Safeguarding Pupils: Teaching Pupils Using Zoom Video

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Teaching Online


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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How can schools and teachers protect themselves when connecting with pupils (using video) online?

In the last week, Zoom has seen over 29 million downloads when compared to 5 million on Skype, as the number one platform for people to use during COVID19.

After writing 46 Ideas: How to Teach Online, I’ve received many messages from school leaders about safeguarding concerns. I thought it would be useful to share some guidance on the dos and donts for schools and teachers to adapt and use in their own school context. I am happy to help show schools leaders the basics of this

1.Train your teaching staff

Learn what features there are and what you must do and what are optional. There are countless tutorials. There are tips for working from home to managing remote teams. Teachers can learn how to lock a meeting, prevent other users from sharing their screen, place pupils on hold, disable and mute microphones and videos (see number 3 below). It would be wise to have a teacher training session, before contacting pupils. Zoom has a good administrator guide (PDF), some helpful tips and a series of training sessions for teachers. They also offer some online classes for pupils…

2. Obtain parental consent

This is obvious, but considering the current climate, I would suggest that you work through the rest of this blog post and then consider what communication you will send home to parents, if you have not done so already. Pupils do not need to create an account on Zoom. Instead, they will be shared a participating hyperlink from you (the administrator), via your official email address. My advice would be to ensure that pupils access your meetings by ‘signing in’ via Zoom using their school email address/meeting ID. These should be communicated privately via school email and not stored openly on your school’s website.

3. Safeguarding tips for teachers working with pupils

Zoom provides a great poster for students participating online. My top recommendation would be to go into your settings and ensure you have considered what permissions are available to you as a host, and which are available to the pupils/parents at their home. The basics (yet essential safeguarding tips) include:

  • Switch the settings to have microphones and videos off when joining the meeting
  • Ensure the host is in control of who can control the screen, save the video/chat content
  • Learn how to mute and unmute all participants, including video screens
  • Be conscious of background environments and others in the room
  • Use the whiteboard and annotation tools to improve engagement.
  • Remind users about respecting others and using the chat box for commentary and,
  • Please dress and talk appropriately!

4. Getting started

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1. After you have taken time to practice and set up various protocols, including communicating with pupils and parents regarding consent and safeguarding, it’s now time to start a class.

2. Make sure you schedule this time, share the hyperlink/ID and as a host, join several minutes before the lesson starts to allow you to manage pupils joining the lesson.

3. Use the waiting room feature before a lesson starts. Set aside time to introduce the technology to your students and ensure that they are all connected to the microphone and video aspects. A top tip would be to show pupils how they can use the ‘raise your hand’ feature if wanting to ask a question live during a lesson. There is no harm in reminding people about online etiquette and expectations.

4. Pupils will be very familiar with a teacher’s expectations and style of delivery, and many children will be used to accessing content online, but I doubt they will be used to doing this (live and online) and in a large group. Consider how each other will be portrayed online and remind pupils about content, background displays and dress code.

5. Stick to time, but also take time to promote questions, pause for reflections. Use the whiteboard/annotation tools and gauge reactions from students. Give them a minute to pose questions, try the chatbox features and sharing files (or not); learn the art of using breakout rooms, albeit learning how to monitor this tool where pupils can subdivide into smaller groups to work together on certain tasks. Download the Tips and Tricks for Teachers

5. Train, share, reflect.

Let’s not forget that ICT training in most of our schools is often the last item on our CPD agenda. There will be a large number of teachers who lack confidence in managing this type of technology. My top tip is for schools to find early adopters and teachers who are confident in using this technology, and empower them to lead teacher training sessions with other colleagues to help them upskill. It may be that your confident users can lead a series of lessons and allow other teachers during the pandemic to do other tasks behind the scenes. For example, create resources or slideshows.

During these unprecedented times, it is critical to share the workload and learn quickly, how to adapt online and manage current content, not create endless new material and workload.

26 thoughts on “Safeguarding Pupils: Teaching Pupils Using Zoom Video

  1. Schools should be communicating to pupils to take even further measures: Clearing browsers after using Zoom. Zoom is tracking pupils on their devices – this can’t be good and must be a risk for pupils. Zoom is owned by the world’s largest gaming platform. Is that not a problem when we are talking about pupil accounts?

