There are many ways to run a virtual meeting or activity. If you aren’t sure how to get started, here is one method to try. We highly recommend using video whenever possible, mainly so you can see everyone’s smiling faces!
Zoom is a video conferencing app for Windows/Mac/Android/iOS that allows users to meet with up to 99 other people. Signing up for an account is free, though free account meetings are limited to 40 minutes in length (though you can set up multiple meetings, if you need more time).
If you are a K-12 student or teacher, Zoom recently removed time limits for verified K-12 students and teachers. This will will remove the 40-minute meeting limit.
Signing Up for Zoom
- Go to https://zoom.us/signup and sign up for a free Basic account; optional: if you are a K-12 student or teacher, use your school e-mail address to qualify for a unlimited free account
- (Optional for K-12 students and teachers) Go to https://zoom.us/docs/ent/school-verification.html to have your school account verified
- Log into your Zoom account! Here, you can find your Personal Meeting URL, schedule meetings, and more. That’s it!
Setting Up a Zoom Meeting
The easiest way to set up a meeting is to log into your Zoom account, find your Personal Meeting URL, and send it to the people you want to talk to! Click here for more detailed instructions on how to schedule a Zoom meeting.
Joining a Zoom Meeting
To join a meeting, you just need a meeting URL and a compatible device (including Windows PCs and Macs, as well as iOs or Android devices). You will need to download and install the Zoom app to get connected. Click here for more detailed instructions on how to join a Zoom meeting.
Virtual Activity Ideas
Need some ideas on what to do in your virtual meetings? Start here for some inspiration:
- Virtual buddy pair and chapter activities
- Fun discussion topics for virtual meetings
- Chapter activity calendar
- Virtual Ambassador training
If you have any great ideas that we haven’t thought of, let us know!
Security Best Practices
You may have heard recent news stories about Zoom-bombing, where bad actors have joined video chats and tried to ruin them with offensive comments and imagery. This is not just an issue with Zoom, all publicly accessible video chats are susceptible to these attacks, but there are ways to avoid these problems.
- Do not post your video chat URL publicly! Instead, send an invite directly to invitees by e-mail, text, or private social media channels.
- Use a password! This ensures that only people you know can get into the video chat.
- Approve chat members individually! Use the waiting room or lobby feature, which requires that the host must let people into the video chat.
If you have more security questions or concerns, here are some resources with more details about how to use these features with Zoom:
- Privacy and Security for Zoom Video Communications
- Zoom Blog: new security toolbar and other updates
- Zoom Support: new security settings for free accounts
More Virtual Meeting Options
If Zoom does not work for you and your friends, there are many other options out there. Click here to download a flier with some other options, including:
- Apple Facetime: video calls with up to 32 people, Mac/iOS only (no Windows/Android)
- Facebook Messenger: video calls with up 50 people, works on Windows/Mac/iOS/Android
- Google Hangouts: video calls with up 10 people (25 users for some users), works on Windows/Mac/iOS/Android
- Skype by Microsoft: video calls with up to 50 people, works on Windows/Mac/iOS/Android
- Teams by Microsoft: video calls for businesses and schools, up to 250 people, works on Windows/Mac/iOS/Android