Zoom as a Supplement

When to use Zoom if Teams and Canvas don't suffice.

Written By Jay Heath (Super Administrator)

Updated at May 11th, 2020

Please continue to use the primary tools from Canvas and Microsoft that we already have at our disposal. These platforms will live on past our COVID-19 closure, and integrates with tools across our school, including Canvas, and continues to improve rapidly with more than four videos coming soon, and custom backgrounds, end meeting, participant report, and hand-raising all available this month. We also recognize that Teams isn’t a panacea, and we want to provide the right tools in your toolbox to meet all your evolving needs, so we’re bringing in Zoom as an option for those who need it. If you’re interested in using Zoom, particularly for it’s breakout rooms or up to 25 participants on screen at a time, you can read more below about how we’re supporting it.

What’s wrong with Zoom? 

Many of you had likely not heard of Zoom before this all started, now it’s a household name. Zoom has exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic and is a convenient and robust video chat tool, particularly its ability to show more than four videos on screen at a time. Zoom has significant privacy and security concerns that raise concerns for our community and our values. So-called “Zoombombing” by strangers posting of offensive content has increased (and is definitely a real thing that a number of your colleagues have experienced), and Zoom meetings are not encrypted or authenticated by default. It’s also not clear that Zoom is compliant with COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy and Protect Act) or FERPA. A NYTimes employee recently wrote, “A product’s being great just isn’t good enough if it’s lousy at protecting our privacy.” Like many technologies, Zoom is imperfect – it was built for business and is now being used by schools, organizations, and businesses alike. Unlike many technologies, their CEO openly admits to never having thought seriously about harassment prior to this time, and it has shown in their company culture and attitude toward security and privacy. As a result, Zoom has been banned by many large businesses and school districts alike, including Google, NASA, the Gates Foundation, NYC Department of Education, Edmonds School District, and others (including our peers at Eastside Prep). On the other hand many trusted organizations have used Zoom for years and trust it implicitly… 🤷🏼‍♂️

Free Consumer Version Not Allowed

Given what we know about their business practices, Overlake employees may not use Zoom’s Free “consumer” version to conduct work – please see instructions below to check if your free account is an educator account and part of Overlake’s Zoom education account. More importantly, as a company Zoom has shown a track record of not being compliant with our own values, particularly integrity or mutual respect – whether by broad data sharing with third parties, lack of end-to-end encryption, or repeated major security flaws. Zoom has started making improvements on several fronts, particularly in their education version. As such, we will provide education licenses to anyone who needs to use Zoom for a purpose that cannot otherwise be accomplished an existing Overlake tool. These licenses resolve some, but not all, of our issues with Zoom, and we are comfortable with the limited use of the Education product where instructionally appropriate until we can be together again on campus.

If you do use Zoom

If you choose to use Zoom, you must do your part to ensure that you have created a secure environment for your students free of harassment from strangers. Zoom has as number of steps you can follow to make this possible. NOTE: If you teach students under the age of 13 please contact Jay Heath to ensure compliance of the use of Zoom with your students.

When should I be using Zoom?

In consultation with the Teaching and Learning Team, we feel that Zoom is best applied for extra-curricular purposes like clubs or advisories that don’t lend themselves to smaller breakout groups as well. We have laid out best practices for content delivery, best practices by instructional objectives, and our key tool index in the Designing for Overlake Online course all of you participated in during Project Week. Please reach out to the Technology Team and/or the Teaching & Learning Team if you would like to discuss if a Zoom Education Pro account is right for you. Please consult with the technology department if you need to hold a meeting with an entire grade level, division, or other groups larger than just your own classes or advisories. Here are some next steps:

  • If you already have a Zoom account, visit https://overlake.zoom.us and sign in to “switch” your account to Overlake’s education account.

  • If you have a Zoom account that does not use your Overlake email address, you may not use it for your Overlake work. Please sign up for an account at https://overlake.zoom.us.

  • Part of the additional security measures in Overlake’s Zoom Education account are that everyone who joins a meeting is required to authenticate, or login. Any employee or student logging in should click the “login with SSO” option to use their Owl ID to login.

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