    1. If you read their terms and conditions you find that they use cookies to track internet use, capturing this information. The only way to prevent tracking is to use an email ID only for Zoom and clear your browser every time after use.

      1. It seems possible to use Zoom based on an invite link without having to register. Would this address your concerns? Most of our teachers are using Teams/Google for secondary stuff, but for primary where they don’t have a school email address, the school is considering sending an invite to an assembly meeting. They will ensure chat is off, waiting room enabled, new meeting ID each time, and that everyone is muted. Participants do have to type a name to join (but it could be first name and initial).

  2. I am having difficulty validating any of the claims you make. How is Zoom tracking pupils? Also, Zoom is a publicly traded, so a quick google search shows the largest shareholder to be Artisan Partners LP, which appears to be an investment firm. Please provide references if possible.

  3. Please could you give further guidance on dealing with GDPR and safeguarding issues when using Zoom for teacher-facilitated class catch-ups. Our school is recording the sessions to “protect” staff and pupils. What would be the rationale for this and how can the potential risk of that file being shared inappropriately be managed.
    Also what protocols would you suggest around:
    How long the recording is kept
    Ensuring that the recording is stored securely
    Thanks for any guidance you can give on this.

    1. When I share my videos of webinars with teachers, I share the file but turn off the download functionality. I guess with pupils this is another question. Your school should already have a privacy and data policy published as part of its data protection – the video storage should fall under this government guidance.

  4. I have been doing live lessons (recorded) with my Year 4 class. I have just been told by my head that I have to do live online parents evening meetings with my year (38 sets of parents/guardians). I have already had one parent come online and be really unpleasant at the end of a live lesson and I am really concerned about my own well-being and the value of doing these online meetings. I want to support my head – but not at the expense of common sense. We use Microsoft Teams. Please help!

  5. Zoon is USA based and not on the Cloud Services certified list by the Department for Education, what about data safeguarding? Any of these schools jumping on the Zoom bandwagon completed a self assessment inline with DfE policy for Cloud Services. Google Hangouts and MIcrosoft Teams, do have DfE certification – so are we keeping our pupils safe?

  6. Hi, I have a concern about primary pupils possibly taking a screenshot of the group Zoom meetings is there a way to stop this other than advise them not to? We will be saying it to parents of course, but what’s to stop the pupil taking a photo
    and sharing it? I gather there’s a techie way of knowing they’ve taken a screenshot?

    1. You can turn each user’s camera off, but they can still grab a camera and take a photo. I’d simply follow the same safeguarding procedures at school and issue a warning to the family concerned…

  7. Is there any issue setting up youtube links for recorded video zoom sessions and allowing pupils to access these videos.

    They are not available publicly on youtube, only to those who have the link.

    When watching the recording, pupil’s faces can be seen and (first)names are used (by the teacher).

  8. Is there any platform that allows students in a small class to have their videos visible only to the host/teacher and not to each other? When using Zoom teenagers tend to turn their videos off which I respect but I would still like to be able to see them myself

  9. Hi there, We are recording Teams remote 1:1 sessions for safeguarding reasons, could we use the recording for moderating the session content too? I have been led to believe that dual purpose recording is not possible (GDPR), if it is not possible could you please explain the reasoning behind it? Thank you

  10. Do any schools have a rule that there must be 2 staff in a zoom meeting for safeguarding? this is a rule we have but it restricts the number of lessons we can do

    1. I’ve not heard it anywhere, but I suspect there will be others. If all sessions are recording into the cloud, there’s at least some safety which can eliminate the need for 2 adults in a virtual room. I guess the question is, who are we safeguarding?

  11. This is all helpful – however, if I have been asked to invite absent pupils into a teams meeting where there are already children in the classroom, is it OK with parental permission, to include the classroom children in the zoom meeting with their classmates?
    Thank you

      1. If pupils are absent, surely they are ‘absent’ for a reason? Hard to say without details, age, consent, parental permission. Your school should have an ICT policy at least…

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