(KTAL/KMSS) – A Florida mom has come up with some helpful tips for parents with kids using Zoom to continue their education online during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many teachers have switched to using the cloud-based teleconferencing program that allows video and audio meetings between multiple users for digital instruction as schools have shut down.
DeAnn Arnold is a mother of two, one in seventh grade and the other a freshman in high school. They’ve been sheltering in place for a few weeks now, even though a statewide stay-at-home order in Florida did not come until Thursday of this week.
“We’ve stayed pretty locked down,” Arnold says.
In fact, her kids just started online learning Wednesday because their schools remained on an extended spring break through the first of April so that teachers could prepare to move forward amid uncertainty that the school year will resume at all.
But even before their regular Zoom classes could begin, Arnold became aware of some potential pitfalls and mistakes she wanted to make sure her children don’t make.
“I saw something go viral, there was an adult who used the restroom during a Zoom meeting and I was horrified that her coworker chose to share that and then I saw it go viral, and I saw a lot of well-meaning adults because it is a little bit funny, but it made me really stop and pause,” Arnold said.
“I have a middle-schooler and a freshman in high school. For them to go viral and to make one of those mistakes would be devastating to them, and kids tend to not really understand the consequences of putting things on social media, so I just kind of started a real casual conversation with my kids.”
The first conversation was prompted when her son saw a social media post from a friend who had been expelled from school for a prank. Arnold says the friend was asking people to send him Zoom codes so that he could join in.
“So, it kinda started with me telling him, ‘No, you can’t invite expelled kids or any other kids to your Zoom meetings,’ so it did start out a little bit humorous, but I really wanted to kind of talk about it. And if you look at number six, immediately when the Zoom started, my son texted me and said, ‘Oh my God, Mom, someone’s on here picking their nose!’ Which led to number seven, which is don’t text while you’re on the Zoom. So, some of these grew a little more organically than others.”
That’s when she made a list of Zoom etiquette rules for her kids:
- Don’t go to the bathroom while on zoom.
- Don’t go in each other’s rooms during zoom.
- Don’t invite expelled kids or any other kid not in your class to the meeting.
- Wear school clothes during school hours all the time for now.
- Look at your surroundings (make your bed, avoid Sports Illustrated posters).
- Don’t pick your nose, pop zits, or any other grooming.
- Don’t text or play on cell phone during zooms. This includes videoing the zoom as it goes on.
- Don’t share any zoom mishaps of your peers on social media later.
- Always mute unless it’s your turn to talk.
- Use a pre-made background from Zoom (not a picture from your camera roll).
- Add scheduled zooms to the family calendar so parents can avoid you during these times.
- Turn off music or TV in background.
- Don’t fidget.
- Don’t stare at yourself in the camera. Watch the teacher or whoever is talking.
- Watch your volume. You won’t have to yell to be heard, but you also have to make sure to speak up when its your turn to talk.
- Don’t spam/make too many posts in the chat box.
“And then I realized that our friends across the country have been doing this a little bit longer than we have, and they might have some good advice, too.”
From there, her friends have added to the list, including some teachers.
“One of my friends who is a teacher just wants her kids not to bicker with one another while they’re on Zoom!”
Now, Arnold hopes other parents find her list helpful and that it can, in turn, help teachers keep their virtual instruction on course.
“I know the teachers are just doing the very best that they can, so anything that I can do as a parent, I can still continue to parent my child and to help my child and support ’em, just to take something off of these teachers. I can’t imagine how much their world’s been rocked in the last few weeks, just looking at how ours has.”
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