THHS continues to adapt to virtual learning after DOE green lights Zoom for classroom use

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On Thursday May 7, in an email addressed to students, Principal Brian Condon announced that the administration plans to officially reintroduce Zoom as a teleconferencing option to the school. He cautioned against a rapid transition and mentioned that the administration aims to trouble-shoot any access issues before the official return on May 18.

Previously, Zoom was found to have safety and privacy concerns, and it was banned from use within the Department of Education. These concerns were originally raised because Zoom meetings could be easily disrupted by uninvited attendees, a practice also known as “zoombombing.” 

In order to combat “zoombombing,” the DOE worked with Zoom in order to implement greater security features. For instance, students are no longer able to take control of the screen, only teachers can enable screen-sharing for others in the meeting, and students are barred from privately chatting with their peers. 

The DOE has provided student Zoom, Google Classroom, and Microsoft Office 365 accounts for every New York City public school student. Now, Zoom use within the classroom is only allowed through these student accounts, which contain the DOE-licensed version of Zoom.

Nevertheless, some teachers have continued to stick with other platforms. History teacher Aliza Sherman said, “To be honest, I just continued to use Google Meet because I had gotten more used to it.” 

Junior Anil Singh said, “I prefer Zoom, but most of my teachers kept using Google Meet, so there wasn’t really a transition back.”

Others have reverted back to Zoom. “Zoom had a much more diverse set of features available, and it was also much more user friendly,” said physics teacher Joshua Raghunath. “Google Meet did not offer some of the tools that Zoom did that were particularly useful like the Breakout Rooms, and even lacked some basic functions like the ability to share a screen with Audio. You also could not mute/stop video for the participants, annotate on shared screens, and track who was recording sessions easily.”

Since transitioning to remote learning mid-March, teachers and students alike have had to make several adjustments in order to communicate. Many students have expressed that the transitions have not been too difficult. 

“The transition from Zoom to Google Meets was pretty simple and didn’t affect me in a negative way. I was more familiar with google meet anyways so the transition hadn’t bothered me at all,” said freshman Anjalene Lacuas. “When Zoom was re-approved for use, my teacher didn’t go back so it didn’t affect me.”

Senior Esther Chai said, “I found Zoom and Google Hangouts relatively easy to use and navigate through. I haven’t particularly experienced any difficulties, but I know some of my friends have.” She acknowledged that the experience would be different for each individual.

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