14th Reigate Scouts’ started to use Zoom for virtual meetings in April 2020. Like many groups, we wanted young people to still be able to take part in weekly section meetings during the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
This is our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page but also serves as a useful pointers article too. We will update when new information becomes available.
When considering platforms to host our virtual meetings we looked at several provisions. Zoom allows many members to join at once from all the major platforms and devices and also shows all those joined on a single screen. If managed correctly it is a safe environment to continue group meetings.
Where do I get the software from?
The Zoom application is available for most smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers. That said, for the best possible virtual experience, we would recommend using a computer or tablet device. What is visible on a smartphone during meetings will be very limited and likely affect enjoyment/engagement.
We would recommend visiting zoom.us on the device you intend to use Zoom on, then follow the on-screen installation instructions.
I’ve installed Zoom, what settings should I change?
When you launch Zoom for the first time, you’ll most likely be asked to grant permission for the application to have access to your microphone, camera and possibly your speakers too. You need to allow this, otherwise, your young person won’t get the best out of the virtual Scouting sessions.
Other settings you can tweak relating to security, quality and other cosmetic appearances. When it comes to the security components, as meeting facilitators, we override your personal setting to enforce the strongest available encryption. We also have meetings start with video and audio enabled.
How do I join a meeting?
To stop any random person from joining our meetings, we share meeting specific invitations via our closed Facebook groups for Beavers and Cubs. Scouts will be invited via the WhatsApp group.
The best way to join a meeting is to click the meeting link found in the invitation. You need to do this on the device you’ll be connecting to the Zoom meeting with.
You’ll be prompted to set the name of who is attending, please change this to be your young person’s name.
If you can’t use the meeting link, then please enter the meeting ID (found in the invitation too), once you’ve also confirmed the right person’s name, you can join and provide the meeting passcode (also in the meeting invitation).
How do I get everyone on the same screen?
I’ve seen that view where everyone is on the same screen, but when I log in there’s just a big picture of whom ever is talking.
This is normal, and you can change your view between “Speaker” and “Gallery View” to adjust the setting.
Please note, there are times where we may force your display to a single person (called spotlighting) or if we are screen sharing.
NOTE: Zoom does support up to 49 people on screen at the same time; however, depending on the device you are connecting with, you may be limited to 25 people on screen. This will be due to hardware limitations on your device.
What about Safeguarding?
Standard Scouting Safeguarding applies, but some key points:
- Beavers must be supervised by an adult during their virtual meeting
- Cubs must be supervised by an adult during their virtual meeting
- Young People who have a 1-2-1 carer during Scouting must be supervised by an adult during their virtual meeting
- Leaders (at least two) will always be present before we “open” the meeting to young people
- From 1st May 2020 no meetings will be recorded. All previous recordings will be deleted by 7th May 2020
- All meetings will be force-closed at their end, therefore disconnecting all participants
- Passwords will be used for all meetings
- The Waiting Room feature will be used for all meetings to enable screening of joining participants
The audio or video is terrible
The most common reasons for poor quality audio or video are:
- Your device doesn’t have enough brainpower (CPU) to cope
- Your Internet connection is unstable, slow or congested
- You’re using the built-in microphone/speakers
Okay, so how can I mitigate against those challenges?
- Turn off HD video in the settings (and if on a laptop/computer close other applications). If you’ve set a virtual background, turn it off.
- Make sure you are sat close to your wireless box and ask others in the household not to stream video, play online games or download content whilst you’re Zooming. Alternatively, connect using a cellular connection e.g. mobile hotspot (just make sure you’ve 4G service and aren’t going to impact your data allowance). Using a microwave oven can also severely impair the call quality if you are connected using wireless.
- Headphones will give a much more immersive experience and make the audio clearer; however, we understand this won’t work for those attending who need an adult to be accompanying them.
We forgot to change the participant name before joining the meeting
To change your name after entering a Zoom meeting, click on the “Participants” button at the top of the Zoom window.
Next, hover your mouse over your name in the “Participants” list on the right side of the Zoom window. (Instead of saying Mute and Rename you might have a box saying “More” but the Rename function should be in the More options)
Click on “Rename”.
Enter the name you’d like to appear in the Zoom meeting and click on “OK”.
My sound is muted
Please try and gain the leaders attention by using the ‘Raise Hand’ feature. They can then unmute you. Please note that at times during a meeting all participants may be muted temporarily to allow the leader to speak or give instructions for a task.
My video is not appearing
If only your name appears instead of video please check the following:
- you have clicked the “Start video” icon on the bottom bar (ensure there is not a red cross through the icon).
- there isn’t a shutter or security cover over the camera
- the camera is connected (if USB)
- click the little ‘up’ arrow next to the video icon and ensure the camera is showing and selected. Otherwise select “Video Settings…” to test your camera.
How long will meetings be?
We currently use the free version of zoom managed by the leaders. This limits meetings to 40 minutes maximum. Once allowing for starting the meeting a little early and ending we have a usable 30 minutes.
What will I need to provide lots of materials/equipment?
We do not intend to use any special equipment or materials. Meetings must be accessible to all and we won’t need to you go shopping unnecessarily. Most meetings may require paper and maybe pencils/pens but little more.