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SteveMM

What is everyone using for video conferencing during the quarantine?

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Our troop is trying to get online meetings set up starting next week.  Zoom is one possibility, but the free version only allows 40 minute meetings.  Google Hangouts is another we're looking into.  What's everyone else planning to use?

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We have been using Zoom - with the a fore mentioned limitations.  MS teams also works, but not everyone has it.  Our schools provide middle and high students with Chrome Books and come with google hangout/meet.  So may use use.  We are just starting and prefer Zoom in that you can share your screen as well as have an ongoing chat at the same time.  40 minutes also makes us be efficient. 

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Posted (edited)

My son (who is SPL) and I have been investigating options, and I'm planning to have him test them out.  Right now, I'm thinking Skype could be the answer.  Their free option allows four-hour calls with up to 100 people.  That solves any meeting length issue.  I've never liked Skype, but it's pretty flexible.  I'll report back after my son has tested it with a couple of boys from the troop.

Edited by SteveMM

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After some discussion, our troop decided to go with Zoom.  The troop is going to pay for a couple of months of a basic license, so we don't have to deal with time limits.  If the shutdown goes beyond a couple of months, I and a few other parents have said we'd each donate another month.

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The zoom blog linked above has the critical info

Quote

So, a couple of reminders on using Zoom to host public events:

  • When you share your meeting link on social media or other public forums, that makes your event … extremely public. ANYONE with the link can join your meeting.
  • Avoid using your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) to host public events. Your PMI is basically one continuous meeting and you don’t want randos crashing your personal virtual space after the party’s over. Learn about meeting IDs and how to generate a random meeting ID (at the 0:27 mark) in this video tutorial.
  • Familiarize yourself with Zoom’s settings and features so you understand how to protect your virtual space when you need to. For example, the Waiting Room is an unbelievably helpful feature for hosts to control who comes and goes. (More on that below.)

I'd even be wary of settings up recurring meetings for the same reasons.  You can also set up meetings so everybody comes in with video and sound off and can disallow join before host and/or require registration.

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@SteveMM   We tried Zoom a couple days ago.  We were not cut off after 40 minutes, so I think Zoom might have lifted their 40 minute time limitation for free accounts.  Not completely sure, though, as I was not the host.

Webex is another option that might be worth looking into.

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Regarding zoombombing, I found it necessary to remove some permissions for my own Scouts. The one fellow was sharing his screen, trying to do his Cyberchip presentation to the troop, and the other guys were drawing on his presentation (the Annotate feature).That quiet guy was the worst  🤨 Also that guy was sharing his screen, kept popping up a picture of a video game character. It wasn't real bad but he could have shown anything. I gotta talk to that Scout.😠

Zoom has a great feature called Breakout Rooms, perfect for patrols, works well although I need practice. I sent the guys off to their rooms and all the adults were left in the main zoom session. But I forgot a Scout, so here's three adults and this one poor guy, he's like, Hey what about me? I said Oh sorry mi amigo, off ya go! and I sent him to his patrol room.  As the host I was able to visit the rooms. In one room the patrol was discussing rank advancement in an orderly fashion. In the other room there was complete chaos, 🤪 situation normal. I just, uh, left 😬.

We all met back in the main zoom room and completed the meeting. It's a good feature.

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2 hours ago, RainShine said:

Regarding zoombombing, I found it necessary to remove some permissions for my own Scouts. The one fellow was sharing his screen, trying to do his Cyberchip presentation to the troop, and the other guys were drawing on his presentation (the Annotate feature).That quiet guy was the worst  🤨 Also that guy was sharing his screen, kept popping up a picture of a video game character. It wasn't real bad but he could have shown anything. I gotta talk to that Scout.😠

Zoom has a great feature called Breakout Rooms, perfect for patrols, works well although I need practice. I sent the guys off to their rooms and all the adults were left in the main zoom session. But I forgot a Scout, so here's three adults and this one poor guy, he's like, Hey what about me? I said Oh sorry mi amigo, off ya go! and I sent him to his patrol room.  As the host I was able to visit the rooms. In one room the patrol was discussing rank advancement in an orderly fashion. In the other room there was complete chaos, 🤪 situation normal. I just, uh, left 😬.

We all met back in the main zoom room and completed the meeting. It's a good feature.

Great information.  Those breakout rooms may come in very handy.  We plan to do patrol meetings weekly, rather than trying to have the whole troop on at once.  With the breakout rooms, we could start with the Pledge and Scout Law or Oath with the whole troop, and then send each patrol off to do their things.  I like it.

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8 minutes ago, SteveMM said:

Great information.  Those breakout rooms may come in very handy.  We plan to do patrol meetings weekly, rather than trying to have the whole troop on at once.  With the breakout rooms, we could start with the Pledge and Scout Law or Oath with the whole troop, and then send each patrol off to do their things.  I like it.

Yeah thats what we did. You have to have a Pro account and you have to turn on the feature before the meeting. And yeah it takes practice.

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