Video Conferencing During the COVID-19 Distance Learning
As a key part of the distance learning activities that have resulted from the Covid-19 school dismissal, the Pleasanton Unified School District has adopted the use of the Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet platforms for real-time synchronous video conferencing. These tools allow our staff and students to interact with each other on a regular basis, which lessens the impact of the Shelter in Place orders that have been enacted in the Bay Area. Although video conferencing isn’t quite the same as learning together in our schools, it can provide opportunities for students and teachers to see and speak to each other in familiar class groups. Teachers can present lesson materials, can check for student understanding and can respond in real time to student needs.
Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet each offer different features and capabilities. Our teachers have the choice of platform for their use, which allows for creativity and personalization of the experience for our students - just like in our real world classrooms.
As one educator stated, “One thing that I find most helpful about Zoom in an instructional setting is that students can raise their hands if they want to speak. As well, the chat feature is also useful for engagement.”
Also just like our real world classrooms, there are instructional best practices and standards of behavior that are expected from all students who participate in videoconferencing as a part of their regular school activities. These standards provide supports that ensure that our virtual classrooms are safe places that are conducive to learning, exploration and personal expression.
The District has implemented a variety of security safeguards and data privacy protections that ensure that the information shared with Google and Zoom will remain confidential. These protections are required by a variety of state and federal laws, and secure student and family information that we are entrusted to safeguard (see this link for more information). Families may opt students out of the use of video conferencing solutions at any time. Documents that relate to these protections are linked below.