, then the in-browser version, with the Zoom mobile app to be avoided wherever possible. 

Additionally, it's important to make sure you always update the app as soon as one becomes available - this keeps you up to date with the latest security patches and tweaks.

When Springboard Trust is using Zoom  

As an organisation, we have replaced all face-to-face communications with video conferencing. For smaller meetings – say, fewer than five people – we often use Microsoft Teams.

But with Zoom, you get a much more comprehensive view for bigger calls. When there are five or more people on a call, Zoom has a useful ‘gallery view’ that turns everyone into the Brady Bunch titles, rather than you only being able to see the person who is speaking.  

So as a rule of thumb, we use Zoom when we have six or more people on a call. Typically, our team does one of two things in Zoom: they set up and schedule a meeting for others, or they join a meeting that someone else has set up.  

Download: Everything you need to get someone up to speed

SBT's Zoom Guide for Participants

A simple, clean run-through of what first-time participants working with Springboard can expect when we invite them to Zoom meetings.

How to use Zoom in the workplace 

Zoom has their own very useful guides for setting up and running meetings – we are going to run you through an adaptation of our own guidelines as well.  

  1. Setting up Zoom  

You don’t have to have a Zoom account to join a meeting – the host (person who created the meeting) can send you a link that you can click regardless.  

But if you want to host your own, setting up an account is a good idea. Simply go to Zoom.us, and click the Sign Up button. It’s free, but if you use a paid account, you get access to hosting meetings longer than 40 minutes with more than two people. It’ll also be much easier to set your own meetings up if you have an account.  

Go through the steps, and you have it! You’ll also be given the opportunity to download the app – not essential, but handy (and preferred by the GCSB).  

2. Setting up and scheduling a meeting in Zoom

Depending on whether you’re in the app or the browser, you’ll have a button saying ‘Schedule a meeting’. Clicking this takes you to a screen where you can fill out all of your meeting’s details.  

Many of these are straightforward – the time, name and video or audio settings in particular. However, some of the settings might not be familiar to you.  

  • ‘Enable join before host’ is something the GCSB recommends keeping off (do not tick). 

  • ‘Mute participants upon entry’ is good practice, to avoid sudden loud noises on the call  

  • ‘Enable waiting room’ is a useful security measure and, as of April 9th, turned on by default for individual accounts 

  • ‘Record the meeting automatically’ is useful if you want to review the call later on

Please note that in early April, Zoom made several important changes to its security, notably automatically be turning on meeting passwords and waiting rooms for individual accounts. There is also a new security button available in-call. You can read more about the latest updates to settings here

3. Inviting people to a Zoom meeting  

Once you have scheduled a Zoom meeting, it will show up in the ‘Meetings’ tab of your Zoom account. You can change the time and settings from there.  

Additionally, you can add it to one of your existing calendars – Google, Outlook or Yahoo. Just click one of the buttons to add it, and you’ll be taken to the relevant calendar with everything set up for you!  

From here, you can add invitees and a personalised message for the meeting. People will be sent the calendar invite, which contains a link to the meeting and all the details you want them to know.  

Alternatively, there is a section to ‘copy the invitation’ - this gives you a URL that you can put in your own calendar event, or just include in an email or chat to someone you want to meet with.  

When it’s time for the meeting, you have the option to click ‘Start Meeting’, or just click the link in your event! Only can the host can start the meeting if you have that setting turned on, as long as you have ‘enable join before host’ turned off – which is a good idea!  

4. What to expect when you're in a Zoom meeting  

When you enter a Zoom meeting, it should look like this (except you'll see yourself and others instead of a stock photo of a bunny): 

You’ll be asked what kind of audio to use – just select ‘Use Computer Audio’. Then you should be able to hear everyone!  

The next step is checking everyone can see and hear you. In the bottom left are the ‘Mute’ and ‘Start Video’ buttons – click these to turn your audio and video respectively off and on.  

In the middle are a few buttons:  

  • Invite is to bring other people onto the call – you can do this by entering their email  

  • Manage participants is a button for the call host to mute or manage everyone on the call  

  • Share is for screen sharing – you will get to select a tab or screen that you want to share with everybody else. 

