What a Year This Week Has Been

Comedian Matt Lucas parodies British Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving a press briefing for Channel 4's Great British Bakeoff
My Favorite Show of 2020 - Boris' Press Briefings

“It should be twenty-twenty-fun not twenty-twenty-one!”

That’s how a friend started a Zoom call last week, oozing optimism and excitement. Then the worst trilogy since the Star Wars sequels was concluded with lockdown 3.0 and the confidence of leaving 2020 behind quickly disappeared.

But I don’t want this to be all doom and gloom – we need to accentuate the positive to boost those feel-good hormones to get us through this tough time – so where can I pry a morsel of good cheer out of this first week of 2021?

I find a lot of joy through helping others and passing on knowledge through education (OMG, I’m so kind and down to earth!!), so finding a way to use my knowledge to help make the lives of our frontline heroes easier was at the top of my to-do list, just under mopping the kitchen floor.

“He’s not the messiah, he’s the Zoom call host!”

Zoom has dominated our lives since last April, but its Google Classrooms that is the go-to choice for most schools, so getting to know its ins and outs was priority. I quickly noticed how, unlike its popular alternative, Google’s offering doesn’t allow you to share your PC’s audio with the class when sharing your screen – teachers wanting to play videos or other interactive content were left sound-less!

That’s where VAC, or the Virtual Audio Cable, came in. Just like connecting a record player to a hi-fi through an AUX cable, VAC creates a digital cable between programs allowing me to simply pass my PC’s audio into Google Classroom. A late-night test with Rob proved it worked and a teaser video on Instagram received a lot of feedback from teachers asking how on earth they could make it work for them! So, I was set, this was how I could do my bit.

A young woman taking notes while on a Zoom call with three other women using her MacBook
We've All Been Slaves to Our Zoom Master

Video Broadcast Software 101

Video is the best and most efferent way to communicate – which is ironic say that in a blog post – so I set up our brand-new Blackmagic Design camera (perfect timing to drop cash on that before a third lockdown!) and adopted my best presentation style to share with the world how teachers can make their lessons more fun, accessible and professional using some really simple technology.

I already have ideas for more lessons on using DSLRs and iPhones as webcams, as well as lighting set-ups to avoid the dreaded silhouette look, and I hope to put it all into a blog post for that sweet, sweet SEO! I’d love to hear what you think and if there’s any part of Zoom, Google Classrooms or even Teams that you’d like to know about. Please leave a comment and share the link below to all your teacher friends.

If you’re in need of tools like this but the set-up looks too daunting, don’t worry! Just give us a call and we can use our remote installation service to get everything working for you.

Stay safe, stay savvy and most importantly, stay hopeful.

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