Zoom can you hear us?

Waters, Matthew, Farrelly, Aodán, Toohey, Ciaran and Farrell, Orna (2021) Zoom can you hear us?


In early 2020, the educational landscape changed forever as the world moved online and interaction through video conferencing became the ‘new normal’ (Hodges et. al., 2020). With the mass adoption of collaboration platforms, Zoom has emerged as the king of synchronous communication.

Zoom offers a sophisticated solution to effortless conversation at a distance and has transformed how we communicate work and learn. The brand has become so synonymous with video conferencing that, ‘to Zoom’ has taken on a new meaning, generation Z are now the ‘Zoomers’ and ‘Zoom-bombing’ is the new threat.

From breakout rooms and polls to virtual backgrounds and embedded passwords, our skillset has had to evolve from being educators and facilitators to hosts and co-hosts. However, this journey has not been without its controversies. Accusations of poor security and murky data protection practices have prompted responses from Zoom and constant redevelopments of the platform.

As we each become experts in the virtual classroom, our understanding of platform limitations has grown, and our expectations have risen. In this brave new virtual world we are becoming content producers over consumers, we demand more from our technologies and our collective experience should shape the development of our toolkits.

But who does Zoom serve? and is our technology in the service of pedagogy? How accessible and equitable is Zoom as a learning space? (Bali, 2020). Does Zoom answer to enterprise or the educators? Do we know what we want and when do we want it?

In this presentation, we aim to share experiences of Zoom as a virtual classroom, explore the strengths and weaknesses of the platform for educational delivery, discuss Zooms development roadmap and ask the question - Zoom can you hear us?

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