  • Chat brings up a text window on the right, where everyone can do a text chat – useful to keep people from talking over one another. You can chat with everyone, or a specific individual.

  • Record is a host-specific button, to turn this on and off as required. - able to be given to others   

  • Breakout rooms is a button for hosts, where they can set up multiple 'rooms' and assign people on the call to them. This is useful for more close-knit sessions within a larger workshop.

  • Security is a button for hosts that lets them lock the meeting (preventing new people from entering), and adjust other security settings for participants.

And that is the basics of being on a Zoom call! We’ll be back soon with some more advanced Zoom tricks, like running whiteboards and breakout rooms – as well as some best-practice data security from the NZ Cyber Security Centre and GCSB.  

In the meantime, if you have further questions or need some guidance on using Zoom, please get in touch with the Springboard Trust team. We are well-versed in these tools and are happy to assist you or your leadership team with getting up to speed.  

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COVID-19: Springboard Response and Resources

Innovative development for school leaders The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much. New challenges rose faster than we could count, while old priorities were put on the back burner as we adapted to change.   What hasn’t changed, however, is Springboard’s commitment to New Zealand school leaders.   Throughout the pandemic, we have developed new resources and workshops – tailored to your requests and needs – that can help you get back on track, focus on your students, team and wider community, and bring everyone forward together. These are:   Recalibrate Your Strategy Resilience Leading Through A Crisis Distance Learning PLD   Additionally, we have reviewed all workshops and programmes, making them more flexible and suited to a distance learning environment.   We have full contact tracing measures, are on hand for all existing programmes and can also work with you on custom projects that fall outside our portfolio. For more information on your next workshop or event with us, please contact your Programme Manager or make an enquiry. COVID-19: General resources  NZ Govt: COVID-19 website  Ministry of Health: Latest updates on COVID-19  Prime Minister’s announcement on Level Four  COVID-19: Resources for Schools  MoE: COVID-19 home page (symptoms, announcement, advice for kura, students, parents and whānau)  MoE: Talking to children about COVID-19  National Association of School Psychologists: Resource Centre  COVID-19: Resources for remote work  Ministry of Health: Wellbeing in self-isolation  Gartner: Actions for leaders during COVID-19  COVID-19: Resources for businesses  MBIE: Information for businesses about COVID-19 

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How long does it take to change your work habits?

Leading a school means leading change.   That change might be your strategic plan, an initiative that sees people use new apps and tools, or even something as simple as a daily check-in with your team.   But as anyone who has tried to affect change in a work environment will know, it takes time. In many cases, changes put forward in a plan can up-end habits that people have maintained for years, even decades.   To truly understand managing change, particularly in a school, you need to understand habits – and how long it takes to adjust them.  The average time to form a habit is... 66 days - just over two months.   However, the research that gives us this number notes that the time taken to form a habit habits, the type of activity and how significant repetition of a task influences their automaticity (how quickly they pick something up without thinking).   This also only applies to people who are willing to change. The research that gives us 66 days also notes that nearly half the participants in the study didn’t repeat their chosen activity enough to form a habit.   And finally, the habits that research participants picked up were quite simple – drinking water, eating a specific item or doing some minor exercise in a morning period just after breakfast. Hardly organisational change at a school.   All of which is to say that while 66 days is a good benchmark backed up by research, principals shouldn’t expect automatic habit changes after this period of time just because a paper said it would.   So what can you do to help and maintain that change?   Maintaining change in a school environment  The University of Oregon’s Elliot Berkman has some good ideas on ensuring that an individual maintains change that apply nicely in an organisational context. To wit:   Have a replacement action or habit  The example Berkman uses is nicotine gum, an active consumable, being more effective than the passive patches.   In the workplace, it’s a little more simple. When your change is to stop people from doing one thing, ensure there is a practical alternative. Want everyone to stop using wall planners? Make sure you provide a clear spreadsheet, calendar or Trello board as a replacement!   2. Bring the why  Always, always bring the why. Berkman’s argument is that people will affect change more significantly if the change aligns with their personal values.   That’s where all your hard work on a strategic plan comes in. With strong stakeholder communication and by involving your whole team in a long-term plan, you hopefully already have the buy-in on why you want things to change.   If not, it’s time to consult, listen and understand.   3. Visibility and motivation  Berkman’s final piece of advice is that everyone has the capacity to change. Shining a light on the behaviour or action you want to change and providing clear motivation can go a long way, especially for people who have a deeply ingrained way of doing things.   It might not happen in 66 days – but it will happen  This may seem like a negative way to look at change in a school, using comparisons to addiction models. But at its core, implementing change through a strategic plan operates on the same principles. You are helping people move from one set of behaviours to another, and need to do so respectfully and with clear context.   Perhaps most importantly - and this is backed up in the research – missing an opportunity to perform the changed behaviour or action doesn’t mess up the automaticity. Basically – if you or anyone in your team makes a mistake, it will still become a habit. Power in persistence, everyone!

