Making the Most of Technology

When it comes to video conferencing functions, there are so many options available. Have a play around; it’s the best way to learn. And Zoom guidance videos can be found here.

Janet’s tips

  •  Build relationships with your group through regular social media interaction.
  • Remember to select the share computer sound box when screen sharing audio or video from your PC on Zoom.
  • Putting a YouTube video together of a choir singing does require specialist expertise. But it’s worth doing if there’s an aim behind it. Here’s the Sing for Water North 2020 video Janet was involved in producing.

Jake’s  tip’s 

  • Zoom’s platform was the easiest to deliver, and the best for privacy concerns.
  • Make sure you take security precautions; passwords, waiting room, send joining links close to meeting time.
  • More people are willing to access online support as it allows them to avoid additional barriers like travel, childcare, and social anxiety.

Anne’s tips

  • If there is a need, people will come.
  • Consider what content will keep people engaged and wanting to come back. Make sure the session has enough variety in it.
  • Split the group if numbers get unmanageable. Every event type has an optimum range of attendees.

Top Zoom hacks

There are a few things I’ve learned over the past few months that would have been helpful to know earlier.

  • You can connect multiple devices to a call from the same account. Helpful when hosting!
  • Be aware of what might be visible when screen sharing, e.g internet tabs, documents
  • If you’re hosting 10+ it’s helpful to have an extra pair of hands helping behind the scenes.
  • It’s good etiquette to mute yourself when others are speaking, and to turn your camera off if you need to get up or do anything else distracting.
  • Breakout rooms offer flexibility but they work best with less than 10 participants in each.
  • It depends what device type someone is using as to what functionality is available. Use a PC or laptop if you need access to everything.
  • Be aware of Zoom Fatigue. Here’s BBC article explaining why we can have too much of a good thing.

How Veterans in Communities have used technology in lockdown

When the Covid-19 crisis was in its infancy we realised that the regular Veterans in Communities (VIC) art group meeting was going to have to be suspended when ‘Lockdown’ came into force so we setup an online provision which became very successful. Many of the therapies and activities that the ‘VIC’ provide are Holistic in nature and are designed to enhance the wellbeing of people, with one member saying of the online art classes “Thanks for doing this, I still feel like I belong and am part of the arty family, it has made me get out of bed this morning”.

The online art provision was such a success that we then moved our craft group meetings to Zoom which again was very well received, however it became clear that for these activities to be totally inclusive we would have to purchase IT/tech equipment for those that did not already have any. To that end, pursuant to us successfully providing online courses we received funding to provide the necessary IT kit to conduct an online photography course taught by a professional tutor, laptops cameras and connectivity all being supplied by VIC.

Veterans In Communities Choir has also been meeting online and participating in Zoom meeting and then having everything ‘Stitched’ together at a later time, very successfully.

Because the online provision has gone so well, we then received further funding from Lancashire Community Foundation to purchase up to 80 Tablets with built in connectivity so that members can take part in the online provision meet in their various groups and even keep in touch with their family and friends. This is proving to be a little bit of an issue as when the ‘Lockdown’ came in to place ALL the Tablets and devices in the country sold out overnight so we are having to wait for the supply chain to catch up so we can roll out our ‘Veterans Will Not Be Forgotten’ initiative. We know that many people are looking forward to receiving their equipment and training, which for many will be their very first encounter with using Technology and the internet.

Other links:

In-Situ, in partnership with other organisations, stream their Zoom community conversations to Facebook. Watch previous conversations and find out what’s coming up here.
You can find out more about Rosemary and Time, mentioned by Anne by clicking here.

Join us for the next online chat on Thursday 2nd July, find out more here.