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The government's learning from home package: A summary

The government has announced a broad-ranging $88.7 million package to support families and schools as we head back into term two with the lockdown still in place.   From broadcast content to device distribution, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has emphasised the Ministry’s focus on public health, while still supporting New Zealand’s learners. We at Springboard Trust are thrilled to see this investment, and look forward to working with school leaders in any way we can. With a goal of every NZ household having access to at least one learning channel from home by mid-April, there is a lot to be rolled out in a short space of time – here is what the package entails.  More information: Learning From Home government website Minister Chris Hipkins' press release Hon Kelvin Davis'press release 1. Increased access to internet and devices  Minister Hipkins noted in a press conference on April 8 that some 80,000 New Zealand households (and therefore more than 100,000 children) are without access to either internet or appropriate devices for learning (ie laptops).  To address this, the government is working with a number of businesses and suppliers to provide connectivity and / or devices to these households. They have at least 17,000 laptops sourced already and are working with schools to safely free up devices they might have on-premises already.   While he notes that they will not be able to resolve issues for all households on day one of the school term, there will be two key priorities: secondary students with looming NCEA assessments, and households with the greatest need.   Hipkins acknowledges that there are large challenges with so many households in need, and that there are hundreds for whom internet is a technical impossibility, but is optimistic that everyone will have access to the learning they need.   2. Hard packs of learning materials   To supplement the expansion of devices and connectivity, the government is putting together some half a million ‘hard packs’ to be distributed to families across New Zealand.   These packs contain materials to support and supplement each child’s learning, with different packs going to learners of different ages.   For example, a senior primary school pack contains workbooks from Te Kura, School Journal copies, activities for inside and outside, and all requisite health and safety materials. Junior primary packs contain items like numbers workbooks, fold-out card packs, and the ready-to-read series (Mr Hipkins was thrilled to see the Little Yellow Digger in one he showed the media).   Additionally, early learning / ECE packs would be split by age group and contain jigsaws, stories, pavement chalks, pens and crayons, fabric and coloured cardboard or drawing paper.   Each pack will contain extensive resources for parents, guiding them on how to use the resources and keep their children engaged.   Speaking before Mr Hipkins, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted that providing these materials helps to take the pressure off parents, who have the added jobs of keeping their children entertained and engaged in learning during lockdown.  3. Television channels  The government is launching two television channels – one in English, and one in Māori – with up to 6.5 hours of educational broadcast content shown daily. The government is exploring Pasifika options currently, and the channels are being provided by TVNZ and Māori Television.   It will focus on different age groups at different times, and cover subjects like wellbeing, numeracy, literacy, music, movement, science and physical education. There will be a range of well-known New Zealand hosts, with Suzy Cato being the only one Mr Hipkins would confirm during the press conference.   4. Additional resources for parents and teachers  Mr Hipkins acknowledged the extensive work that parents are doing in the home under lockdown, and the challenges that a remote schooling environment would mean.   This is why the fourth arm of the government package includes resources for teaching communities, and parents who want to continue their involvement in a child’s learning. Examples include Ki te Ao Mārama, announced by Hon Kelvin Davis today, as well as the re-establishment of the Te Ara Whitīki helpdesk to support distance learning.   These measures will come into place from April 15th, and will be in place for one month. While Mr Hipkins noted they were planning around the initial four-week lockdown period, these measures are designed to be sustainable should level four be extended. For more information, please refer to the Beehive website – and if your school requires any assistance setting up its remote learning environment, please get in touch with the Springboard Trust team.  

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